Mentoring Is Natural At Artemis Moon Girls

Published October 23rd, 2015

Artimus-MoonThis group of girls is ready! Ready for adventure, challenges, deep learning, connection and a healthy dose of unfiltered, silly fun! What really touched me, and many of the instructors, was how ready the girls were for true and loyal friendship. I’d love to share one story which spoke so much of this readiness. After our story of the day, I have a few important notes about next Artemis, as our day will be different from other program days in a few ways.

And now for our Artemis Moon Girls story…

This year we are building a wigwam, a domed structure built from saplings. There are lots of different jobs; sawing, hatcheting, bending saplings, digging post holes, etc. It’s the perfect project for us to work on team building skills, as many tasks require 4+ hands. The ends of the saplings needed to be sharpened so they would go into the ground easily. While one girl sharpened the end with a hatchet, an instructor and one of our youngest, a Red Squirrel, helped by holding the sapling in place.

At one point, one of the younger girls became really curious about the hatchet, but when she was invited to use it, she immediately shied away, saying she couldn’t do something like that. She claimed it was too hard, too dangerous and that she didn’t have enough skill or experience.

One of our instructors gently nudged her towards trying it, but the young girl just couldn’t picture herself doing something like that.

It wasn’t until one of the older Artemis girls (from the White Tail Deer group) stopped hatcheting and spoke with her that she began to change her tune. The older girl showered her in encouraging words and finally the Red Squirrel gave in! She, very gingerly, took hold of the hatchet and swung.

She was still shrouded in doubt as she cautiously swung the hatchet. Another round of cheerleading was needed. And just then another older girl came along and became her personal coach. “You’re doing great!” “Keep it up!” “You’re amazing!!” She stayed there cheering on her young friend, and with each cheer, our young Red Squirrel grew more confident and more able.

Without any prompting from the instructor, these young girls had organically fallen into a mentoring relationship with one another. At the end of this experience, our Red Squirrel said, “Wow, I really hope I can help build this wigwam one day.” To which everyone responded, “You just did!”

This is our goal at Artemis. We aspire to create a village of young girls who are brave enough to try new things and also, brave enough to be good friends to one another. These hopes were already met on our very first day, in so many ways. I can’t wait to see who they will be in the Spring!

With care,
Esperanza

Important Artemis Moon Program Announcements:

#1) Nov 7 will be a regular day program for all the girls, plus an optional overnight for the older two groups. It’s not too late to register for the overnight!

Children from the middle and oldest groups are invited to stay for the overnight. If you are not already registered, please email lisa@wildearth.org and tell her you would like to sign your daughter up for the Artemis older girls’ overnight. She will handle your registration manually, and will apply an additional $60 payment to your account. If funds are a limiting factor, please reach out to us for financial aid as always.

Please read below if you are unsure which group your daughter is in, and if she’s eligible:

White Tailed Deer: All 11 year olds + 10 year olds who were in Artemis last year
This group is invited to join us for the Older Girls Overnight. If you have not yet registered and would like to, please email Lisa, as indicated above. If you are unsure of your daughter’s readiness, it may be best to wait until the November 21st overnight. Please feel free to call us to discuss.

Red Squirrels: All 9 year olds, plus all NEW 10 year old girls
This group will not be joining us for the Nov 7 Older Girls Overnight. The older girls will help welcome and host them for the November 21 Overnight!

#2) There will be an Overnight Q & A for Parents on Nov 7 from 3:00-3:30pm at the program

This Q & A Session is available to all parents, but is offered with the parents of our youngest and newest Artemis girls in mind. Join Mai (Wild Earth’s Programs Director) and Esperanza (Artemis Coordinator) to learn more about how overnights at Wild Earth work, and what the overnight for all the girls on Nov 21 will be like. We will meet with just parents in the woods next to our drop-off area.

#3) We will offer a Camp Tour for Families from 3:30-4:30pm on Nov 7.

After our Q & A for parents, we will head down the hill together for a tour of camp. The youngest girls will be our tour guides, and will show families around. The intention for this time is to help you and your daughter feel more at home and comfortable with the idea of an overnight in the woods, and help set everyone up for success on the 21st. From 4:15-4:30 we will meet up for a closing circle. We will then say goodbye, and escort families with girls who are not staying to the bottom of the driveway.

#4) There will be NO regular closing circle on Nov 7.

Instead, at 3:30pm, all of the girls in the youngest group (plus any girls who are not registered for the older girls overnight), will arrive at the road to greet parents. From there, the girls will escort you down the hill to show you around camp or you can take off and head towards the rest of your life!

After each program day at Wild Earth, our staff writes up a story of the day. This blog post is a story from the first day of Artemis Moon Girls, our wilderness program for 9-13 year olds girls.

Esperanza GonzalezEsperanza GonzalezEsperanza Gonzalez, Program Manager

Esperanza is, and has always been, a teacher at heart. From the early age of 8 she would hold play groups in her church and tend to the young children who would often disrupt the sermons. This passion to teach carried on through the years, bringing her to SUNY New Paltz where she received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and History. While living in New Paltz, she merged her love for the outdoors, her passion for teaching and her organizational and entrepreneurial skills into many different educational programs. She has taught in various local schools, led theater groups, kids yoga, art programs and of course worked with Wild Earth in a number of programs. Her commitment to community connection has guided her community service work in jails, juvenile centers, Americorps, inner-city art programs, soup kitchens and many more volunteer based initiatives. She sees every child's potential and knows there is no better way to hold their blossoming than through the arts and the exploration of the natural world. More about Esperanza's work.

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