Boys Explorers Club - Spring 2016 Season Wrap Up

BEC group meeting lakeside during spring 2016 season

BEC group meeting lakeside during spring 2016 season

Dear Boys Explorers Club Families,

On behalf of the Boys Explorers Club (BEC) mentors, we thank you for a wonderful spring season full of exploration and growth. With 15 groups and 163 boys in our cohort, we are a vibrant, genuine, and powerful force within our community.

Families, your Explorers gave 608 volunteer hours at our Connelly Creek Service Site. Our Four Shields Program participants volunteered 75 hours as Explorers Mentor Apprentices, and our Adult Volunteers gave over 30 hours on outings! The BEC would like to thank Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) and the City of Bellingham Parks Department for all their help facilitating our spring service project. 

Our mentoring team is appreciative of all the support and encouragement we receive from families, and we are grateful for all the time we get with your Explorers. Our staff work hard to bring your children thoughtful and intentional programming. Although there is a great deal of planning that goes into the Explorers Club experience, we find that it's more often our participants' interactions within the natural environment, interpersonal dynamics within the group, and long-term experience with a consistent Explorers Club culture that provides the major lessons and takeaways on our outings. 

As mentors we work to create the space and to hold the container of safety for these experiences to occur. Stan Crow, a mentor, wilderness guide, and former director of Rite of Passage Journeys, described this mentoring style beautifully when he said, “The work of a mentor is in the present moment, exploring actions, behaviors, and feelings in real-time, and always highlighting the power of choice that the youth has in the moment”.

Our aim, much like Stan Crow's, is to be fully present with our explorers while on outings. We seek to empower our mentees when we see moments of character growth and strengthening leadership in them, and to walk along side and encourage them as they overcome challenges and aim beyond the target. 

This spring our mentors witnessed this cohort of emerging males becoming deeply connected with one another in constructive and genuine ways while being firmly rooted in their connection to and stewardship for the land. 

Spring 2016 - Season Highlights

Throughout Whatcom County's lowland forest and shoreline our younger groups:

  • Played games
  • Made group decisions
  • Learned to recognize bird calls and navigational clues
  • Rambled
  • Traversed as they immersed themselves in the diverse landscape from Clayton Beach to north Lake Whatcom

Celebrating the abundance of spring they learned to make nettle tea, feasted on salmon berries and thimble berries, collected cottonwood buds for salves, and harvested cedar and alder for carving wood.  

Our elder Explorers Club groups ventured out to further locations like Lizard Lake, North Lake Samish Trail, and the Deming Eagle Preserve. Here their endurance and backcountry skills were put to the test. These locations provided opportunities for the boys to engage in complex crafts like fire by friction, plaster casting, and tarp shelter work. These boys also gathered beta on a few first time outing locations. Driving up Cleator Road, they explored the upper reaches of Chuckanut Mountain on the Rock Trail. Explorers navigated a massive sandstone ridge line down to Lost Lake, and they found quiet spots along the shore to sit and take it all in. These groups also took time to pioneer the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve. Climbing high up into the logging lands, the boys explored part of Bellingham's watershed, finding beautiful cascading falls and ample space to work on skills. 

Bringing our spring season to a strong finish, The Daredevil's Club celebrated their time as an BEC group with a graduation camp out at Racehorse Falls while our Four Shields Program ventured out along the Baker River to sleep under the stars nestled in the deep valley between Anderson Butte and Mt. Shuksan.

BEC Spring 2016 season highlights

Announcements

Mark your calendar! The 2016-17 Boys Explorers Club season starts Saturday, August 27! Registration for the 2016-17 season is open for returning Explorers Club participants. This priority window for returning participants runs through Friday, July 15. After that, space will open to children on the Interest List.

New for 2016-17 - In response to feedback, we are switching to a full academic-year registration cycle for Explorers Club and have added an additional outing. This means you’ll now need to register only once for an expanded series of nine (9) Explorers Club outings, running from late August to mid-June. We are continuing with our two-tier tuition option and have both payment plans and financial assistance available. Information about payment plans and financial assistance are available during registration. Please note Explorers Club financial assistance requests are due by Friday, July 15. 

LIBK - Please let us know if your son won't be joining us for our 2016/17 season. Families have always shaped the directions of Explorers Club – we truly want you to LIBK (Let It Be Known) so that we can collaborate more effectively on raising stellar stewards of self, others, and human and natural communities. If you haven't done so, please take a few minutes to fill our parent and youth surveys and have your Explorer do the same. Thanks so much for taking the time to LIBK!

Don't forget! Sign up for our seasonal Wild Connections newsletter. 

Explorers, thanks for a great season!

On behalf of the BEC Mentoring Team,

Steve, Tim, Peter, Brian, Greg, Conor, & Bobby