Join Running Wild
and be part of a community of families at SMWS dedicated to getting outside and into the wilds on a regular basis.
Running Wild is modeled after the Family Nature Club idea introduced in Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods and promoted through the Children & Nature Network. Much of the research and suggestions that Louv discusses in his book parallel the philosophy of Waldorf and the ideals of families raising children in the Boulder area. If you’re interested, this page has a video and more details about the Louv’s Family Nature Club concept.
This isn’t like a playgroup, play date, or a day camp. We are outside with an interest in recreating the type of nature experiences and free play that occurred more naturally and frequently in our childhood, and our parents’ childhood. There are not always strict rules, for example, the group does not always stay together if a number of children wish to go off in a different direction. People sometimes arrive late and sometimes leave early. During unstructured nature play, the goal is to step away and allow the children to interact without adult involvement and without an agenda or set of goals besides “being there”. Events such as group hikes, camping, and boating tend to be structured slightly differently with more of an adult agenda but still time for children to enjoy independent play. In any case, children are not dropped off and left: parents need to be with their child and are responsible for them. This is something that both parents can attend, or one parent, or you can alternate. There are not any age restrictions or fees at this time. This may change as we start to do more intensive activities that require gear, permits, training, etc.
My interest in starting a Family Nature Club was primarily to increase how much time my children spend outdoors. It began with a few local families from SMWS Kindergartens. We began very small, as an experiment in spring of 2015, and organized events about twice a month, sometimes less. When school started up again in the fall, I invited all of the families from SMWS first grade class to join the group and started organizing events consistently two times a month. After a very warm and positive response in the fall, I decided to start planning events once a week, every Sunday. Sometimes our events draw just a few families, and sometimes we manage to have a much larger group. Our largest attended event was with 25 folks, including parents and children.
Right now I’m organizing group events geared towards 3 to 7 year-olds, so my daughter, Nyla age 7, and son, Silas age 3, can participate. The events are typically Sundays starting at 9 AM or 10 AM. I understand starting early isn’t for everyone but it tends to work well for the majority of folks and there’s many events that you can arrive to later and enjoy all the same. My hope is that this group grows with our children, and as the children grow up so too our activities may change. I grew up rafting, skiing and snow caving in the winters, and hiking and backpacking all year round. While Boy Scouts played a big role in my life back then, I’m curious about creating a group that both my daughter and son can be a part of together. As the children grow older, our events are becoming adventures into wilderness and the wilds. So while the original intention was to find places very close to Boulder, such as open space, trails, greenbelts, and pockets of wilderness in the urban setting, we’re now starting periodically to venture deeper into the mountains. In the future years, I hope to expand to international locations!
In some cases, there are events that I am not able to attend. Rather than cancel events, we have been fortunate to have other parents who are part of the club assume the leadership for those events. This has allowed us to maintain a regular schedule of awesome events throughout the year and seasons. Lastly, we also sometimes do multi-club events with other nearby Family Nature Clubs.
The club is free and run as a private Facebook group. If you’re interested in joining, use this form to contact me or email me directly and I’ll send you the two steps to get started. I’d love to have you join us!