Cottonwood Institute Founder and Executive Director Ford Church recently joined April and Ken Pishna on the Living A Stout Life Craft Beer Travel and Adventure podcast! April is a former Cottonwood instructor and Program Director. She and Ken are living their dream traveling the country, sampling craft breweries, and mountain biking. Read a repost from their blog below and be sure to listen to the episode to find out more about the origin of Cottonwood, why outdoor education is so important, and a very exciting upcoming event (join us at Woods Boss Feb 1!).
Listen to the Craft Beer Travel and Adventure Podcast
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Hang Out With CI and LASL at Woods Boss Brewing
Want to hang out in person and drink excellent craft beer while supporting CI? Living a Stout Life is all about community, so we set up a cool collab with us, CI, and Woods Boss.
|CIPA Limited Sapling Craft Beer Release Party (and live music by Keith Hicks)
|Why not? Seriously though, it’s a benefit for Cottonwood Institute (CI) where every beer you purchase, a portion goes to CI.
It’s also a time to bring community together while supporting the real, real world. A time to drink awesome craft beer, say hey to friends, and meet new ones.
|Wednesday, February 1, 2023
|5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
|Woods Boss Brewing Company
2210 California St, Denver
|Cottonwood Institute, Woods Boss Brewing Co, and Living a Stout Life
|But still want to donate? Click here to donate to CI now to help get kids into nature.
Repost from Living a Stout Life, Written by April Pishna:
Spending time in nature through outdoor education and adventures are brilliant ways to create success in a technologically advanced world. We realize that this statement is highly ironic. However, the more we connect to natural places and build relationships with the natural world, the better we are able to handle all the s**t the “real world” throws at us.
Outdoor Education and the Real World
Actually, those words – “the real world” – might be the problem of why many people haven’t connected to nature. Think about it. From a young age, we’re all connected – computers, cell phones, social media, emails, news outlets, and more.
And while that may be great, we’re all also bombarded with everything that happens all of the time. So, we want to leave the “real world” to get away from it all. And where do many of us go to escape? You got it – nature or the natural world.
The Benefits of Outdoor Education & Adventures
But what if we called nature what it really is? The real world. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones growing up and experienced the true real world of nature. Maybe you started camping, hiking, and adventuring in nature before you started school.
Maybe in school, you were exposed to outdoor education and service learning projects. Maybe you learned to love the outdoors more than the indoors, regardless of the weather.
If you were lucky enough to have experienced any of the above and more, we’re willing to bet that you are now a fairly successful adult. Able to function in our technologically advanced, always connected, over-stimulating world that we now consider the “real world”.
But we’re also willing to bet that you are able to do this because you intentionally find your way back to the true real world – nature.
Because nature teaches us how to be patient and how to persevere. She teaches us how to be strong and courageous, yet to also remain humble and serene. Nature teaches us how to handle the s**t!
Meet Ford Church, Founder of Cottonwood Institute
Ford Church, the Founder and Executive Director of Cottonwood Institute (CI) is one of the lucky ones. From a young age, he was exposed to the natural world (the real world) while growing up in New Orleans.
Knowing how nature had an impact on him throughout his formative years, he knew he wanted to have an impact on kids in the future. He knew he wanted to change the world by ensuring that kids had the chance to get into nature so they then would have a reason to care for it.
Responsible Nature Lovers Become Responsible People
As fellow campers, RVers, travelers, and adventurers, we all have a responsibility to the real world. We use it, even when we don’t. Because the “real world” came from the real world. And that’s just one thing Ford touches on in this podcast episode all about how connecting to nature can change the world.
Changing the Wold through Survival in Nature and Business
Cottonwood Institute is an educational nonprofit based in Denver created from a passion project and a college thesis over a decade ago. But it is much more than that. Ford has gone above and beyond a typical nonprofit. He believes in building a foundation for kids that connects them to nature to ultimately give them the skills to succeed in the “real world”.
This is Ford’s story about Cottonwood Institute, yes. But it’s actually a story for anyone wanting to follow a dream. Ford can tell you how to survive in the woods – and we talk about that – but he can also tell you how to survive in business – we talk about that, too. You’ll learn a lot from Ford, but more importantly, you’ll be inspired. That’s just what he does.
“You get that self doubt that creeps in your brain. And it’s like, ‘ You don’t know enough, you’re too young, whatever.’ I think you have to duct tape those thoughts and shelve them because you’re never going to know everything you need to know. You’ll figure it out along the way.”
Ford Church, CI Founder and ED
I met Ford over a decade again when I was first beginning my teaching career. From the beginning of our professional relationship to now when we are both friends and colleagues, Ford has inspired me to learn more and do more.
Through Ford and Cottonwood Institute, I have met many spectacular people that are doing great things. (Speaking of that, he is also the one that connected us to one of our favorite bands, Michael Franti & Spearhead). If you think you don’t need nature, think again. Ford is proof of that.
Nature connects. Nature balances. Nature inspires. Thank you, Ford, for all you do for both kids and adults to help change the world!