Director’s Cut – Giving Thanks

I’m fairly new to this blogging thing, but I’m pretty sure you can’t host a blog this time of year and not do a ‘what are you thankful for’ post. So, that’s what we’re going to do for this second installment of the Director’s Cut.

Last week, during our staff meeting, I asked our staff what they were thankful for in their ELC world. The conversation that resulted was heart-warming and hopeful and made me so, well, thankful that I get to work with such amazing folks.

Notes from our reflection on what we are thankful for at the ELC.

What are we at the ELC thankful for?

People. We are thankful for you. We are thankful for each other. We are thankful for kiddos. We appreciate the relationships we get to form with families; we are thankful that they share their children with us. We are grateful that they too see the importance of time in nature.

We are inspired by the children we work with – their imaginations, their curiosity, their energy. We feel incredibly lucky to witness kids just being kids – exploring, building, discovering, problem solving, learning and growing! It is an honor to be able to foster that and it truly is amazing to watch. It lifts us. It keeps us hopeful.

We are thankful for one another. For the community that we have created among ourselves – twelve undergraduate students, one program coordinator, one director. We share the same passion and enthusiasm for what we do, and we are committed to bravely sharing that with others. We are supportive and kind and constructive. We have fun but get it all done. We have each other’s backs. Simply put, we care about one another.

Our land. We are thankful for our ‘hidden gem’, this relatively small piece of land that offers us a place to teach, to learn, to grow, to reflect, to practice, to share our love of nature. We know that it is a privilege to have such a place and to be responsible for its well-being. We understand the balance we must seek between caring for the land and promoting and practicing connection to it.

We are thankful for what the land supports. For the bull snakes we come across all spring long. For the beavers that leave their chew for kids to discover. Perhaps even for the mosquitoes that help teach how to stay positive in adverse situations😉 Recently we have become thankful for ‘Big Birdtha’, a very large female red-tailed hawk that was released on our property and has yet to move on (we hope she doesn’t). She’s made some pretty opportune appearances during programs.

And we are thankful for the river. For the life it supports. For the adventure and fun it offers. For its beauty throughout the seasons. For the educational opportunities it provides.

We are thankful. It feels good to reflect on this. And, though this is not an exhaustive list by any means, it feels good to share.

Finally, I feel I can’t end this post without separately acknowledging that I am so incredibly grateful for the people I get to work with. It is a privilege to watch young professionals learn and grow and to mentor them through the process. I am in awe of their creativity. I am so impressed by their dedication. These students have so much on their plates, but they are so committed to the work they do. They care. They care about the well-being of the planet. They care about the well-being of people. And they act on it. It is inspiring and fills me with an immense sense of hope. Kristen, Aaron, Silje, Julie, Nick, Spencer, Anna, Hannah, Chad, Parker, Kiera, Dan, Tyler, Ally, Emily – I am grateful for YOU!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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