Updated: 3 days ago
Dear RTS Families,
As 2017 comes to a close, we find ourselves counting the blessings brought to us this year. At the same time we must acknowledge the hardships that came as a result of the Thomas Fire and extend our condolences to those who lost homes or otherwise suffered. We celebrate our resiliency as a community and the way navigating hardships together draws people closer to one another. That experience of community care and connectivity is what we would like to focus on moving towards the New Year.
2017 may be remembered as one of the most apocalyptic years on record; from the political climate to the degradation caused by Thomas Incident. Yet it was also the year that brought you all to RTS andthatis something worth celebrating. With that in mind, may we all move forward into 2018 with grace, humility, and compassion for one another and the Earth we share.
Wishing you all a very blessed New Year.
** For those families that have not visited the upper valley since the fires, please be aware that the landscape has changed dramatically up the Dennison grade. If you and your children will be seeing this for the first time when coming to program, know that feelings may arise. We suggest you give your family an extra few minutes on your drive up to go slowly and respond sensitively to the experience.**
As always, Stay Curious and Be Well,
With love from the Rock Tree Sky Staff.
Looking towards January
Friday, January 12th 6:30-8, 2nd Friday event at Makerspace: We would like to take this opportunity to connect, share our stories, and offer support to one another upon our return. Please join us for potluck snacks and discussion. Childcare will be available.
Monday, January 15th, MLK Jr. Day: Break - no program
Thursday, January 25th 12:30-3:30, Project Expo: We have rescheduled our winter project exhibition and hope that all families (whether or not you typically attend on Thursdays) can join us. Performances will start at 12:45 followed by a gallery walk-through with plenty of time afterwards to chat and share potluck snacks.
Monday, Jan 7th - Wednesday Jan 24th, Parent volunteer opportunities:One way we plan to support one another with the changes we will be integrating upon our return is to work together as a community to rehabilitate and enrich our spaces. We would like to welcome parents to join us as we work with your children in this recovery. Below is a list of a few of the projects we will be tackling. Let us know if you would like to volunteer during program hours for any of the below projects in the weeks before the winter expo. Please specify what day or days in that time frame work best and we will try to schedule the project for that time.
- Garden rehab: repair the irrigation, and get some planting done!
- Bus conversion: We finally received the quote on the insurance we would need to run the bus as we had hoped and have sadly found it to be cost prohibitive. However, we are feeling creative and want to convert the bus into a mobile indoor space at the farm. Perhaps a "tea bus" instead of tea house...or a mobile wood-working station? However the space evolves, we need to start by removing the seats and envisioning the possibilities. Wanna join?
- Wood working tables: We want more wood working spaces outdoors for the littles...can you help?
- Playground set up: We have different elements we would like help setting up including a large ariel silks rig and other elements at the farm.
Reflecting on December
Although our time together in December was short, many of us were still able to enjoy an exciting adventure that will surely live on in our memories.
On Friday December 1st many RTS learners, mentors, and families ventured to Carpinteria State Beach to experience a rare opportunity for viewing and exploring the tide pools. We spotted sea stars, sea anemones, octopuses, crabs, and sea urchins to name just a few of the life forms that live amongst the rocks and the waves.
It felt refreshing to breathe the salty air and fun to be together as a community for the afternoon.
Then, during the second week of December, the RTS staff came together to do some deep cleaning and organizing at the Makerspace. We also have been brainstorming new features that we would like to create at both the Makerspace and New Farm in the New Year. We are excited to share our ideas with the learners when we all return to Rock Tree Sky. We would also like to invite the learners to think about any additional features that they would like to engage with at either space.
First, a poem...a reminder that our job as parents is not to simply shelter our children from distress but to support them as they integrate what has occurred As with all great and fierce events, we are changed by it - as we should be.
We think we get over things.
We don’t get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles
but not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
The things that become part of our experience
Never become less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to get over a life is to die,
Short of that, you move with it,
let the pain be pain,
not in the hope that it will vanish
but in the faith that it will fit in,
find its place in the shape of things,
and be then not any less pain
but true to form.
Because anything natural has an
inherent shape and will flow towards it.
And a life is as natural as a leaf.
That’s what we’re looking for:
not the end of a thing
but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life without
obliterating, getting over, a
single instant of it.
— Albert Huffstickler (1927-2002), from “Wanda” Walking Wounded
This month we decided it might be useful to include some resources for helping children cope with trauma such as natural disasters. We acknowledge that this work is challenging especially when considering we are all humans experiencing the pain, confusion, and loss of control that come when disaster strikes. Major crises don't occur everyday and therefore even as adults we are learning how to cope with the stress. The best that we can do is show up for each other, prepare ourselves with information, and practice strategies for helping our loved ones feel safe and cared for.
This fist link will bring you to an article published on the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center website. This article focuses on Helping Children Feel Safe. This information is useful both during and after a crises. It provides a useful reminder to reassure children that they are being cared for by staying close to them when possibly and by respectfully listening to them and holding space for them to express emotions. It also provides advice on developmentally appropriate ways to share information with children about the disaster or traumatic event.
This link will bring you to ready.gov Helping Children Cope. This article includes examples of Q&A with regards to crises and provides appropriate responses for children of different ages and stages of development.
We hope that we might all someday view the Thomas Incident as an opportunity for growth and learning.