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You are here: Home Resources E-Newsletter Archive Spring 2012, Issue X A Message from Our Board

A Message from Our Board

It truly is springtime at Journeys! New life is sprouting everywhere. Read this letter from the President of our Board of Directors, Randy Morris, about what is happening at Journeys and how you can join in with us and take response-ability.

Written on April 22, 2012 (Earth Day)

By Randy Morris, President of Journeys' Board of Directors

 

Dear Journeys Community,

I am writing to you on Earth Day, a day that is dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation for this beautiful and extraordinary place we call home. It is fitting to acknowledge this special day in a letter to the Journeys community since we are an organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the Earth through educational programs for all ages. Central to our organization’s task is strengthening human capacities to meet the future, a future that is threatened by the consequences of human choices. In last year’s business plan, we proposed a community curriculum to cultivate the depths of the human experience in youth, families, adults and communities. I am writing this letter to inform you of our progress towards this goal.

Last weekend, Journeys offered an adult class “Creating Soulful Ritual” to teach techniques of ritual process and ceremonial design. The final ritual assignment was to create a healing ceremony for the land upon which we were meeting. This urban landscape consisted of an acre of trees overgrown with ivy and blackberries, with a slow moving creek flowing through it. The ritual began with members of the group dressing up as elements of the land – they chose Sunshine, Rock, Soil, Green, Birds and Animals. Each of the beings of the more-the-human world was invited to speak about their needs. Here is what Green said in this powerful ritual setting:

“People, I speak for the plants -- the trees, the bushes, the flowers, the grasses, the ivies. We have been here a long time. We have seen much pass through this place. We have been neglected; we have been abused; we have been forgotten, and we have been waiting and waiting. We are glad that you are here. And we are waiting … to hear how we might serve to bring new life to this place. We are the promise that has been waiting. We know that there will be change and death and loss, but we have been here a long time, and we have seen life grow and flourish and emerge from death. Join us in that cycle of new emergence. Aho!”

In experiences like these, we are exposed to perspectives larger than the human agenda, and we are taught about what it will take to bring about the Great Turning into a sustainable earth community. Rite of Passage Journeys has been working hard to accept Green’s invitation to join the more-than-human world in a ‘cycle of new emergence’ in the following ways:

New Office and Classroom Space: In our biggest news of the quarter, Journeys has entered into a partnership with The George Center for Community in Lake City (2212 NE 125th Street). "George", as it is called by the organizers, is a recently de-commissioned church that has been converted into a community center with many different partners, including a pre-school, a homeless project, and a fruit gleaning project, to name just a few. At first we were interested in the excellent classroom space it provided us, but then we were invited to move into a vacant office. We quickly realized the huge advantages of having a welcoming office space with beautiful natural light and plenty of room. We also saw it as an opportunity to live out the values of community that we espouse in our literature. Our partnership with George places us on the ground floor of an experiment in community organizing and we are excited about the new possibilities it generates. in the future, many of our adult classes will be offered in this space. A special attraction to joining this community center is the adjoining acre of forested land near Thornton Creek, a rare commodity in urban Seattle. As the above ritual suggests, it is land waiting to be redeemed from neglect, waiting to be loved. Please watch for further announcements about work parties led by a University of Washington Horticulturist that are committed to restoring this land to its natural habitat. This land is calling to us, and I hope the Journeys community heeds the call.

Board Development: The board has expanded to seven members, with room for several more. We are looking for people with energy and enthusiasm to provide leadership for various projects. And, of course, we are looking for people with fundraising skills or those who are interested in learning them. Our newest members have contributed to a lively work group of people dedicated to the mission of Journeys. It is deeply satisfying work. 

