You know the saying...
...one door closes, another one opens
We've all heard it, yeah? And cliche as it might be, gee it's true. Or at least it certainly has been in my experience!
I've already mentioned about the burnout that hit me last year (here and here) and I'm not going to keep going on about it, but that really was a turning point for me. It was the catalyst for me to steer myself back on course, reassess everything and metaphorically close some doors.
That's what was needed for me to gain a fresh perspective and it was honestly only a matter of days before I woke up one morning to a message.
It was from Jason Tyndall, Manager of Nature Play SA. He'd read my piece in Taproot :: SHARE Issue 20 and was wondering if I'd be interested in meeting and talking further about some exciting plans they had on the horizon.
BAMMM!!!! Another door opened! And it was one so aligned with who I am, how I choose to live and the way I strive to parent. It's like the Universe was just waiting for me to figure it out! I love that! It's that undeniable confirmation that things are back on course and I totally get that this level of thinking is not everyone's deal but as I said in this post way, way, waaay back, 'make of that what you will, we all find our own courage through our unique belief systems' (and here's a random point to note... I wrote that post 11 days (!!!) after Tuck died! Spins me out when I reread stuff from those early days and I am so glad I wrote them because it reminds me of how far I've come). Anyhoo...
I was already familiar with Nature Play SA and the amazing work their small team manages to achieve, but reading statements like this...
...we work tirelessly to bring the magic, imagination, joy, curiosity and wonder back to the childhood of today.
Well, really, it was a no-brainer for me to accept Jason's invitation.
That first meeting held so much more than shop talk. There was Life talk! Good quality, rich, meaningful, authentic, absolute alignment, Life Talk. And that's just how it is meant to be. Eight or so months later, those 'exciting plans' that were on the horizon are now unfolding and coming to fruition, while even more plans are being formulated for the future.
It is very worth taking the time to read their full story, but in a nutshell, from starting up in 2014 with a tiny team of two, yet attracting a promising 100 people to their first event, that has now grown to a team of eight and now attracts over 7,000 participants to sell-out events across SA! They are a not-for-profit organisation who, after the first three years of government funding, are now stepping out on their own as an NGO. The current team continues to grow (positions available) and smash their goals through burning passion and unwavering dedication. They are hands-down the greatest, most fun and most supportive crew I have ever had the pleasure to work with, and they truly live and breathe their vision...
...to make outdoor play in nature an everyday part of childhood
Which brings me to the details of those 'exciting plans', well those that have been unveiled at any rate.
Last October saw the launch of the all new Nature Play SA Collective with the roll out of the Educators Membership. Then in December last year, it was followed by the launch of the Families Membership. Being a not-for-profit NGO, these memberships are now the main source of funding and with so many different packages to choose from there is a membership perfectly suited to every family or educator, from principals to relief teachers, homeschoolers, Uni students and families of all shapes and sizes.
My involvement has been with the Families Membership which gives access to an online portal; a true treasure trove loaded with nature play ideas, downloads, videos, podcasts, activities and endless inspiration! Up on the portal now is the first bundle of several tutorials, including one by yours truly offering steps for creating your own Story Stones. Soon it will be joined by the next collection of tutorials, which will be released in time for Easter and includes my contribution for natural Egg Dyeing.
Then there's their brand new print mag; Wild Ones - a nature play magazine for everyday families, which is included with every tier of Family Membership and published biannually, based upon the seasons; Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter.
It's the most beautiful magazine. And just to give you a sense of what you can expect... imagine a finely curated blend of meaningful stories, knowledgeable articles and engaging family friendly craft activities, plus nature based life-cycle pullouts with Jason's very own watercolour illustrations! All nestled within paper stock and print quality that has been environmentally and consciously selected, and offers superior results with a beautifully smooth finish. Jason is a professional photographer as well as a very talented artist and it is his images which richly grace the pages and front cover of Wild Ones. The mag holds three sections; Knowledge and Storytelling, Rhythms and Change, Home and Family.
This first issue offers thoughts on outdoor play, homegrown carrots (plus a great dip recipe), gardening alongside your child/ren, watercolour painting, lavender play dough... oh man, there's just so much good stuff inside! And there's a piece from me all about the significance of 'Turning Five'. It's a milestone birthday in our family and one which invites a meaningful gift. If you've been visiting here for a while, you may remember the Explorer's Satchel I put together for Noah's fifth birthday..? Well two and a half years later, I've now written close to 1000 words on why and how that gift came to be and you can find that story in the opening pages of this first issue.
Right now there is plenty of behind-the-scenes work going on to get Issue 2 ready for it's release next month, so stay tuned for all the goods on that when it happens. And just in case you miss it when perusing their website... they have an online shop!!! Fair warning though... your cart will be loaded in no time ;)
Happy week ahead friends and lots of love xo