2015 was a very special year for Antinanco Earth Arts School. It was our first. It was busy, chaotic, spontaneous, filled with exciting ideas, magical visions and groundbreaking initiatives. We welcomed our first Board in March, finalized the Bylaws in April and received our public charity status in October. We were overjoyed to open our hearts and doors to our teachers and community, offering more than 20 classes, workshops, educational
experiences, panels and free community events to children and families in eight short months.
While a lot of our work was centered around administrative, legal, organizational and housekeeping tasks, if I am to describe the most important highlight of the year in one word, that word would be RELATE. Looking back at 2015, I can say with certainty that our most important work transpired during the precious moments of interacting with our community and with each other. Walking in nature, playing with beeswax and making art under pine trees, digging in the mud to find wild water, singing and storytelling around the bonfire, we connected, bonded, collaborated, and brainstormed. We learned to think differently and compassionately, to question everything, and to form connections and relationships with friends, teachers and the natural world around us.
Many inspiring visions, ideas, plans and actions were born and took form during these magical times. Remembering children’s curious expressions listening to the sounds of nature and their glowing faces while sitting around the fire brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. And then there was the moment of pure joy expressed by a little girl when she discovered that yes, it was ok to chew on a piece of beeswax, and no, it wasn’t toxic, and that is in fact how chewing gum was invented. Reflecting on these moments, I know that our first year was a success, and that a solid reliable foundation has been laid for much great work in the years ahead.
As we move into 2016, we know the support of our friends and community will be more important to our future plans than ever. This month, we are conducting our first monthly sharing circle for families, establishing a safe and supportive forum to work on parenting successes and challenges, practicing speaking from the heart and listening to guidance from within. In the spring, the Seasonal Nature Skills and Woodworking Programs for children will begin, providing children with the opportunity to acquire important practical hands-on skills under gentle guidance. In the summer, we are planning outdoor yoga classes as well as our charitable annual Sail for children and teens, which provides an opportunity to learn about the sea, the forces of wind and waves, sailing safety, and sustainable off grid living at sea. Throughout the year, our beekeeping, candle making, fermentation and green cooking classes will continue.
Along with hard work comes fun and celebration. In April, we will gather for our first Earth Day celebration. Many wonderful workshops and presentations will happen that weekend. In July, we will hold our bi-annual fundraiser party filled with music, art, around the fire celebrations and good vibes. We hope to see you at these celebrations so you can share in the fun!
We thank you for your trust in our mission. Your support of our work is your gift to all our children, so they can have a chance to learn mindfully and experience the beauty of living a life connected to themselves, each other, and the natural world around us.