From a Wild Intelligence parent: Thanks so much for your great work with the kids. After the sleepover with the advanced campers, my daughter took a shower, then said, ‘I feel good. I feel happy and confident and accomplished and peaceful and relaxed and capable.’ What could make a parent happier than that?!
Our son participated in the Grey Fox homeschool group for four years, from age nine to thirteen, and was part of a Year of the Snake teen program. Wild Intelligence gave him the space to grow into who he is as a person, a friend and part of nature. I know that it has informed the core of who he is and who he will always be. He “came of age” in the Wild Intelligence environment that was supportive, creative and accepting and participated in experiences that were driven by seeking joy, fun, exploration and friendship over everything else. Wild Intelligence welcomed and encouraged him to be himself in nature, to be actively grateful and to be a caring and loving part of the earth and our community. There is no other program I can imagine doing as much for him as Gray Fox has done. I would encourage anyone who can to give the same experience to their child, and I donate to Wild Intelligence as much as I can because I want to be a part of giving that gift to someone else.Rachel Allen
For years, I watched my child’s enthusiasm and interest in group activities rise and fall in a matter of days or weeks. The lines were too long at gymnastics, the instructions were too confusing at swim lessons, they never seemed to just let her dance in dance class. For her, these activities were filled with empty rules, more standing still than her vibrant body and mind could stand, and no feeling of a deeper connection with her peers or teachers. Wild Intelligence changed all that. My daughter now has an identity, a calling, and a tribe. She has spent two years in the Otters program and Wild Play Summer Camps, and her enthusiasm for her time in the woods with Wild Intelligence shows no sign of diminishing. She whoops with excitement every time I tell her about registration opening for the next session. Her mind and body are fully engaged by the mentors and peers she has in this program. They have taught her to slow down and listen carefully, stand still and watch closely, but they have also allowed her to run and jump and climb because at Wild Intelligence they know that all of those actions help us to learn and grow. My family is so thankful for the absolutely life-changing experience our daughter has had with Wild Intelligence, and we look forward to seeing her continue to grow with them for many years.Erin Josey
My son has been involved with the teen program at Wild Intelligence for several years, and his experience has greatly exceeded my expectations. I have watched as he has grown by leaps and bounds in his independence and self-confidence at trying new things. He’s become very comfortable and engaged with nature both at camp and at home. He’s also built supportive friendships with the teen campers and adult mentors involved. From my view as a parent, the teen program fosters a deep appreciation for the natural world, encourages the campers to trust themselves and their ability to figure things out and provides an atmosphere of kindness and respect among all the people involved. I believe that my son is thriving in large part due to the time he has spent involved with Wild Intelligence, and I am so grateful for this experience.Amy Heesaker
Thank you for offering Wild Intelligence Summer Camps. My son came back every day exhausted, dirty, and happy. He has learned so much about different plants and animals, while spending time outside (yea!) and having a blast. Not once did he complain about the heat! At dinner, he would enthusiastically describe what he did at camp instead of the typical “I don’t know” or “I forgot.” We as a family value nature and it is so encouraging to know that there for our son that is entertaining, educational, fun, AND in alignment with our values.Rebecca Shisler Marshall
I’ve been an educator at the Tennessee Aquarium for nearly 18 years. Purely by happy accident, I stumbled across Coyote’s Guide to Connecting With Nature and in the appendices found Wild Intelligence, my closest opportunity to see coyote mentoring “live”. I was fortunate enough to be able to claim the experience as professional development and so launched what I believed was and what I jokingly called “a mission of educational espionage”. I got what I came for. I spent the better part of a year watching Wild Intelligence staff and guest instructors teach skills, both physical and cerebral, by telling stories, singing songs, playing games and asking questions. I watched them watch us to gage our energy and mood and adjust their program, often on the fly, to best suit our ability to learn. I watched them create a safe place for us to be “in danger”. Just like Coyote, they were tricking us to cross the boundaries of our comfort zones, our “edges”. It’s a gentle trickery, and kind. Yes, I got what I came for, but I got so much more.
I thought I was pretty alert to what was going on around me in the natural world, but Wild Intelligence has provided a new dimension to my enjoyment of the outdoors. By learning the core routines of sit spot and journaling, I’m allowing Nature to teach me. It’s the very best instructor! By learning bird language, I have gained new allies in the forest to alert me to so much of what is transpiring around me. I’m able to pass along these skills to my students and to provide the wonder and pleasure of a more integrated human experience in nature to those who accompany me on my rambles.
An important part of the Wild Intelligence culture is community building. This community is built, not on real estate, but on interpersonal relationships. I watched Wild Intelligence staff take a group of strangers, give us a chance first to know each other, then to open up to each other and finally to support each other. And so I’ve gained a new family. This family holds me up when I’m discouraged and when I’m celebrating life as if I were still 8 years old (which I’m not). This family gave me the confidence to approach our survival trip with a light heart. This family is a new source of richness and comfort and light in my world and I anticipate that it will be so for some long time to come.Julia Gregory