Some things I know: I know that wilderness is a source for fostering human vitality. And I know it has the potential to bring out the best in us. I also know that there are a lot of barriers to accessing and actualizing wilderness. I know that profound wilderness encounters don’t require a lot of words even though they do require a lot of work. The best wilderness encounters are highly intentional and intentionally simple. I know that historically recreational wilderness encounters have been available primarily to the affluent, able-bodied, white men. And yet, I know that all sorts of people find their strength in and among wildness. I know that people go to nature to experience calm and get inspiration. I know that being in the wilderness is a vulnerable experience, that it requires courage. I know that the wilderness teaches people things that they need to learn. I know that a lot of the people who would benefit the most from some time in the wilderness don’t usually have the time or the money to go to the wilderness.
It remains a priority for me in my work with Renewal in the Wilderness to continue to leverage our fundraising capacity to build up funds so that we can continue making the support of Renewal available to world changers and caring professionals, without burdening them with the financial piece of the puzzle.
And it remains a priority to make our experiences approachable, to temper the intimidation factor of a wilderness experience by coming alongside of people who are interested but nervous, and to make sure that they feel prepared and capable.
There are big gaps in our model in so far as our experiences in wild and rugged places often exclude many people based on differing levels of ability. Given the limits inherent to our source material it’s not possible for every person to join every trip or retreat that we offer. But I think it’s absolutely vital that we as an organization keep on working to ensure that we offer experiences that are ever more inclusive. I think it’s vital that we continue seeking solutions to all sorts of barriers of access. As far as I’m concerned, crafting those creative solutions is the primary role of a wilderness guide. I’m committed.