There’s a bubble at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center. That top floor in the biggest yurt — above the library in Ulan Bator — is our bubble. It has been the setting for innumerable conversations, and moments of intense community- and self-realization, breakouts, breakdowns, break dancing, chess games, books read, and stars watched. It is one of the most cherished spots on our beloved property.
But we would also take a moment to acknowledge that the SKMC in general is a bubble. For many, this larger bubble is why we love to visit or work here. We are a step away from the rest of the world — remote and quiet, dark, and open to whatever the skies throw at us. We shun discrimination in all its forms but at the same time must admit that there is a privilege inherent in spending time at this place.
We all know that it is difficult to get here, even with all the modern gadgets for staying un-lost. One must have a car or a friend with a car, and a significant amount of time available to shirk other duties. One must be able to travel on twisty, rural backroads, through unfamiliar communities, and pass over uneven ground. Our programs have a significant cost, and self-guiding requires familiarity with backcountry navigation, camping, and self-sufficiency that is not easy to come by for many.
How can we make our campus and our programming more accessible to a broader swath of humanity? This isn’t the first time we’ve asked this question, but it is one worth asking again and again. It is one worth holding ourselves accountable to answer.
What you take away from time spent in the woods is dear. You treasure the time you spend in these amazing forests and you make connections at Spruce Knob Mountain Center that have the potential to change your life in many powerful ways.
Experience Learning and Spruce Knob Mountain Center were built from the ground up on democratic principles. Of the people, by the people, for the people. We, the people of this organization, can do more to make these life-changing opportunities available to all the people.