The Problem with Authentic Experiences
When we started the process of creating a video to represent Experience Learning we quickly ran into a major hurdle. You see, we “traffic in authentic experiences,” as our Executive Director Dave Martin so eloquently says in the final cut, and the authenticity is a bit less genuine when there’s a guy following you with a video camera, or a drone buzzing over your group as you process your experience.
So we approached this project with care, making sure to protect the space that these kids were using, and doing as much as we could to keep their spaces, faces, and experiences sacred.
At the same time, we could document one group’s experience thoroughly but it might not end up looking anything like the adventure you would have if you signed up based on what you saw in our video.
“We don’t do contrived games, and activities, and ropes courses.” Dave continues, “but we take people out and have actual experiences. We go have adventures and by front loading those experiences and by following up on them and processing them we allow kids [and adults] to take those experiences and then apply that back to their home lives.”
Whether you are renting a yurt for one night or spending a week of summer camp with us, your experience will be yours alone. As long-time friend and former director Brent Bailey says, “You come and you feel the wind. You see the way the weather shifts, the way the night falls and it is a really full-fledged immersion in the natural environment.“
It is through these sorts of experiences that seem so simple but are somehow extremely elusive in our culture today that we hope to change the world. “By being in small groups and by being out of the mainstream we are encouraging people to see each other as people. It’s breaking down barriers. It’s reducing the gap and chasm between people in a world that is increasingly divided.”
Many thanks to Sanjay Suchak for all the time and effort he put into this project!