Join the conversation and experience community mentoring through your phone and computer!
Enrollment is ongoing and pro-rated: Register Here
At a Glance:
- Learn – Hear keynotes each week from Jon Young and other specialists to inspire and expand your nature connection and mentoring skills
- Share – Share your stories each week in small breakout groups
- Grow – Experience the Art of Questioning with skillful mentors
Inspiring Stories That Weave Connection
“At it’s best, a healthy culture supports deep nature connection for all ages and stages”
- Jon Young
Listen to “Growing Mentors, Creativity & Curiosity” with Jon Young and the Village Talk team to learn more and hear answers to questions about the series.
(Right click the link or hold control + click and select “save file as” to download and listen).
During each week’s call you’ll hear an inspirational keynote presentation that introduces a new nature connection and cultural mentoring topic.
Jon Young or other special guests provide these unique keynotes. Essential mentoring questions are asked to guide your exploration with each topic in between calls.
Village Talk is meant to be a long-term connection process – think of it as an ongoing gym or yoga class for nature mentoring!
The conversation flows naturally through a year-round cycle that relates to each piece of the 8 Shields core concepts of mentoring and nature connection (learn more about the 8 Shields here), providing a holistic connective journey. Because the calls contain a live mentoring process, the discussion relates directly to participant questions and feedback.
Sharing Your Story
Reflection time is critical to empowering your connection journey.
An important part of each call is dedicated to breakout-group sharing sessions. These small groups provide the space for you to share your story of the week’s exploration with fellow participants.
It is so helpful to know that someone will be there each week who wants to hear about what happened for you in your connection experience.
Sharing the “story of the day” helps you to build deeper ropes with nature and community. It is a core routine of deep connection. After the breakouts meet, the whole group gathers back together to explore selected themes through the Art of Questioning.
Mentoring in Action
As themes emerge in the breakout conversations, our mentoring team selects particular stories to explore further with the large group.
Individuals in this part of the call receive live mentoring and feedback around their connection journey. Because everyone is together for this process, everyone benefits from the mentoring that happens.
By experiencing mentoring in action, you receive a positive side effect – you will naturally deepen your own abilities as a mentor.
You will also get to learn from the perspectives of many different people, which adds breadth and depth to your own learning journey.
Village Talk in action. . .Connection and mentoring are two integral halves of the learning cycle. This leads to the emergence of qualities of deep connection.
It’s About the Process
The key to supporting deep connection is not just about the “content,” or topics that are shared. The real power of transformative connection comes to life through the process that we engage in.
We call this process our “conduct,” since it is like the way the wiring for a house conducts the electricity that powers everything. You need to have good, connective wiring setup – good conduct - if you want the electricity to get from the high voltage cables on the street (i.e. the rest of Nature) into your house (You).
We strive for good conduct in the Village Talk learning environment. To support this, we work with some basic Peacemaking principles during our call interactions, and ask all participants to do the same:
- Communication using “Good Message” (speaking with respect towards others; choosing your finest words and realizing your words have an impact)
- Coming from a place of “Peace” (take time to find a place of inner peace before issuing a message)
- Working towards “Unity” (working with an intention towards fully hearing and respecting all parties, even if it means agreeing to disagree on some subjects)
Participation in Village Talk implies an agreement to do one’s best to uphold these principles in this community space. This creates a strong foundation to share and grow upon.
Meet the Staff
Village Talk welcomes our new program director, Amy Hyatt. Amy is the Executive Director of the Vermont Wilderness School and has served for many years as an organizer and facilitator at the annual Vermont Art of Mentoring, in addition to staffing various youth and adult wilderness programs. Amy has been a familiar voice on the 4PM PST Village Talk calls in the past as both a conductor and host.
Village Talk call hosts and mentors have long-term experience with the 8 Shields Mentoring model. Our village includes a variety of mentors and voices that are there to support your journey.
Our hosts are glad to share their many years of deep nature connection, holistic tracking and bird language experience with you through engaging stories and questions.
Our hosting team is joined by 8 Shields staff mentor Josh Lane, who enjoys sharing his passion for tracking, bird language, and nature connection through storytelling and mentoring. Calls also include regular mentoring moments and keynotes from 8 Shields Founder Jon Young and other special guests.
- How to Get the Most Out of These Calls
- Technology Requirements
- Common Questions
- Comments from Participants
- Return to Top of Village Talk Description Page
- Register Now
How to Get the Most Out of These Calls:
- Show up consistently (recordings are shared weekly for those times you miss the calls)
- Participate in the conversations
- Gift yourself some outdoor time each week to engage in the weekly explorations
- Be willing to share and grow each week!
