All photography provided by Wild Guides, Micah Madrid & Cielle Watjen Brown
Wild Kids is run by Wild Kids.
Wild Kids was started by a class of 6th graders at Le Jardin Academy in 2008. They convinced their teacher at the time, Christina Hoe, to take them to explore the forest adjacent to campus and, together, they designed a learning culture built on imagination, adventure, compassion, freedom and love of the land. Since then, each age group has been added as a direct result of bold young people demanding that they be included!
In 2010, a group of third graders proposed that a Lower School Wild Kids session be created. In 2012, a group of high schoolers proposed that a High School Wild Kids session be created. And, in 2014 a group of Kindergarten parents proposed a Kindergarten Wild Kids session. Today, Wild Kids includes students from every grade level, Kindergarten through High School Seniors!
Each aspect of our program involves the current Wild Kids and Wild Kids alumni. They are engaged in decision-making, logistics, website design and maintenance, inner-island trip planning, Montana trip planning, community service and activism, guiding after school groups and guiding summer trips to Montana. Founding member, Aaron Tod, who graduated from Le Jardin Academy in May, 2015, summed it up,
"No one understands and believes in our vision more than we do. We are the ones who should run the program. Wild Kids is for everyone, at every age, and, if you're part of the program, you're part of building it, running it and sharing it with others."
Junior Counselors and Buddy Counselors
Our high school and 8th grade students lead our after school program. Junior Counselors are held to a high standard laid out by the Executive Council, which is comprised of ten seniors and two adult advisors. After each class, Junior Counselors stay for a debrief of the adventure and discussion of strengths and growth areas that they notice within themselves and others. They also provide program suggestions and lesson ideas. At the end of each full session, Junior Counselors undergo an evaluation process with the lead adult Wild Guides based on the following categories: Awareness & Initiative, Mindful Engagement, Principled Choices, Conservation Ethic, Imaginative Play, Flexible Thinking, Insatiable Curiosity, Compassionate Communication & Choices, Confidence in Self and in Others, and Active Appreciation.
Junior Counselors are trained "on the job" and through leadership retreats to monitor safety, engage younger students in imaginative play and story telling, model insatiable curiosity and adaptive behavior, and guide exploration and problem solving through active questioning. Our Buddy Counselors are 8th graders who serve as interns under our high school Junior Counselors and act as "buddies" to the younger Wild Kids.
If you are interested in becoming a Junior Counselor for Wild Kids, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.