Born out of the COVID-19 lockdown, The Birch Collective is developing two core offers for 18-25 year olds in need of support and connection during this challenging time:
- Online ‘Nature Connection Tools for Resilience’ programmes
- Residential Rites of Passage programmes
Both are designed to support young people to deepen their relationship with the natural word as a source of resilience in uncertain times.
The first utilises the opportunities the internet provides as a means for young people to connect with themselves, each other and the world around them – particularly those who face significant barriers to face-to face engagement. The online course explores natural arts, foraging, group dynamic work, mindfulness, meditation and nature writing, amongst other practices inspired by the work of Jon Young, Bill Plotkin and Joanna Macey.
The rites of passage camps offer a chance for the Birch community who have met online to come together to deepen their understanding of how to resource themselves for life, how the natural world can support them and to consider how they will take this experience into the world beyond the programme.
Through offering these opportunities for young adults to connect with the world around them on a deeper level, we hope to inspire a renewed sense of agency at this transitional time in their lives. We also hope to inspire a new approach to change making in their communities, one that is seen as a symbiotic relationship of reciprocity, with care, support and stewardship at its core. We aim to disrupt negative thought patterns and assist young adults to create positive habits that support long term wellbeing so participants are poised to be active and connected members of their communities. By working alongside key players in this sector we hope to further imbed nature connection based practice into the core of youth mental health provision.
Mary, a 21 year old participant in our pilot online course, summed up her experience nicely by saying:
“I’m feeling happier… I’m enjoying seeing nature in a different way and feeling part of a community.”
Our website is in development, more to come soon!