| Ford Church

Cottonwood Institute Instructors Connect

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Chautauqua Park on a Saturday morning a ragtag group of outdoorsy people waited to load up the caravan of cars heading to Calwood Outdoor Education Center.  Sounds like a group of students waiting to attend a summer camp, huh?  Well, sort of…once again it was time for Cottonwood Institute’s annual summer instructor training weekend.  With a few new faces joining the veterans, we made our way out of Boulder’s weekend traffic ending our mini road trip at Calwood’s beautiful Solitude Camp Site.  With nothing but the wind in the trees to accompany us throughout the weekend, we set to work.

After a morning stretch, hike, and inspiring quote, we set up camp, created our outdoor kitchen area, learned a few things about group gear and safety, enjoyed a much needed sit spot and then hungrily dove into our lunch of tuna salad.  We then worked on shelters and fire skills, participated in a medical scenario, and even witnessed a black widow capturing a bumblebee in her well-spun web.  Exhausted yet content and warm under the late afternoon sun, it was time for a break where we all relaxed and got to know each other more while a pot of pizza rice simmered on the stove for dinner. A relaxing fireside chat of what if scenarios and a birthday surprise of chocolate cake for our outstanding Executive Director, Ford Church, preceded an unusually warm and windy sleepy night.

We awoke to a slight chill in the air, which a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and granola cured quite quickly and we set right into action on our service learning project where we worked hard assisting Calwood with a fire mitigation project. We talked more about risk management and dove deeper into the paperwork portion of implementing successful courses, played a few games, learned some new debriefing skills, and as time flies quickly, it was time to go.  As on any great Cottonwood Institute course we participated in a reflection activity and ended the training with a sit spot to complete our evaluations.

Although the weekend was quite busy, there was time to enjoy the calm of the outdoors before we headed back to the hectic schedules of our everyday lives. As Cottonwood Institute instructors we connect our students to the outdoors and help them find their reason to care about the environment.  In order to do this and do it well, we must remember to continually make that connection for ourselves. This weekend offered this much needed connection.

Here’s to the amazing group of instructors that I had the pleasure of attending Cottonwood Institute’s instructor training with.  Without you, it would just be another day in the office!  You rock!

Click here for a slideshow of the weekend’s adventures.



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