Dear Friends and Supporters,
Since joining IslandWood in March 2018, I have had the enormous pleasure of getting to know many of you. I have heard what inspires you most and why you support IslandWood. These conversations have been so helpful to me in my onboarding, and I want to thank each of you for being so generous with your time and guidance.
I spent much of my first months on the job—which coincided with the last quarter of our fiscal year—getting to know IslandWood better. I observed our programs, learned about the work of every team, and spent time getting to know our educators and staff, graduate students, volunteers and docents, and board members.
What I observed time and time again is a commitment to going over and above to take care of every detail so that our guests, of every age, can fully immerse themselves in their IslandWood learning experience. We do this because we know that when students, educators, and guests are well-nourished, when they are warm and dry, when they feel safe to venture our if their comfort zone, and when they know that their life-experience will be honored and respected, they are better prepared to see the world and themselves in a new way.
I wish you could have seen this in action when our graduate student, Caroline Bargo (’19), helped a group of students in our School Overnight Program develop tools for letting go of their fears. Part science lesson and part socio-emotional development, Caroline designed an activity where students dropped two leaves from our Suspension Bridge. One leaf symbolized an external fear (such as a fear of spiders) and one symbolized an internal fear (such as a fear of public speaking).
After the activity, one student who had been particularly fearful about coming to our School Overnight Program said, “The fear may not be entirely gone. It may be in the back of your mind. But at least you know it has traveled to the back, and maybe it will keep going until it leaves entirely.”
In what seems like an increasingly fear-driven world, the question Caroline Bargo posed to her students is one worthy of asking ourselves: What would it feel like if our fears were to leave us entirely?
Now more than ever, we need to eliminate the barriers—like fear—that prevent us from working together to care for the planet and our communities. And thanks to your partnership and investment, IslandWood is working to do just that for thousands of kids and educators every year.
We are immensely grateful for the many ways both past and present that you have contributed to IslandWood’s vision, success, and growth. Together, we are planting the seeds for a more equitable and sustainable future.