March 13, 2021 – November 15, 2021 all-day
Ages 11+

The LES Teen Apprenticeship:
One weekend a month. Nine months.
Hunter-gatherer skills in the modern world.

Calling all teens: If you’ve ever done a Living Earth School program before, you know what makes you feel truly alive: making awesome crafts, learning survival skills, hanging out with old and new friends around a fire, being put through crazy blindfolded challenges at night. Well, it’s time to kick it up a notch.

You were made for adventure, self-reliance, community and awareness. 90% of humanity’s existence on earth has been spent as hunter-gatherers, roaming the land in tight communities, developing technologies that have allowed us to travel from the deserts to the tundras. It’s in our blood—a deep knowledge of place, and the ability to survive and even thrive in each new environment.

At the core of The Teen Apprenticeship is crafting—making useful things that we take for granted every day. If you’re willing to experiment, observe and work hard, by the end of the class you’ll be surrounded with amazing tools and useful objects that you’ve made such as:

·      Knives and hatchets from stock and found materials

·      Leather shoes, pouches and bags

·      Felted wool pouches and boots

·      Pack frame and oil cloth shelter tarps

·      Bow and arrows with forged arrowheads

In addition to crafting, there is the survival layer of the program. You will learn how to set up reliable tarp shelters, to hunt, trap, fish and forage, to make an herbal first aid kit.

Lastly, there is the awareness layer of the program. Through games, martial arts and challenges, you’ll learn how to move your bodies with stealth, agility and strength. By being in a tight community with other teens and your instructors, you’ll learn a lot about yourself, about conflict and communication, and true friendship.

But, WHY?

The word “survival” has its roots in “sur” meaning “super” and “vival” meaning “living.” Agriculture, industrialization and technology are stunning movements in our human history, and have given us many comforts and new intelligence. But has human progress moved so fast that the skills of the hunter-gatherer have been buried inside us, unused and lost? When you walk outside, do you wonder what it might have felt like to be one of your ancient ancestors who noticed all the details about the clouds, the trees, the animal tracks, who didn’t need a house or a car or a device to survive? Do you feel like body and mind have the capacity for so much more? For “super-living”?

What happens when teens give their full selves, learning together skills for survival and awareness? They learn these values: building a strong, small community; leadership by example; treating everyone as equals; sharing as a way of being; having only what is needed to live; adventure as a way of life; the ability to be still and alone, as well as the ability to thrive as a group.

These ways of being don’t magically appear. The Apprenticeship is not for everyone. Apprenticeships used to be common—a way for a motivated person to commit to more rigorous learning. An apprentice put their whole heart into their learning and their work, and their mentor did not coddle them or do the work for them. Apprentices need to be up for challenge, failure and trying again. The Apprenticeship is not a program where you’ll just hang out with friends, or be bossed around by your instructors. As individuals and as a community, you will take responsibility, you’ll experiment, you’ll feel sweet successes and you’ll feel natural consequences like hunger or cold or conflict. You’ll be challenged to see the rain and the sun, the tension and the smoothness, all as valuable parts of the human experience. This is what it means to be truly alive—super-living.

Instructors: Peter Yenken, Paul Cipriani, Luke von Hemert, Anna Caughron

Come and join us, one weekend a month. Come and dive into challenge, into connection, into resourcefulness, into learning, into what feels real. Answer “Yes!” to the call to adventure!

Details & Application for Teen Apprenticeship

  • Returning in 2021
  • Arrival Friday evening after 6 pm , or Saturday morning at 9 am. Pick up on Sunday at 4 pm.
  • Ages 13 – 17
  • Afton, VA
  • $1990
  • All project materials are provided.
  • Free T-shirt included
Application Not Yet Open