Join us this Saturday, October 7 for a film fundraiser: Jacques, Documentary screening and discussion with the filmmaker. Bellows Falls Opera House at 6:30PM. CLICK HERE for more info.

FALL 2022 LEGENDS OF THE SOUTHWEST BLOG #1

It has been a wild, fast-paced, and incredible first week here at Kroka. From the time we arrived here just seven days ago we have managed to run, swim, bike, write, work, cook, talk and laugh our way into a community. The speed at which we gained comfort with each other, our leaders and our new home and life is truly astounding.

13 people, from all walks of life and corners of the globe, brought together, to some extent, under one common goal: live life to the fullest.

From the moment they arrived, Semester students coalesced

Living life to the fullest is part and parcel of life at Kroka, so, by way of a demonstration, here is an average day at basecamp:

5:45 AM Wake Up

6:00 AM Warm Up. This is almost always yoga with a staff member. It is a great way to start our day and it really wakes us up and gets us ready to tackle the day.

6:30-8:00 Morning chores. Kroka is a very large campus and there is much work that goes into making it such a wonderful space for learning and growing. This is the time of day when we are able to help with some of these tasks. We choose one out of a dozen or so chores–from cooking breakfast or milking the Fern the cow, to splitting wood and cleaning campus spaces–and stick with that chore for a week until switching things up.

8:00-9:00 Breakfast and Sit-spots. Sit-spots are a place in the woods where we go each and every morning to journal about the previous days events as well as to observe and enjoy the forest. It is a great time to meditate, do some extra yoga, climb a tree, and have solo time before the day gets underway.

9:00-9:20 Morning meeting. We gather back together to share some artwork or a journal prompt from our sitspot and to receive instructions about the rest of the day.

9:30-11:00 Main lesson. This is our large academic block for the day. We have class with one of our instructors or often a guest teacher. These lessons range from ecology to hydrology, navigation to geology, history to regenerative agriculture…the list goes on. On Tuesday we had a lesson with Nathan where we discussed how to determine the angle of the sun at noon for different points on the globe, the Azimuth and Zenith of the sun and how to use a compass! The large variety of subjects is enjoyable and and keeps us on our toes as to what we will learn next.

Tricia and Jackie, the lead Semester instructors

11:00-11:30 Snack and transition. This is a time for us to grab a bite to eat, chat and generally relax before fitness.

11:30 -12:30 Fitness. This is our daily exercise block. Many of the activities that we do here at Kroka, specifically our expeditions, are very physically intensive. Hence, we need time to build our strength and become better athletes. During this time we either bike, run or swim.

12:30-2:00 Lunch, showers, independent work and relaxing. Aaaah, this is our relaxation time! We eat, shower and finish up on any outstanding work or projects. It is so nice to have this time every day to talk and get to know each other better.

Power pyramid, ready for a week of paddling

2:00-5:00 Afternoon block. What we do during this time varies. Sometimes we do more academics, work on the farm, do service work, or, as during the last few days, work on our Big Jobs.

Big Jobs are an integral part of each semester and how well we function as a group, both at basecamp and on expedition. We each get a different Big Job which is our responsibility and ours alone. This means that when one member of the group does their big job well, it takes a lot of stress off of the other members, because they know that, for instance, they don’t need to pack food for a trip or restock the toothpaste tube. We have been learning how to do our big job properly over the past few days during the afternoon block. 

Big Jobs:
Food managers: Naima and Aidan
Hygiene & Medic: Chloe
Kitchen manager: Zach
Scribe & Academics: Owen(me!)
Navigation and logistics: Prema
Gear: Hannah and Jack
Van, trailer & water manager (i.e. vannager): Yaara
Camp manager: Liam
Recycling, magic  & sweep: Jaimini
Sewing and repairs: Angelina
Energy & fire: Anna

From top left: Chloe, Liam, Aidan, Jack, Jaimini, Yaara, Zach, Owen, Angelina, Prema, Hannah, Naima and Anna

5:15-6:15 Study hall. This is generally a catch up period for all other missing work or incomplete projects we may have. Sometimes, however, we essentially have another main lesson during this time.

6-7:30 Dinner. Also time for us to relax and socialize before bed.

7:30-9:00 Evening activity and evening meeting. This is time for a guest to come in and do something fun with us. The last few nights we have a had a singing workshop! Evening meeting is when we reflect on the day, share gratitudes, ask any questions we may have and, finally, go to sleep.

As you can see, life here at Kroka is very full. There is a lot of work but there is also a little relaxation and much fun. It is a great balance between pushing really hard to run another lap or finish your project, and also laughing and enjoying life. However, as I write about this separation between work and play, something feels wrong.

The magic of living this way, simply and to the fullest, is that the boundary between work and play starts to fade away until it is gone all together.

Yes, we may resent that last lap of running a little, but at the end of the day, we see that we enjoyed the challenge, enjoyed the adversity. It truly is a glorious thing.

So, dear reader, that’s all for now! We leave on a paddling expedition tomorrow morning and when we return, you can expect another post.

Until then, live life to the fullest!

Your scribe, 

Owen