We set off from San Rafael to Meet Leader D in Ukiah on Monday by noon. Arriving at the Ukiah food co-op by 1:30ish. Ukiah was hot at 104 degrees.
We transferred the bags and half the boys from Heather's truck to Leader D's Van and made a quick stop at Safeway, then continued north up the 101. We drove straight through to Clam Beach regional park just 30min south of Redwood National Park.
We set up at campsite 8, collected firewood and ate sausages cooked over the fire. After we ate, we went to the beach, played some games, and shared themes (like school and drama) that we wanted to leave behind and themes like (swimming in the river and eating good food) that we wanted to bring in for our trip ahead.
Every May we host our annual Spring Retreat for the entire internal Stepping Stones village. This means all our Leaders, Elders, Board members, Staff, Mentors and regular volunteers are all invited to spend a long weekend connecting and diving into the heart of the work we do with the Stepping Stones Project.
This year, we were blessed to be welcomed to host our retreat on the beautiful grounds of our sister organization, Leap Now. Leap Now is a rites of passage based gap year program for youth finishing or just finished with high school, seeking a guided process for that special year in between high school and whatever is next.
Our community enjoyed a full weekend amongst the oaks, bays and redwoods, ate great food, shared deeply in Council, and connected ages 25 to 75 through words play and music and dance. We also hosted an all-day Diversity & Inclusion Training with our special guests, the Mosaic Project. Mosaic Project offers immersive, experiential education programs in diversity, empathy and conflict resolution.
Thank you everyone for joining and bringing so much heart to our community, and special thanks to Leap Now and Mosaic!
If you are SSP Staff, you can view the full post & MOSAIC online resources HERE.
Dear Stepping Stones Community,
As a parent, family member, volunteer or friend of Stepping Stones, you know that SSP is both a program for youth, and a community for many. As such, when good or bad things happen, we want you to know about it. And sometimes we need to ask for your support.
We are saddened to have to tell you that Danielle Gladd, our Executive Director for the past two years, has recently taken medical leave due to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Our community is deeply saddened. Her condition is worsening and treatment is difficult. The purpose of this letter is to update you as part of our community, regarding Danielle’s condition and what you may wish to do if you are called to help.
Naturally, we’ve received questions from leaders, parents, and friends of SSP, and we want to answer them.
Is there anything I can do to help?
As you can imagine, Danielle has encountered significant expenses in health care. At this time, we encourage anyone who feels called to make a direct contribution (large or small) to help Danielle with these expenses via the website below. A donation of any size will be very appreciated and you will be able to send comments of support for Danielle on the website as well.
Donate : https://www.youcaring.com/daniellegladd-799943
How is SSP moving forward?
We want to assure you that we are coordinating a plan to move forward. Our Board has named Emily Frost, who has been working with Stepping Stones for the past 3.5 years, as our new Executive Director. Emily is very experienced with the elements of operation in Stepping Stones and will be working through the summer to guide staff and continue with important processes such as group starts, leader hiring, and many other critical items. We are confident in her ability to serve as a caring and effective ED in this transition.
Other staff members (Madhavi, Shena, Laurie, and Laura) will be picking up some of the task areas as well. Meanwhile, the Board, along with key members across our organization, are initiating succession planning as appropriate. We have increased hours for staff to make sure that administratively we are meeting our many program tasks.
We appreciate your patience during this time of transition. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns. SSP is a wonderful community of caring people engaging their skills and hearts to help youth in a challenging world, one we all share. We appreciate your care and concern during this time.
We were very lucky this Spring to host our 1st ever long awaited intergenerational panel event. We shared dialogue about the following themes:
Thank you to all our speakers: Emily Frost, Laurie Margaritonda, Skylar Wilson, Jeffrey Sgilagyi, Marilyn Hendee & 3 SSP Alumni youth now in high school and college.
You can make a donation towards this recording and future events like it HERE.
Congratulations to all our Coming of Age groups who completed their Marking Ceremonies this Fall and Winter of 2016. We are so proud of all the incredible work you put in, inside and out, to be part of the Stepping Stones program.
Thank you to all the parents and families, Leaders and Elders, who guided and stuck with the process. We feel so lucky many of the families have decided to join our continuing program and will meet with their Leaders well into high school. (more photos & stories...)
Gratitude for the wholehearted prayers of the inspired Stepping Stones community this weekend at our Fall Retreat. Thank you to all our people for being part of this beloved community. Thank you those who offered their open hearts and helpful hands. Well wishes to those who could not attend, your presence was missed.
Many of us gathered this weekend to tend the hearth of our Stepping Stones village, sending prayers out for the waters, for all life. We honored our lineage in the way we held each other this weekend, in Council, in song, in story, in laughter and tears... at the ocean's edge in the wind and pouring rain!!! So awesome :)
Warm wishes to everyone over the holidays,
Thank you to our fabulous speaker, Mary Reynolds Thompson, for a gorgeous evening exploring her unique mandala of the inner and outer worlds. Thank you to all our guests and donors who honored us with your presence and generosity, and to our co-sponsors, Copperfield's Books and Sustainable San Rafael. It is such a gift to have so many allies in our community. Warmth and gratitude to you as the seasons turn. Hope to see you again soon!
Find more about Mary's work: www.maryreynoldsthompson.com, www.writethedamnbook.com
"The earth's landscapes are our ancestors. Their wisdom resides within us, waiting to be awakened."
~ We invite you to make a DONATION to the Stepping Stones Project as a thank you for this recording ~
Special thanks to all our families, leaders, elders and community members who blessed us with your presence, skills and bright open hearts at our annual Village Daylong!
(click on photos in following album to enlarge)
We started our day Saturday morning at the beautiful Stafford Lake Park in Novato...
Our new Leader Cohort just had their first overnight training while the Elders Council convened.
"So grateful to be starting this work as a Stepping Stones guide, mentoring young boys as they navigate their way into adolescence. Feels like such important work to be doing right now in the world, and I am immensely humbled and overjoyed to be entering this rich Stepping Stones community. What amazing individuals!" - New SSP Leader
You can meet our new members of the SSP Village on our Meet The Village Page.
Gratitude to all our new Leaders, Elders & Trainers for your fabulous energy as we start the new year. Our youth and families are so lucky to have you!
Stepping Stones Project
SSP guides and supports youth through long term mentoring & contemporary rites of passage.