Each monthly daylong in a Stepping Stones group has a different focus within the arc of the Coming-of-Age program and curriculum. This month in our blog post, we explore our latest curricular theme: The Spirit of Adventure!
Adventure is alive in the SSP groups - both during the daylongs and the summer camping trips. Every time the group meets is an exciting adventure for the youth. How that manifests is different for everyone. For some it’s being outside for extended periods or challenging their boundaries. For others its keeping track of their own gear or being authentic with their peers. What we know is that whatever form the adventure takes, there is always something gained for the youth on their Coming of Age journey with SSP.
We are pleased to share with you a few excerpts from SSP summer trip and daylong summaries written by Leaders and shared with the parents once they returned home. Enjoy the adventures!
"We took the boys to Tam today, hiking up from the Pantoll we found a trail heading to the top. My favorite part of the day was when confronted with a fork in the trail, my adult mind went to check the trail map, trying to stay on track with the 'plan' for the day. Meanwhile, of few of boys followed their sense of adventure, straight up the mountain, to which we all followed and ended up on top of the ridge. With clouds both below and above us, the sky opening up over the ocean and the wind ripping through, it was awesome to see the spirit of adventure really striking into our boys.
"My favorite comment of the day was, 'I don’t even like hiking and this is awesome.' We were all alone up there. We adventured, played, and got caught in the rain."
One of the cornerstones of SSP are the group Leaders. They give so much of themselves to the organization and put their heart and spirit into mentoring the youth in their group. We want to shine a spotlight on a few of our incredible Leaders and their work both with SSP and elsewhere.
Those drawn to work at SSP often see it as a life calling and our first Leader in the spotlight is no exception. Skylar Wilson has lead 5 groups with Stepping Stones over the last 7 years. He also serves on the Program Council whose work includes mentoring and training other Leaders and the wider SSP community. He is dedicated to fostering health, ritual, and mentorship in all of his work.
For Skylar, the most rewarding part of being a SSP Leader is “the two and a half year rite of passage model which is unique to Stepping Stones and has allowed me to go really deep with my groups and with our community. Going through this process over and over has helped me to understand and trust the ways in which personal and collective challenges and shadow-work are inherent to growth and that simply being together, without judgement, is healing and builds the capacity to appreciate life more deeply.”
Outside of SSP, Skylar carries forward his passion for rites of passage work, mentoring, and spiritual connection in many ways. Skylar teaches three days a week at Credo High School, a public charter school in Rhonert Park where he is developing new models of educational pedagogy for relational mentoring in place of traditional teaching. Additionally, Skylar runs his own company - Wild Awakenings - which runs wilderness retreats for groups of all ages, for organizations, and provides one-on-one mentoring.
He directs and produces an interspiritual event that includes dancing and the arts called The Cosmic Mass. They have produced over 100 events around the United States and Canada. He also recently spoke at and lead a ritual during the Parliament of the World's Religions in Toronto.
Skylar and his partner, Jennifer Berit Listug have co-authored the book, Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action. In it, they explore common values and practices for creating diverse postmodern community networks of change-makers dedicated to that which is most sacred: Earth. Skylar and Jen have also published numerous articles on topics related to human evolution and spirituality in Watkins Mind Body Spirit Magazine, Spiritseeker Magazine, Evolving Magazine, Progressive Christianity, and many others. Recently, Skylar was featured on podcasts such as New Dimensions Cafe, Conscious Talk Radio, Inside Personal Growth, Monique Chapman, Wikipolitiki, and many others. Skylar and his co-author Jennifer have started their own podcast called Our Sacred Earth.
You can find more information about all of Skylar's work on his website. In addition to having a family of his own, Skylar’s work adds to his ability to be a fantastic SSP leader. Everything that he does outside of SSP enriches his role and ability to provide incredible experiences for youth. We are so grateful to him for his dedication to the youth he has mentored at SSP over the years.