Hello from Trout Lake! My name is Monika and I am currently working with Cascade Mountain School (CMS) as a camp educator. We’re going to talk about purpose today! More specifically, my purpose, which feels good to type. My purpose.
I am at a point in my life where I can take time to explore my top tier in Maslow’s hierarchy. Self-actualization. Right now, I have all of my other tiers met and I can focus on what brings my life meaning.
How do you determine your purpose? How do you approach that daunting task of figuring out how to put vibrancy in your life? Well, I knew I needed to base my vibrancy on nature. I’m not happy unless I’m outside. I knew that whatever my purpose ended up being, it would be tied to the natural world in some form or another.
Last year, I received an illustrated book called How to Be a Wildflower (https://goo.gl/4yw9rC). It contains four sections with “instructions” on how to be a wildflower. The four sections are Wander, Ponder, Gather, and Savor. It’s basically a book about how to be a free spirit and how to slow life down to an enjoyable pace. When I got the book, I decided that that was how I was going to find my vibrancy. My purpose. I have spent time exploring each section, what it means to me, and how I can incorporate those sections into my daily routine to make my life more fulfilling. I wander, I ponder, I gather, and I savor with intent, using each section to make a conscious effort to improve my life.
Now, through Cascade Mountain School, Mt. Adams Institute, and the Public Lands Stewards program, I am getting the chance to add one more section to my personal version of How to Be a Wildflower. Educate. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about the outdoors. Through CMS, I get to pass down my passion, knowledge, and values regarding the environment. I get to help kids grow into good stewards of nature. I get to work with them everyday and help them understand new concepts about the world around them. It’s easy to feel like you’re floating through life and like what you’re doing in your day-to-day isn’t important. When I’m working with kids, I feel present and like I’m making an impact.
In the month that I’ve been here, I’ve worked two camps. My first camp was Little Trackers. We taught kids about the relationships between predators and prey, how to use their senses to connect with the animal world, and how to slow down and enjoy nature just for the sake of enjoying it. The best part of Little Trackers was watching the kids absolutely relish in camouflaging themselves in mud.
My second camp was a MacGyver camp. We taught kids basic building skills and sent them off to build boats…out of CARDBOARD. At the end of the third day, they had built four boats that actually floated and could take passengers downstream. It’s amazing what kids can do when they’re given a little instruction and a lot of trust.
Through my additional fifth wildflower section, I have the opportunity to assist kids in finding their own potential as future environmentalists, builders, and scientists. I love to watch the wheels in their heads turn as they come up with creative solutions to problems we present them with. I’m looking forward to a summer of finding my own purpose and potential through educating.