True story: I've never met a group of youth workers and teachers, who love the outdoors that I didn't love. I was reminded this spring at a BAWT Frontcountry Leadership Training, of how terrific this combination of character traits is: playfulness, passion for the outdoors, and pure optimistic enthusiasm for life -all character traits that help you when working with teens.
Along with two other experienced instructors, I got the chance to work with people that were truly inspired to take their youth outdoors. They took to curriculum like kids in a candy-shop, digging in and trying all they could get their hands on. They learned how to build fires with a flint, and wood shavings they had made themselves. They lead us in games that allowed us to use all our senses. They slept in tents, in the rain, and didn't complain once.
At least some of these newly trained leaders were chomping at the bit to get further involved in the BAWT community. And that is where the community of supportive peers part of all this is found. BAWT has figured out how to connect these youth workers and teachers to each other. They volunteer on each other's trips, they post to a Yahoo Group (yes it's a list serve started in 2000 and has almost 1,000 members) and get each other's advice, ideas, job postings, etc.
Many youth workers and teachers work in isolation. These communities, supported by our member programs, break that isolation, and remind people they are not alone in their work, which often goes above and well beyond their basic job descriptions.
Youth workers who love the outdoors make an amazing community of people. That community becomes the biggest asset that our member programs bring to their regions. But those communities have to be cultivated, and supported. At Bay Area Wilderness Training, it is!
More pics on our facebook page