Gathering: come together; assemble or accumulate, bring together and take in from scattered places or sources, pick up from the ground, draw together or toward oneself.
Skills: the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice or aptitude to do something well; expertise.
Gathering Skills programs are focused on building curiosity, confidence and resilience as well as an appreciation of the natural world. Skills are built through a variety of activities including: hiking, tracking, foraging, gathering, harvesting, nature games, warrior challenges, and hands-on projects. Our projects incorporate modern, traditional and ancestral methods and often use natural materials that we harvest and collect. Hands-on projects can include; metal forging, knife making, leather work, carving, wood working, shelter building, weaving, ceramics, felting, beadwork, drawing, hide tanning, friction fire, cooking, archery, knife and tomahawk skills.
In our modern world of digital everything, smart phones, and social media, we risk losing our connection to nature and our knowledge and mastery of hands-on skills and craftsmanship. Young people, now more than ever, need to gather these skills in order to stay connected to the earth and ultimately to themselves.
"If today I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the... present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child's feet in the path of my forefathers..."
“To become a master at any skill, it takes the total effort of your: heart, mind, and soul working together in tandem.”
- Maurice Young
"The Gathering Skills program has been the highlight of Wyatt's year. He wakes up early on Friday, eager to go spend the day with James and the group of boys that he's bonded with all year. Every week is unique and challenging in the best of ways. In addition to learning practical skills that help him around the house and camping, he's developed socially and physically through the program. He comes home Friday afternoon excited about all he's learned and accomplished and also exhausted from the effort. The environment James creates with the group is a meaningful part of the program. I've seen Wyatt get more clear on his values related to the nature and the environment and that's been a real privilege."
"I fully attest as a friend and father, this program is absolutely enriching for each of its participants.
Life long lessons, skills and friendships built through an amazing teacher. Nothing could be better in my book. There’s a million ways of teaching kids empathy and being interconnected, where the edge of the real teacher; nature, does the work. The best teachers in my opinion in this work are the ones that can guide masterfully but get out of the way — that’s James.
Throw your teens at him! You’ll be happy you did."
"Gathering Skills was the camp of my son's dreams. He loved being able to throw tomahawks and knives and learn archery. He really enjoyed playing Paranoia and making usable crafts and making food and beverages. Crows End was such an ideal place to learn, and he especially appreciated being in the shade on hot days. I appreciated the daily e-mails on what to expect the next day and you sharing pictures on facebook of what our kids did. I also appreciated that you provided creative campfire lunches for the kids! It will definitely be the most memorable and extraordinary camp that my son will be in this summer! Thank you so much for the opportunity."
"Thank you for running the Gathering Skills camp! You have a beautiful setting under the oak trees. Tristan really enjoyed running around with all the kids and we were happy that he was outside all day instead of playing video games. He loved the knife and tomahawk throwing and all the outdoor cooked lunches. His favorite was cooking pizza on a stick over the fire. Tristan especially loved the final event where all the kids got to shoot each other with foam tipped arrows. He had a great week!"