Ecodharma, a Triratna retreat centre in the Catalan Pyrenees, has established a new bursary fund to enable young people to take part in nature connection retreats. Awards are available from April this year to attend both the Ecodharma Wildcamp and the Meeting the Wild retreat.
The Centre’s nature-based practice series is a core strand of its work. “Ecodharma is all about connection,” explains Centre Director Guhyapati. “Living in times characterised by alienation, we see much of our work as about reconnection and supporting people to become more deeply integrated. We focus on three dimensions of connection underpinning healthy and creative human life: connecting people to people – the social dimension; connecting people to themselves – the inner dimension; and connecting people to nature.”
While the courses themselves are open to people of any age, the Nature Connection Bursary for Young People is aimed at those between 18 and 25. “These kinds of trainings can have a powerful impact on young people,” says Guhyapati. “They often incorporate rites of passage: Meeting the Wild culminates in a three-day solo period out in the wilds. We have seen just how transformative these experiences can be.”
The courses are already very popular with younger people, but the bursary will make them more accessible to those unable to attend for economic reasons.
Ecodharma’s nature-based programme has been running successfully for several years now. The key courses have been the longer retreats such as Meeting the Wild and the Wanderers’ Retreat, both of which have a strong meditative dimension. This year sees the addition of the week-long Ecodharma Wildcamp.
“The Wildcamp is more of a training than a retreat,” explains Guhyapati. “We really want to equip people with a range of tools that will enable them to develop a life-long practice of deepening nature connection. We are focusing on teaching and training in the ‘core routines’ of nature connection, which include observation skills, tracking, and basic survival bushcraft.”
Guhyapati will be joined by Dharmacharini Subhachitta, and by Caspar Brown from the Wildfire team, whose speciality is bushcraft and primitive skills.
Application deadline: 30th April 2014 for courses starting May 2014.