Ventures is a community that values the outdoors as a place to learn, as a place to call home, and as a place for children to flourish. Ventures is a place where skills are taught and practiced, rather than just talked about, and where individual needs are considered in the scope of a holistic education.
Ventures is led by confident, skillful, empathic, tenacious individuals that understand the value of getting kids into the outside world as often as possible and creating a foundation for them to thrive on throughout their life. We understand that the lessons that are learned while at the park, in the backcountry, in a tree, or in the dirt cause ripple effects throughout that individual’s life, and spreads to affect all those that they touch.
Ventures is not play without a purpose; it is facilitated learning in the most natural way possible, using cause and effect, curiosity, and necessity as the driving force of lessons. It is a place where kids learn about the inner workings of themselves as well as others while learning about the natural world around them.
Emphasis is on adventure, curiosity, pushing boundaries, recognizing success, broadening hands-on life skills, appreciating the natural world as well as using it to our advantage, understanding what the earth has to provide for us and how we can provide for it, reviving lost arts and skills, making connections in how things work in the world, self-sufficiency, respect for our surroundings, and understanding how capable each individual is.
Ventures focuses on keeping alive the philosophies and practices that have gotten us this far in our evolution, and emphasizes incorporating them into today’s lifestyle rather than considering them to be ancient and unnecessary. Ventures combines the best from modern outdoor gear, scientific studies, educational perspectives, etc, with the best from ancient skills, proven ways of teaching, and activities that humans have relied on for millennia to learn how to survive and thrive in their world.
We hold a variety of programs for many ages and abilities, including everything from nature-inspired art to plant identification to backpacking and more. We also offer programs that can be customized to fit your child or group specifically, and will work with you to build one that will best benefit the needs/interest of your child or children.
It is through all of these different programs that we foster a connection between the outdoors and our students, and support children in learning more about their surroundings, as well as each other and themselves. In addition to promoting their stages of development as growing children, these programs fill the need for adventure that kids are always craving.
To put it frankly, we run these programs because we have found that there are very few things more powerful than a child in the outdoors, and that a young mind placed in the wild world is bound to find lessons much beyond any book.
ABOUT THE HEAD VENTURER
I distinctly remember being young and dreaming about canoeing out to an overgrown island that was untouched by the human hand, setting up camp, and living an adventurous life out in that wild place. Of course, I did not have a canoe and the island was made up, and at 11 years old it wasn’t exactly an option. But still this dream lived with me for many years.
This dream morphed into many things: it turned into learning everything I could about healing and edible plants and first aid. It turned into coming to know the mountains and their gorgeous alpine lakes. It turned into hiking into the backcountry all over California and parts of Alaska. It turned into learning to fish and to hunt for food. It turned into creating art that reflected the beauty I saw in the wild. And eventually, it led to Ventures Outdoor Education.
Each time I take a group of Ventures students out I am able to extend the opportunity for another dreaming child to connect with the wild, and I truly can not think of anything more incredible. I see their curiosity and their wonder-filled faces, their muddy hands and their exhilarated smiles, and I am so grateful that I get to facilitate their discovery.
Along the way to get to this point, I trained and taught martial arts for over a decade and I found my first opportunity to become a teacher there. I worked with thousands of adults and kids over the years, many of which had special needs of different kinds. The lessons I learned in this environment on how to connect with people of all kinds in a genuine and perceptive way were the catalyst for my future of teaching, and I eventually received my BA in Elementary Education and also taught 1st grade.
My obsessive desire to be in the outdoors only grew throughout all of these phases of my life, and I intertwined it into these new parts. I wrote many papers on the effects of nature on children’s development and learning in my university studies, I taught martial arts classes outside and with adventure elements added in, I included outdoor lessons and nature immersion into all of my classroom settings, and I continued to learn new outdoor skills myself.
Throughout all of this I have come to understand a few things. One is that children truly thrive when they have access to the outdoors with a confident and caring guide to support them. Whether they have a dream of living on a wild island or just really love bugs or like making mud, children belong in nature. I could list off a thousand studies to prove why, but I think everyone deep down understands that this is a fact of life.
Another thing I have come to understand is that not everyone has this opportunity. Not all children grow up with people that know how to teach them outdoor skills or are able to invite them into beautiful wild spaces. This is no one’s fault, it is just a fact. And that fact is a driving force in my determination to make Ventures into that opportunity. To teach them, to invite them, to encourage them to grow in this place called nature. Each child I meet through these programs reminds me that there is so much power and joy and zeal in giving the gift of the outdoors, and it is our mission to spread that to as many children as possible and bring a sense of discovery, exploration, wonder, and adventure back to their rightful places in a child’s life.