This post was originally published in Waldorf Today #570.

Dear Waldorf Community,
My name is John Palmer. I was a student of the Kimberton, Berkshire, and Hawthorne Valley Waldorf schools. I graduated from HVS in 2006. I am now co-owner of Deer Hill Expeditions where we just completed our Spring staff training. My experience on that training led me to submit this note in Waldorf Today and to encourage you to check out Deer Hill Expeditions.

Deer Hill Expeditions provides wilderness adventure and cultural exchange through community service to ~300 participants each summer and 20-30 organizations throughout the year. We are a small wilderness adventure camp based in Colorado that delivers a personalized experience. We maintain a staff to participant ratio of 1:4, and cap enrollment for each summer expedition team at 15 and all of our group programs at 25. This gives participants the space and opportunity to shine as individuals.

Our Field Staff are licensed river guides and climbing instructors, many of whom return year after year to work at Deer Hill. In the off-seasons, they work in a variety of fields all around the country, and bring these experiences to their work with Deer Hill. In the past few years I have noticed more and more are coming from a Waldorf background.

Every night, at the end of a full day of training, we hold ‘Circle’ with everyone in the group. We sit in a circle on the ground and each one of us takes a turn to share our truths while the rest of the group listens. One particular night, the circle topic was ‘where or when did you realize you had a strong connection to nature’. Among the 17 staff on our training, there were four Waldorf School graduates in attendance and they all attributed their connection to nature being fostered by, in one way or another, Waldorf education.

As each of them were speaking, I felt a strong connection back to my education and a wonderful moment of gratitude that Waldorf had led them, and myself, to Deer Hill.

At Deer Hill, we pride ourselves on being able to foster ‘authentic connection to self and community’, (it’s in our mission after all). Our main strategy in fostering that connection is by going out in nature and engaging and moving through it on our expeditions.

All of us Waldorf graduates have that wonderful foundation and connection with nature. Nature is familiar to us and it’s where we find calm, safety, fun, purpose, and so much more. This connection to nature is why I believe Waldorf graduates are finding their way to work at Deer Hill. We know that time away from screens and being outside in nature, in a community with like minded individuals is just the best place to be. It is especially so after these challenging past two years.

So, for all of you Waldorf graduates out there looking for purpose or connection or direction or meaning…head out back into nature. Nature is our greatest teacher (the teachers at your school are pretty great too 😊) and as we like to say at Deer Hill ‘Find yourself in the Middle of Nowhere.’

To learn more about Deer Hill, visit us at deerhillexpeditions.com

Deerhill Expeditions team

(L-R) John Palmer – (Kimberton, Berkshire, Hawthorne Valley), Angelica Cronin (Monadnock, Hawthorne Valley ’18), Emma Upton (High Mowing), Sophie Linett (Chicago, Sante Fe), Jasper Guyer-Stevens (Summerfield, SunRidge, Sebastopol Charter)

Deerhill Expeditions staff

(L-R) Sam Smith, Jasper Guyer-Stevens, Emma Upton

Deerhill Expeditions staff

(L-R) Jordan Lehman (background) Sophie Linett, Angelica Cronin ’18, Kayla Nardozzi