Mottos

"A phrase meant to describe the general intention of a social group or organization"

Safety First Practicing preventative physical and emotional safety is the base upon which all our successful exploring is built. Safety is everyone’s responsibility; Explorers are trained to identify potential hazards through risk assessments and safety checks, and also given tools to take care of themselves and each other's emotional safety. Everyone learns to S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan). Think It Through Before You Do! We like to ask "Whose job is your safety?" Guess what the answer is?

Be Prepared A prepared explorer is a happy – and safe – explorer. Explorers learn all about preparedness in one of the most changeable environments in the United States, the Pacific Northwest. We've had outing days where it rained, snowed, hailed, and was sunny - all within five hours!

"To be prepared is to anticipate risk and to act toward prevention."  –W. Fessler

Turn Problems into Possibilities We understand that what may look like a problem can transform – with our help – into a possibility. We work to see how we can shift a situation, and our attitude, to come up with solutions.

"Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities -- always see them, for they're always there."  –NV Peale

It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination The point is to awaken to what’s around us, to revel in discovery every moment, not to arrive at a particular place. We are where we are going!

We’re All Teachers And all learners! It’s not “ARE you smart?” but “HOW are you smart?” Everyone has much to share, and we're all "smart" in a variety of ways. We draw upon Multiple Intelligence Theory in all our wanderings. Mistakes are teachers too!

All Things Are Connected We point out and experience these connections as much as possible. In the course of our exploring, we come to realize that all things really are connected – mosquitoes and streams, cows and the Salish Sea, litter and otters, the skies over China and over us – and that all our actions have an impact.

"If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you'll come to understand that you're connected with everything." – Alan Watts

Leave No Trace We aim to leave every place better than we found it, to consider our own and each other's impact. “Leave only footprints, take only memories.”

You See It, You Own It We're in charge of our own safety and response-ability - and each other's too.  We watch out for one another, pick up each other's litter (or wash dishes, or take down a tent, or...), not just our own. If we see anything amiss, we take care of it, and don't just leave it for someone else.

The Trail is the Teacher On the trail, as in life, the lessons emerge as we walk our individual and collective journeys. Everything that appears and unfolds along the way – whether happy or sad, joyful or difficult – is a teacher. Lessons are often unexpected (and sometimes unwelcome) but we learn to use them as opportunities to learn and grow.

Connect and Protect We spend our exploring days connecting, which builds an ethic of protecting.

"If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it." –David Sobel

Our Cups Overflow… We’re all so fortunate and have so much materially and non-materially, our cups overflow to assist others. We often find that in filling other cups, our cups become more full in the process!

"There are two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind we feel for what we receive, and the larger kind we feel for what we give." –E. A. Robinson

Walk Your Talk We practice acting with integrity, lining up our beliefs with our words and actions. Integrity is doing the right thing, even if no one is watching. Our integrity is our inner compass. We like to say: “Let that quiet voice inside be your guide.”

"Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do." –D. Galer

LIBK (Let It Be Known) We practice honest disclosure about what's happening for us, saying what we need to say with respectful communication, rather than letting things stew and simmer. Mentors want to help in all ways, and always encourage participants to LIBK so they can do so! 

Widen the Circle We work on widening our circle of connection with others, focusing on including others and mixing up our known circle to connect with all. In this way, groups often form a special kind of kinship over time. 

Attitude of Gratitude There are gifts all around us, waiting to be noticed. We practice gratitude through Circle of Thanks, and appreciate the gifts of others through daily acknowledgements and on-going support. We look at the whole person, the whole plant, the whole trail, see past the few things that bother, and notice the gifts.

Collaborate and Compromise We practice participatory decision-making, with all voices heard. Decisions come through learning how to collaborate (work together) and compromise (giving up a bit of what you want so others can get their needs met, too). We think about "We, not just Me".

"One arrow is easily broken, but not twelve in a bundle." –Japanese proverb

Stretch Your Edge Each one of us finds our healthy edge in all areas (with self, others, physically, emotionally, intellectually…) and works to stretch it. No comparisons – we recognize that everyone’s edge is different, that we all have our own unique challenges. We face our fears, asking ourselves if that fear is helping us or holding us back. 

Challenge By Choice How much that edge is stretched is up to each person!

Many Hands Make Light Work Tasks too big to imagine completing solo can be finished with ease with a group working together; a task too big to imagine completing can be finished with ease in a day with a whole community pulling together. When we learn how to do things for ourselves, we have learned how to do them forever.  

"Give a child a fish and you feed him/her for a day. Teach a child to fish, and you feed him/her for a lifetime." –Chinese proverb

Build Bridges Not Walls Which are we building in how we speak and act toward others? We endeavor to create a culture of kindness and respect. 

"Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up." –J. Jackson     

The Only Way Out is Through Sometimes we face really challenging internal and external obstacles. Often the best way out of the stuck place is to not go around it, or walk away from it, but to go through it, to the other side. This requires courage and perseverance, which is "the hard work you do when you get tired of the hard work you already did." 

Expect the Unexpected In our programs, as in life, we prepare with a plan, but aren’t attached to it. We welcome the unforeseen events, challenges, and teachings that naturally arise, and try to learn what we can from them.

Grasp the Nettle The stinging nettle plant can teach us a lot. One of its lessons comes from the phrase "Grasp the Nettle", which means dealing with a problem bravely and boldly. Whether exploring in the pouring rain, working through conflict, or navigating a creek crossing, we use our physical and mental strength to meet each challenge.

Be Here Now One of the best things about exploring is that it puts you squarely in the present moment, which is where the fullness of life occurs.

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called Present." –Anon

Additional Mottos

A Tool is an Extension of the Body We are as responsible for the tools we are holding as we are for our own hands and feet.

Aim Beyond the Target The best way to lose your balance is to think about balancing. Express your mind through and beyond the challenge at hand and the obstacles will melt away.

Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drummer We celebrate and encourage one another to be fully our unique selves.

"If a boy does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." –H.D. Thoreau

It’s All Part of It Everything is accepted in our life’s journey: pain, joy, frustration, grief, anger. Each emotion, thought, mistake, and challenge - strong or soft, easy or hard - accepted and acknowledged, then released.

Lose Your Mind and Come to Your Senses  The busy mind numbs the senses. On the other hand, the senses calm the busy mind.

Many, Many Miles An old Mayan response to "are we there yet?" They say that it is just when you think you're there that the world likes to come in and cause chaos... so operate as if your destination is many, many miles away.  You may find yourself enjoying the journey more as well.

Slow is Fast and Fast is Slow Skill requires patience and method. Go slow first and develop skill and you will find yourself leagues ahead in the end.

The Difference Between a Tool and Weapon is You Everything can be a tool or a weapon depending on how you use it. Whether you use a stick to help you balance while crossing a stream or swing it at your neighbor, the stick itself remains the same. The difference is how you use it. 

The Map is Not the Territory AKA "Don't eat the menu." Maps are just symbols on paper. They are never complete. They are only helpful when they help you engage with the real, living world.