Youth meet twice a month for outings, peer circles, overnights, and a 7 day backpacking trip during our Year-Round Outdoor & Community Engagement Youth Cohort. As they age out of CultureSeed’s many initiatives they are matched with relevant mentorship and employment, and return as Junior Guides through our Outdoor Leadership Program.
CultureSeed applies a youth-led model. Through our work with underserved youth in our region, we plan and shape our programming with youth. CultureSeed offers trauma sensitive curriculum. We focus on mindfulness based approaches that instill confidence through a culture of accountability, activities to honor passage into adulthood, and helping youth notice and handle stressful thoughts that lead to harmful behaviors.
We work with low income youth to navigate the realities of societal barriers, be it incarceration, transportation, fear of deportation or crippling anxiety that keeps youth locked in their homes. CultureSeed’s bilingual Behavioral Health Specialist knocks on doors in order to support youth that are not ready to receive services outside of their home. Our budget reflects the need for gas money and the time it takes to coordinate rides; we have coordinated with probation officers, judges and court administrators to be an alternative to incarceration—we meet youth where they are, and respond to their unique needs.
Our Culture of Circles is pivotal in the work of countering our disconnected culture: check in circles, debrief circles, peer circles and restorative justice circles. This simple yet effective recipe for sharing allows for connection, to hold each other accountable in an effective and non-violent manner, and for CultureSeed to build fluid and consistent feedback opportunities.
CultureSeed’s transformational whole circle approach increases connection to nature, self, and others, as well as diversity in the outdoors and economic opportunity. The degree to which individuals feel a part of a community is not only measured by the extent to which we participate, express and show concern for one another, but also by the extent to which one feels represented in their environment.