W.I.L.D. (Wilderness Immersion and Leadership Development)

Community Subscriber
Operated By: 
Back to Earth
Preteens, Teens, Young Adults
10 participants
eli [at] backtoearth.org
(510) 684-3497

WILDERNESS IMMERSION AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT A SKILL-BUILDING, CEREMONY-BASED BACKCOUNTRY PROGRAM FOR TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS. Supports teens to achieve their next level of maturity and express their authentic selves. Participants learn how to travel safely in the backcountry, manage risk, and develop real world leadership skills. Through a variety of nature awareness and mindfulness practices, we develop relationships with nature that sustain physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. W.I.L.D.'s unique combination of hard skills training, expressive arts, and rites of passage work fosters a culture of gratitude and resilience that supports transformative personal growth. A life changing good time.

Parent Reviews

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I very highly recommend the W.I.L.D. experience for teenage boys.  In addition to the important experience with and connection to nature, I so appreciate the gratitude ritual, emotional connection, and internal strengthening the leaders/guides created and modeled for the boys in the kind of experience they facilitate.  I know that it is both rare and essential for boys and men to receive this kind of modeling from men, and to have spaces to express deep gratitude, and emotional vulnerability while experiencing emotional connection.  I also know that the "ceremony" time the boys spend with themselves in nature builds an internal strength, connection to self, and resilience that we all need in order rise to the challenges life calls on us to draw from.  Eli, Jesse, and the other guides genuinely connected with my son and affirmed his strengths.  I can't think of anything more important than all of these things in the holistic health, growth, and well being of an individual, and for the continued evolution and healing of our world. I am immensely grateful for the impact this experience has had on my son, and for the deeply caring men who created and lead Back to Earth.

Hi-I recommend W.I.L.D.  Wilderness Immersion Leadership Development which is led out of Berkeley by two amazing coaches/mentors for young men.  Here is the website: http://www.backtoearth.org/mission.  My son did this program last summer between his sophomore and junior year of high school.  It is a ten-day backcountry trip with a lot of focus on the experience of young men moving from adolescence to adulthood.  It was spiritual and rigorous.  My son loved it and grew a lot from the experience.  

I sent my son on this journey last year. His experience was transformative and deeply meaningful. We had full faith in Eli and Jessie as guides, and responsible men committed to providing an enduring and positive experience for our son. He went well prepared physically, and came back overflowing with a new sense of himself to envision new doors opening and confident that he could be a stronger advocate for himself. And he never missed his cell phone once! I highly recommend this journey. My son will be returning for his second trip this summer. I'm grateful to Eil and Jesse for providing this opportunity. It does require a village to raise a child. I have always encouraged my son to foster relationships with other men who could teach him to grow mentally, spiritually and physically. As a parent I can only do so much. The mindfulness adventure is perfect for him and it is helping him to build the confidence to move forward in his life.

My son took part on his first Back To Earth wilderness retreat after he graduated from high school, prior to leaving for college. It was a introduction to a new passion for health, love of nature and the environment and a new faith in his own capabilities of what he himself is capable of. It was the best investment in him we could have made. He left a lovely boy and returned a amazing young man.

I cannot say enough about this program and the guys who run it. My son went on his first backpacking trip with them last summer and it was transformative in so many ways. Not only did he gain experience backpacking, he went through an incredible spiritual and emotional transformation as well. He came away with life long connections to amazing people and a belief in himself that he hadn't felt before.