This fall, Friday afternoons arrived with a great sense of anticipation - both for Forest Play leaders and for the children. Many of the children in our Friday afternoon programs for 6-10 yr olds have been with us for many years and we love it when they arrive bursting with questions and a list of things they want to do: "Can we carve?, I want to finish my sword. Can we play camouflage? Can we go to the canyon today? Can we play Hunger Games or Busted today? Will there be time to go to the creek?" The passion and the exuberance they show when engaged in the activities is a sign that these children are exhibiting one of the attributes of connection that we aim to foster at Forest Play: Full Aliveness. As described by Jon Young:
"People with this attribute live fully in the moment. They put everything they have into what they are doing without 'pulling any punches' If you’re going to sing, then REALLY sing. If you are dancing, then REALLY dance!”
The children in our Friday afternoon programs love challenges and projects - whether it is building shelters, honing their skills to blend in with the forest, making beautiful art with yarn, rocks and elements from the natural world or learning new skills like carving. While engaged in their passions, we notice where their edges of knowledge, skill and awareness are and when we meet them next, we work to help them move beyond those edges so they can deepen their sense of aliveness.
It is said that stories live on the wind and those who are aware and whose senses are alert, can catch the story that needs to be told in that moment.