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whole-life skills for a radically different future

Wild Leaders Immersion

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to bring?

This list provides a rough overview of the essentials for participating in the Immersion program.

- Notebook and/or sketch pad and pen/pencil
- Shoes appropriate for light outdoor hiking (e.g., hiking sandals, sneakers, boots)
- Proper clothing for the season, including rain jacket and hat (check weather for Asheville, NC)
- Headlamp and batteries (LED lights are more efficient)
- Water bottle
- Natural insect repellent or long sleeves and pants to protect from biting insects
- A hearty lunch
- Daypack for containing and transporting all your things.
- Knife (non-folding) and sheath (we have quality, inexpensive Mora knives for sale)
- 8 x 42 binoculars for Bird Language Series [options available under $130; we recommend Shrikes]
- Snacks (optional)
- Field guides (optional)
- Camp chair (optional)

Will we be out in all weather?

Save for dangerous storms or natural disasters, we are an all-weather program and will be out in wind, rain, and snow. Appropriate rain and winter gear is essential for this program. On cold winter evenings, we will have access to a heated indoor space.

Where is the program located?

The program base camp will be located in the greater Asheville area. We are currently looking at several possible properties to host this camp. We will also journey out to beautiful forest habitats all around the Asheville area.

Are there bathrooms?

There will be bathrooms at our primary base camp location. Our campouts and some of our field trips, however, will be away from bathroom facilities. We will discuss and use backcountry protocols for when nature calls.

Are children welcome?

Intergenerational learning is a very important value to us, and we are committed to the long path of rebuilding a multigenerational culture. A concurrent youth program may run on the same property, but we will not know those details until closer to the start of the program. Parent​ participants​ may also​ coordinate their own child care cooperative,​ as they have in other SOIL programs. Additionally, ​SOIL or Forest Floor staf​f may be available for hire during program​ hours​.

Can I bring a dog?

Pets are not allowed at the program. Certified service or therapy animals are permitted with advance notice.

Is camping an option?

We hope camping will be available for participants. More details will be available close to the program start.

How far do I have to drive?

On a number of our program days, we will travel to visit special forest ecosystems throughout the greater Asheville area. Travel time for these field trips will range from 30 minutes to an hour by car each way. Throughout the program, we will highly encourage carpooling to both lessen our carbon footprint and to increase connection between participants.

Is the program physically demanding? ​(How far do I have to hi​ke?)​

Throughout the program, we will regularly take part in brief hikes of 1 mile or less, both on hiking trails and off-trail. On one or two field trips, we may hike two to four miles on hiking trails. Other physical program activities include running games, chopping and/or sawing wood, gathering wood and leaves, and being sneaky. Most of our activities are adaptable for a wide range of physical abilities, and all are optional.

If I am physically limited, can I still participate?

Yes. We are committed to making the Immersion accessible to all who want to participate. However, some activities may be difficult or impossible for participants with specific physical conditions. Students will spend extended periods of time moving across hilly, uneven terrain, working with the elements, and engaging as directly as possible with the landscape. If a planned activity is too physically difficult, we will work with you to create an adapted exercise that will allow you to fully participate in the learning village. Diverse experiences and abilities are part of what makes the Immersion a rich learning environment. To speak with our staff further about the physical nature of the Immersion, please contact us at wildleaders@gmail.com.

Are there scholarships?

Diversity and need-based scholarships are available by request. With a goal of creating connected, eco-literate, and powerfully diverse communities, we offer partial scholarships to people who might otherwise not be able to participate in our programs. Our hope is that these empowered individuals may then spread these tools and skills into a greater diversity of communities.

Our scholarships are especially geared towards underserved communities, black and Latino communities, refugee communities, people who speak English as a second language (ESL communities), single mothers, and Indigenous/First Nations Peoples. We greatly value diversity and welcome hearing what diversity you might add to our program.

Please contact us at wildleaders@gmail.com if you are eligible for and interested in a scholarship.

Are work-trade opportunities available?

We are considering​ two partial work-trade positions. We will​ ​likely​ ​need some support creating infrastructure during the summer before the program begins. All work trade must be completed before the program begins. If interested, please contact us at wildleaders@gmail.com.

Is partial attendance acceptable?

Due to the special nature of our program, the need for continuity, and to maintain a safe and unified container, we ask that participants commit to attending at least 85% of our program dates (i.e., miss no more than six program days). Further absences will prompt a conversation with staff to determine whether the program is a good fit for you.

Check out Reaching Nature Connection

Join SOIL for this weekend exploration of how to incorporate nature into early childhood education. The conference is designed for beginners and experienced educators alike, as well as therapists, administrators, homeschool families, camp counselors, grandparents, and parents who have an interest in developmentally appropriate nature mentoring for children.

Learn More