Now there’s a loaded statement “Let go and trust the process.”
Right. Just let go. That sounds easy enough. Am I the only one who has a hard time letting go? Yet, once I let go of trying so hard, and finally give in to trusting that things will work out as they are meant to, **Bing, I get a message that provides bigger, better and more opportunity than I had envisioned.
During the start-up of Wild Craft Play ‘sCool since the start of September, I have been wondering and waiting to see what will be. Now I am proud to say that things are working out better than I could have ever dreamed. People are jumping on board and trusting this process with me in such support and love, that I am filled with elation. This journal entry shares a few highlights of what Wild Craft Play ‘sCool is offering, some of my research and an update on where things are at now. Feel free to click through to other stories to learn more.
Performing Arts & Adventure Education. What better way to educate play.
I, Jamie Black, have come to a place in my life where I can offer my services through play and exploration as a skilled outdoor and adventure educator, and bring circus and performing arts into learning experiences that are meeting core curriculum requirements. Who knew 🙂 The other day, I woke up realizing that the reason I am doing all of this is because I believe that everyone has the ability and the right to thrive, and I have the skills to facilitate learning in this way, and am ready to share. What an empowering place to be. Standing fully in the West of my offering and finding serenity in this way is a true blessing.
Is it religious?
I have had people ask me if Wild Craft Play ‘sCool is religious in any way, and the answer is that all experiences are non-denominational, which invites all walks of life to attend, I do not profess one religion over another, yet invite all to play and co-exist. As my mentor Wes Gietz writes in his recent blog “Not in the footsteps of the Ancients” where Wes mentions that ” We know the same source whether we name it chi, healing spirits, universal energy, Tunkashila, Allah, Source, Gitchi Manitou, Jehovah, God or any of the other sacred names.” At Wild Craft Play ‘sCool, we invite and provide space for children, youth and adults to practice being with spirit, whatever that means for you. Some say the spirit IS the tree, and some say the spirits protect the tree, some say that God is in me, and some say that I give myself to a higher power. Whatever this language is to you, it is welcome. My only request is that we all come from a place of peace.
I am Hummingbird, my name is Jamie Black.
I grew up on Vancouver Island, and have found myself feeling deeply connected with nature and this land, fostering community in a number of ways. I call Central Vancouver Island home. With trust, confidence and self-actualization, I have decided to truly show up as my authentic self
with my funky trinkets and wonder-filled cloak to generate a sense of wonder and mystery for people of all ages. I love to ignite imagination and play and invite all participants to show up in a way that both empowers and inspires.
I used to be afraid of truly sharing my full self, because I was afraid that if I said the word Magic, it would be skewed by other’s perception of that word into a meaning that is anything other than the sparkle in a child’s eye when they discover something for the first time, or the ignited excitement in someone when they hit a bulls-eye in archery for the first time, or the joy one feels when they find a frog on the rainy trail. This is the magic and the wonder of life that I refer to and I believe it is my calling to support and provide experiences that safely stretch people’s comfort zones, going out beyond the edge to discover something new, leaving you in a sense of wonder while I am not far away with support, resources and guiding questions. Much like the Hummingbird who pushes her fledgling out of the nest on day 3 of it’s life, where it is forced to learn by doing, I facilitate in a way that also has fun, with a purpose. It may seem like tough love sometimes, but those who let go and trust the process, they too glean a deeper level of inner knowing and trusting themselves.
The Research found The Hummingbird Approach
I embarked on studying the engagement of children in nature in 2015. The research has come alive, and now I get to study the children in our programs each week, continuing the learning and sharing this knowledge with you. In case you haven’t seen, a dream of mine has been to share these skills with parents, program leaders and teachers. Hummingbird facilitation is a style of leadership I have done for over 15 years, and it was only this year that I realized what it was called. If you really knew me, and witnessed how I work with children, there is a way that I work, much like a Hummingbird, that gives children the freedom to live and explore, yet I provide a safety net to know and trust that I will be a resource for them, to trouble shoot and problem solve and ask useful questions. This style of leadership is for children who are functioning at a moderately high capacity and could use more experiential learning with a bit of guidance.
Wild Craft Play The Game… what is it?
The Hummingbird Approach
A Case Study of Guided Discovery Learning with Children in Nature – by Jamie Black, June 2017
This case study examines a group of 10-11 year-olds participating in a nature-based educational role-play adventure program called Wild Craft Play. The facilitative approach used mirrors some of the characteristics of the hummingbird, and thereby is affectionately referred to within these pages as The Hummingbird Approach. In this approach, once the facilitator has set the activities in motion (like the Hummingbird), her role becomes one of hovering as observer or witness rather than that of the more traditional didactic instructor who stands in front and tells the students what they will learn. In this way, the Hummingbird facilitator ‘pollinates’ the learning process with questions, comments and stories at appropriate intervals in order to catalyze and deepen the children’s flowering awareness. Seven sessions of Wild Craft Play were video-recorded for the purposes of data collection, theming, and analysis to help examine and assess participant engagement and identify what facilitation techniques effectively optimized their learning, with the potential for replication and possible future training of other nature-based facilitators. This case study also suggests that strong and important connections are forged through this more playful approach that invites children to make their own discoveries and meaning, guiding them toward a deeper level of understanding.
Incase it isn’t clear enough…
Wild Craft Play ‘sCool offers 3 different kinds of experiential learning
- High functioning Experiential Learning – Child and youth programs of experiential learning that are more challenging enabling 100% engagement with and for each other, the community and the Earth through collaborative and deep nature connection. This is a very hands-off approach that provides very little front-loading, and even less support. These programs include:
- Wild Craft Play – The Game: for ages 8-12
- Drawn by Nature: for ages 11-17
- SoLe Adventures for children and youth with Autism or Anxiety: for ages 11 and up
- Workshops and Apprenticeship – Training for youth ages 11 and up in the ways of Hummingbird, and the Wild Craft Play Game.
Drawn by Nature is for high functioning and active youth.
I have recently discovered that this looks different in different scenarios. For example, our Drawn by Nature program, for ages 11-17 has flourished, in a very hands-off and Guided Discovery Learning environment that truly stretches the comfort zones and permits exploration. This program is meant for youth who are seeking a mentor outside of their family to get outside and explore.
SoLe Adventure is for youth with Autism
Our SoLe Adventure programs, for youth with Autism, is flourishing. This is a one-on-one Adventure Non-Intervention experience where Jamie Black offers life-coaching and mentorship during experiences determined by the family. With an open and accepting approach, Jamie has spent the last 6 years as a Behavior Interventionist for the Ministry of Children and Families and and Special Educator for Self-Design to enhance the life capacity of youth in this region. This one-on-one work is more hands-on, with direct guiding and specific explanations in natural settings.
More info coming soon about Adventure Intervention.
Wild Craft Play – The Game
It is not easy describing Wild Craft Play, I highly recommend you experience it. It is like a video-game in real-life, with role-play, developing characters, going on quests, exploring in the forest and igniting your imagination. Yes adults even play it too! Many children who have played it have not only loved it, but they STILL have characters, loot in the bank and a journal and pouch that they made. Help me spread the word.
We gather Thursdays 9:30-3:30pm
It has been a true privilege and a pleasure to provide this type of programming for so many children, youth and adults over the years. Thank you to all of the people who have been involved so far, providing land, access, resources, feedback money and time to bring Wild Craft Play ‘sCool to the community. We couldn’t have done this without you!
Founder & Hummingbird Facilitator