As Village Talk is a distance-learning program, participants are responsible for being able to call a US telephone number for 1.5 hrs. each call and have regular access to the Internet (for both checking emails and participating in the live web chat during the call). These costs are not covered by Village Talk tuition.
Skype is a great long-distance plan alternative with affordable domestic and international plans. Visit www.skype.com for more info. If you plan to use Skype or another VOIP, please invest in a headset to ensure a clear call for everyone. Make sure you have a good Internet connection for using VOIP. Be sure you know how to adjust your computer’s microphone and headset settings.
NOTE: Participants report having trouble dialing in using Google Voice.
You can also benefit by participating in the 8 Shields Village forum conversations, which simply require a computer for access.
Help & Questions:
Please email VillageTalk (at ) 8shields.org if you have additional questions.
A few common questions:
“What kind of topics are discussed on these calls? How will this series help me on my journey?”
Nature connection and mentoring each represent half of the complete wheel of regenerative, transformational connection.
One without the other will only take a person so far on their journey.
Nature connection topics of the calls are seasonally driven and reach to many aspects of nature connection, and may include:
-Philosophy and core routines of deep nature connection;
-”Shield topics” including: natural hazards, motivating species, mammals and holistic tracking, plants and wandering, indicator species and ecology, heritage species and ancestral patterns, trees and survival/regenerative design, and birds and bird language.
Mentoring aspects of the calls include:
-The philosophy and process of Cultural Mentoring as an aspect of culture repair.
-The Attributes of Connection and their role in the mentoring journey.
-Cultural elements are explored that build deep connection between People, the Earth and larger field of Nature, and personal creativity & Vision.
Both the nature and mentoring topics weave together into a larger pattern of connection through the seasons. Breakout groups and mentoring focus on harvesting the “story of the week” to strengthen your connection experience.
This is a “live” process; topics are chosen to naturally fit the needs of the group, which is part of what makes this series so special.
“Do I have to have previous nature or mentoring experience to join?”
Although everyone is welcome to join who feels called to be part of this connective process, this series is especially suited for those with previous nature connection experience or who wish to truly deepen their understanding of the holistic mentoring process.
The calls delve deeply into chosen topics, and we may return to a given topic many times to look at it and understand it from many different angles. This approach may not be suited to those who are brand new to nature connection and mentoring, but is designed to support a deep process of reflection and observation. That said, we will not turn away anyone who truly wants to be part of the conversation.
The calls provide a chance to share your stories on a regular basis; this process is cumulative, so momentum is gained over time as the experience deepens. This series is about asking good questions together, exploring and being part of an ongoing conversation and process.
The series is a powerful transformative tool for those who have been feeling a real need to share their stories, who seek to find a supportive network of people who care about their journey. We’ve seen how this process helps people to find their voice and their gift over time, all while growing a deeper power as an individual and learning more about the intricacies of mentoring.
An important key is to be able to spend some time each week exploring the connection practices that are given, so that you can actively participate in each week’s conversation (even an hour a week will produce results – more is better of course .
We recommend that you have a copy of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature on hand as a helpful reference.
“Are there ways to continue forward in Village Talk beyond the basic participation?”
Yes, there are often volunteer opportunities available to help out behind the scenes. It is our core volunteer team that is essential to helping the program to flow smoothly. If you have been involved in the series for a while and feel called to put energy towards helping the Village Talk community to thrive, please reach out to our staff to inquire about how you can get involved. Volunteering is a great way to stay connected and over time, to developer deeper mentoring skills.
“Will this program benefit me even if I have been involved in other 8 Shields or related mentoring programs before?”
Yes, definitely. Many participants report feeling a strong boost in motivation and support from these calls to deepen their existing practice of core routines. In fact, that need for creating regular support and motivation was one of the reasons we founded this program. We want to see you succeed in your connection journey, and Village Talk gives you the best tools that we have gathered and the support to do so.
The weekly activities and keynotes will be helpful for you because they complement the materials that are presented in the Art of Mentoring, the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, and other programs, and put them into a seasonal, cyclic context.
There is no substitute for actually going through the process of experiencing deep connection on a regular basis and “getting your feet dirty.”
Remember, mentoring at its best is a long-term process. Getting to hear many different perspectives through the group call environment also adds new understanding and depth to each exercise.
Comments from Participants: