Stop what you are doing for a moment. Imagine this place:
Breath-takingly beautiful. Lushly green, wild, and remote; yet safe, warm, and welcoming. At this beautiful place, you might stay for a day, a week, or for months on end. You are supported through mentally and physically demanding situations. Your thoughts and worries are heard and responded to. Your advice and skills are needed. Your imagination is flying by the time you leave. And you CARE.
This place exists. You know it: Spruce Knob Mountain Center. In 2018 Experience Learning programming helped 3,500 kids and adults find the joy in becoming more active members of their communities. Kids spent over 2,000 nights out in the woods with us, firing up their sense of wonder, learning skills, understanding the intricate interconnectedness of the world around us.
We take groups canoeing, climbing wild rocks, and backpacking in all sorts of weather. Our participants learn lots of facts about the watersheds and ecosystems of the Appalachian Highlands. But the most important part, the part we are most passionate about passing on through these activities, is what we call “the fine art of giving a damn.”
Because when one child, one adult, or one staff member leaves the mountain with a heart full of love for the world and a head full of ideas, curiosity ignited, we have accomplished our mission. And when we can accomplish this day after day, child after child, school after school, we will start to see our communities, our state, our world become the place it needs to be.