Why I am a Champion for this Cause
Connection. Delight at seeing a frog blending in perfectly with the tree bark it is resting on. Songs. Tending the fire in our programs and in our hearts. Community. Seeing children as both who they are in this moment, and as who they aspire to be. Gratitude. The quiet confidence of older kids as they gather in a circle, now stepping into mentor roles and helping to gently hold the space and be the inspiration for younger kids. Play! Adults taking time out for themselves to nurture their own connections. Laughter. And more Community, and more Play, and more Gratitude…
Imagine what it would be like to have a day filled with those things! For me, this is most days at Primitive Pursuits, and I’m so grateful to be part of this organization. For the past five years I have had the privilege to work with the staff, participants, and families of Primitive Pursuits. We now have programs that serve participants ages 3-83, providing opportunities for connection to self, community, and the natural world. From the Ithaca Forest Preschool, to homeschool and afterschool programs for youth, to adult programs for folks of all walks of life, we are weaving the basket of community and connection.
This mission of connecting folks to themselves, to each other, and to the world around them is so important. As life speeds up, it’s easier to be connected to some form of technology than to have our feet on the earth. Creating opportunities for people of all ages to slow down and remember the wonder, the curiosity, and the restorative quality of our natural world is crucial, and it’s incredibly rewarding.
At Primitive Pursuits, I see 9 year olds who know the forest better than most adults I know – they gather firewood and edible plants, and stop to admire a woodpecker hole or interesting mushroom; they hide from each other, blending in with the landscape and laughing as they learn. And they do this all with a sense of wonder and attention to the LIVING world that is becoming rare. They actually see what is around them. They notice the changes in the forest and fields, and in their backyards, with the seasons. They play games, take care of each other, and tend fires for a group challenge. Just as meaningfully, they tend the internal fires of self-confidence, compassion, and connection to nature.
Then they take these wonderings, insights, and connections back to their families and friends…they make a fire together, build a shelter, go for a walk in the woods, or notice the moon rising at a different time each night. Conversations start, and that deep sense of satisfaction settles in, the one that comes from knowing something in your body and with your senses, rather than just through a description on a screen. People feel more like participants, like members of their own eco-system, not just observers.
And I’ve watched this happen with kids of all ages, from the little bits to the elders in our workshops and classes. Kids get serious amidst their play and make connections about their impact on the world. Adults get playful in their seriousness, and realize that the perspective of those childhood years and the natural world are essential to being alive.
And we want to make this possible for even more folks this year, in an even more potent way. We want the Gratitude and Connection and Community to root well and spread. We want more folks to feel at ease with themselves and others and the natural world.
And just imagine what would happen if days really were filled with those things, how folks would make decisions and feel a sense of meaning in their worlds. It’s possible…
With that in mind I have two requests – first, make time to do something outside today, even for 10 minutes. You’ll be glad you did! And second, please consider supporting Primitive Pursuits in our fundraising efforts – even a small gift can make a difference. To learn more about what we do, you can visit our website – www.primitivepursuits.com. Whether or not you can contribute financially, please spread the word about what we’re doing, and about the importance of getting kids of all ages connected to nature. Go out and play!