Teen Adventures in Nature Mark Passage to Adulthood

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Children of the Earth Foundation provides training for teens to enable them to develop a real meaningful connection with the Earth, a relationship that will be their greatest teacher in their passage into adulthood.

Adventure is a word that has lost much of its meaning. It is something today’s teens read about or see in television or video games but never really lives. The challenges teens face in society lack a sense of acknowledgement of their passage into adulthood. They may excel in academics, athletics, in creative endeavors or other areas of interest, but none of these denotes an internal journey from childhood to adulthood. This leaves young people continuing to look externally for direction and validation of their role in life.

Since the beginning of human history, nature has provided a doorway to self discovery. In indigenous cultures, young people have faced a rites of passage, be it a walk-about, a vision quest, their first solo hunt or other experience that delineates childhood from adulthood. All these experiences use nature as the teacher. Nature is not biased, it follows its own laws, and a young person can learn a great deal about themselves in how they interact with and respond to natural situations.

Our teens today are often very removed from nature and there can be a great deal of fear involved with experiencing the unknown. The Children of the Earth Foundation (COTEF) recognizes the hurdles that many teens need to overcome to enable them to experience a real adventure in nature. They have created a series of classes to help even the most urbanized youth experience the freedom and adventure that nature provides.

COTEF offers a number of courses available to teens to prepare them for these experiences. From classes that teach the basics of nature based survival to courses that incorporate advanced skills such as the philosophies and skills of the ancient Apache scouts. Through these courses teens are immersed in a natural setting and find they can care for themselves easily as long as they know and live by the laws of nature.

With these skills, teens can prepare for their own rites of passage experience or continue with COTEF for a supervised experience. When a teen is ready, they can go on a solo quest through COTEF. They face time alone in the woods with only themselves and nature. In a world where people leave their TV on just so the house isn’t quiet, this opportunity for such aloneness and time for an inward journey is decidedly rare.

The ultimate teen adventure COTEF provides is the Intern Mentoring program where teens commit themselves to an entire summer to learn ancient skills. They receive guidance and council from those who are supporting this journey and to face the ultimate adventure by not only completing a quest, but by also facing a supervised solo survival challenge. They return the mentoring they get by serving as helpers for the younger students.

To some teens this will sound frightening; to others they will feel the pull and excitement for an adventure that is much more real than anything they’ve experienced in society. A teen who follows this call will have experienced a true adventure and faced their fears and conquered them. This is a teen who has demonstrated true dedication and passion by taking complete responsibility for their life and is ready to face the challenges of their role as an adult.

The Children of the Earth Foundation was founded by author and outdoorsman, Tom Brown Jr. who learned his skills from Stalking Wolf, a displaced Apache elder who dedicated his life to preserving indigenous skills. For more information on Children of the Earth programs visit http://www.cotef.org.


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