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What a June it Has Been!

Over 60 members of the Wilderness Kids family - students, families, volunteers, donors--gathered at Patagonia Old Town for an inspiring night of short films on June 12.

June has been quite a month for Wilderness Kids. In addition to one-day outings to hike and learn about activism at the incredible Hike for Her, to swim at Sandy Point Beach, to bike in Maryland, and to hike and swim at Cunningham Falls, we had three other wonderful events we’d like to share.

The incredible roster of Wilderness Kids Summer Staff gathered for 2 days at Burke Lake Park for a fun-filled, experiential- and discussion-based staff training.

On June 8 and 9, our complete Summer Team headed off to nearby Burke Lake for our Summer Staff Training. The Weekend was full of the fun sorts of games that we play with our students--taught by our incredible roster of instructors--interesting conversations around “what to do if…” scenarios, discussions of our hopes and dreams for our students, and practical talk about how to teach kids the basics of canoeing and other outdoor skills. There were also a lot of laughs and deepening of bonds among a talented bunch of educators. We’ve got a great team for this summer!

Two days later, on June 11, we held our annual in-person Board Meeting. Our 10 person Board meets quarterly by video conference. However, once per year, we gather in person to have the chance to get to know each other a bit better, have conversations that you just can’t have in those little boxes on our screens, and to share a meal. Many thanks to all of our Board for your service and also to Perfect Pita who donated their delicious sandwiches and salads for our dinner and to The Motley Fool, who donated their lovely high-tech and comfortable conference room at their Old Town HQ for our gathering. 

Finally, on June 12, our incredible partners at Patagonia Old Town hosted our students and families, staff, volunteers, donors, and friends for our 2nd Annual Movie Night. With about 60 people in attendance, we watched three Patagonia films: 

Madina, a rising 9th grader who arrived in the US from Afghanistan 3 years ago, speaks beside Elizabeth Waugh, our Program Director, at our Film Night with Patagonia.
  • Ascend, about the incredible Afghan women rock-climbers who are inspiring so many and speaking out for the everyday Afghan women and girls oppressed each and every day by the Taliban. (These are the same women creating the above-mentioned Hike for Her.) One of our own students, herself an Afghan now living in the US for almost 3 years, spoke to the group after the emotional and moving film.

  • Los Plastico, a film that begins as a surfing movie but which ultimately tells the tale of the residents of a small Chilean island deeply caring for their local ecosystems and inspiring others around the world to care for our planet.

Sohrab and Noe, of Phoenix Bikes in Arlington, speak about what bike riding has meant to them in their lives.
  • Monte, a film about a young man of color from Richmond who found his true calling in mountain bike riding even as he earned his degree at Warren Wilson College in Western North Carolina. After the final film, we enjoyed a talk and Q&A with two team members from Phoenix Bikes, an Arlington-based program that teaches bike building and repair and which has its very own bike racing team. 

Thanks so much to Patagonia for such a wonderful community-building evening!

What a June it was–and we have not even touched on our first Summer Peak Experience…but more on that later!

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