Fundraising: We are pleased to announce that we have raised approximately $63,000 of the needed $72,000 to meet our fundraising goals for this year! Many thanks to Emily Pease, our Director of Marketing and Fundraising, for all of her hard work on our behalf. This is a good start, but we can't relax quite yet. Also, you may recall that we planned a bare-bones budget this year. We have a lengthy wish-list of needs should we exceed our goal. And, of course, we are waiting for a whole new donor base to begin our push for doubling of our fundraising efforts before we can inaugurate the business plan what we outlined last year. If you are interested, you can find this business plan posted on our website in the About Us section under "Reports and Planning." It contains a terrific history of Journeys and outlines a possible future for Rite of Passage Journeys, including a one-page summary of our proposed full curriculum (page 24).

Programs: It has been a successful year in the beginning of what we refer to as a growth and exploration phase of our programs (much of this growth has been specifically focused on increasing opportunities for full "Lifespan" rites of passage and expanding our community and adult trainings). Meanwhile, our existing programs have remained very strong and we are excited to kick-off our summer in June with a full offering of youth programs and our excellent Adult Wilderness Quest in the fall. We are currently busy with enrollment and staffing. Amanda Ayling, our Director of Programs, has done a great job compiling amazing teams of guides and mentors for 2012. We are also very excited about the participants who are "showing up" for a meaningful experience with us --- this includes a number of return participants as well as new participants from as far away as Mexico! Along with our time-tested programs we are excited to tell you about some of the new opportunities on our horizon:

  • Becoming a Young Woman (Ages 12 - 14): In addition to our classic 3-week Coming of Age backpacking program for girls, we are now offering a one-week retreat this summer. We hope this alternative format will make the beautiful and conscious step into adolescence accessible to more girls! Click here for more information on this new program.
  • "Classroom-Based" Coming of Age: This year we experimented with a year-long classroom format for Middle School girls, which was a beautiful success. Journeys would love to expand this offering to schools, churches, scout troops, or simply groups of friends. Contact Amanda to learn more about getting your community of middle school kids involved.
  • Day-long Community Workshops and Trainings for Adults: This is particularly exciting as we adjust to the new luxury of having a consistent class setting at the George Center for Community. After such a powerful first-time experience of using this space for our recent "Creating Soulful Ritual" we look forward to offering a full array of classes/workshops starting in the fall.

This is just the beginning of our growing into a more regular opportunities for connecting to the Journeys' community. As we become more active with our year-round programs we encourage you to keep a close eye on our Facebook page, our website, and our monthly Community Update emails. And don't forget to continue to suggest our programs to folks you know --- we hope to have full programs this summer and fall (with waitlists!).

It truly is springtime at Journeys! New life is sprouting everywhere, and we hope that the beauty of our mission will attract many of you to join us. Here are ways that you can help:

  • Spread the word about our programs by forwarding our emails, "Like" us on Facebook or comment on a conversation, print and post fliers from our website, or simply tell a friend about our wonderful programs (be sure to tell them that we have a great website --- full of information about our Mission and our programs).
  • Make a contribution to our Scholarship Campaign on the "Donate Now" page of our website. Allow us to offer more youth the chance to transform themselves and our culture. And while you are at it, check out our Scholarship Campaign video interview with a 2008 Scholarship participant, Alexa Asmus, on our YouTube Channel.
  • If you are local to Seattle or Washington, please sign up for our monthly Community Update emails so that you are aware of what's happening at Journeys. You can sign up here.
  • Contact us about joining our Board of Directors by emailing Board@RiteofPassageJourneys.org.
  • Contact us if you are interested in volunteering this summer by contacting our office.

As the final ritual gesture of the healing ceremony mentioned at the beginning of this letter, each member of the human community assembled a bowl of sage, cornmeal, tobacco and healing herbs harvested from the land. In a sacred way, each person walked to the four corners of the property, spreading this healing balm upon the land, asking forgiveness for the neglect and promising to listen more carefully to what the land needs; and about all, to do something in response, to take response-ability. I hope you will join us in this cycle of new emergence!

In Service,

Randy Morris, Ph.D.
President of the Journeys' Board of Directors

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