In late April Sacred Rok was joined by six youth ages 7-9 from the Merced Boys and Girls Club for a day of exploring in Yosemite Valley. Working with this age group provides a unique experience as they are on the cusp of very deep and permanent development.
Developmental psychology tells us that this is an important time in their lives as they start to understand more complicated ideas and ask more questions about their observations, like cause and effect; they develop more in their language and communication skills and their peer group starts to play a bigger role in their lives. During this time they also need a lot of encouragement from the adults around them and start to show interest in being involved with groups or clubs as they become curious about other points of views and learning how to include them in their day to day.
At this stage in life there is a tremendous amount of intelligence in our youth to absorb things and this is why we know that bringing youth into nature during this time is paramount to helping them develop into healthy and whole human beings.
It was profound to be out with this group of young people as it not only evoked a sense of wonder and interest in the youth but also helped spark our adult imaginations.
With the natural cycle of the seasons the waterfalls in Yosemite are flowing at max and upon arrival into the park we took our time around them; taking our shoes off and fully immersing ourselves in the natural playground of streams, rocks and trees. It seemed as if we could spend the whole day crawling through the boulders seeking out caves and observing the patterns in the leaves. Their sense of wonder and imagination was fully open and expanded.
Over the course of the day it was interesting to see their reactions to the spray of the falls. What was initially panic and retreat from the spray turned into sheer joy and mesmerization by the end, as they became more comfortable and trusting of us and familiar with their environment, one child yelling with her arms in the air, “I just want the water all over me!”
We were first hand observers in watching their appreciation and connection to nature develop in just the six hours we spent together. Imagine how deep and meaningful it would be if they were allowed the freedom to express themselves in nature on a regular basis?
Throughout our 10 years as an organization we have come to understand more and more how essential it is in the development of an individual to nurture a relationship with nature early on; to evoke an intimate connection to place and themselves, laying a foundation for the rest of their lives. This is what we are dedicated to at Sacred Rok and this is what we mean by Education Nature’s Way.
Thank you for your support!
Katie Lambert - COO & Ron Kauk - Executive Director