Grow The Grown Ups
With Joanna Watters
A unique family camp spending time in connection with ourselves, each other and the land
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Times: 2 pm Sun. 26th – 4 pm Fri. 31st May
Fees: £920 – £1400 / family (depending on accommodation)
This is glamping rather than camping, in a beautiful yurt village – with showers and toilets and indoor facilities.
During this week, we will take the view that parenting is an honour, a privilege and at the same time a challenge and an invitation to grow. It is brave and courageous work which speaks directly to Embercombe’s mission to kindle the fire for the children of the future. Parenting is direct action for change.
The proverb works both ways: “It takes a village to raise a child.” And “It takes a child to raise a village”. Children who are raised with consciousness and love, who are allowed their feelings and thoughts, who are given helpful loving limits and guidance in how to socialise, are a resource to our communities.
They trust their intuition and their hearts as well as their minds. They expect to love and be loved. They intuitively know when something is out of integrity. These children will be ready to step up as our next leaders to steer our world back on track where it has become imbalanced.
When we are able to witness a child’s natural confidence of being, and listen to the unlimited thinking of their mind, when we can open ourselves to share their moments of delight in simple things, and to hear their emotional pain when hearts close, we adults can be touched, restored and brought back into alignment with our essential trusting and creative nature.
This is not a week about telling you how to parent your child. We will be exploring together the Parenting by Connection model, in particular practising two of the tools: Special Time and Listening Partnerships. For more information on this approach, see http://www.handinhandparenting.org
Is This For You?
Children are very accurate mirrors. Even those of us who are not in any kind of parenting crisis can benefit from support to understand how to navigate family life – how to find the balance between everyone’s needs, how to mature as adults, so that we can parent our children from a wise responsible adult place. When we are reactive towards our children, there is always something for us to face in ourselves.
Grow the Grown Ups Wild gives parents practical and emotional support to do this work. We take away the daily tasks of shopping, cooking, driving, entertaining, earning, emailing for a week so that you can give yourself, each other and your children some quality attention in a simple, natural, supported village environment.
What You Can Expect
- A week of community with like-minded parents and children
- Inspiration and insights into ways to parent
- Time in nature and community
- Respite from daily domestic and work concerns
- A holiday from technology for the whole family
- Guidance to reflect on and realign with core family values
- Family learning, play and fun
Every morning we share simple and fun activities in small groups, so that families can learn and play together. These might include bushcraft, crafts and music, or time spent out in the woods and gardens.
In the afternoons, the adults come together to discuss, listen, learn, share and re-focus on what really matters to you as a parent. The invitation for these sessions is to come to a space where you can focus attention on yourself, relax and review your core values as a parent, identify the trigger points in your parenting and be introduced to, or reminded of, the Parenting by Connection framework and practices that help us to understand and support our children’s and our own emotions.
Parallel to these adult group sessions in the afternoon are well-staffed play and crèche groups, offering safe and engaging activities for all the children.
The crèche is in the room adjoining the adult group space, so that parents of the youngest children can move freely between the crèche and the group work, as their child needs, supporting secure attachment.
The Play team base themselves in the woods and the ethos is to allow the children to experience being in nature without an educational or goal-driven agenda, so these sessions are deliberately child-led and low stimulus.
You will do what works best for you – occasionally parents stay with their child during the afternoon.
Simple ceremony is also an important ingredient of the week. We light a candle as a symbol of the Children’s Fire each time we gather, we have morning meeting circles, optional gratitude circles, an opening and closing ceremony.
On Wednesday afternoon there is no play session or adult session – families are encouraged to spend time on the land. We have singing and informal games and families get involved with pizza making.
There are optional evening gatherings, usually story-telling, with an open mic night on Thursday, which all finish for a 9pm whole camp bedtime.
This is a fully catered programme – we don’t ask parents to get involved with domestics.
Each family is offered a 20 minute individual check-in with our lead facilitator.
I’ve known about Embercombe since Spring 2008 when I was introduced by friends whose children were part of a Steiner school residential. I loved what I found, how Embercombe’s core mission is to grow people, and to strengthen connection to where and how we live, and I felt inspired to bring another strand of work in addition to the already brilliant education work: to specifically and directly support parents with the challenges of parenting, and thereby acknowledge the place of conscious parenting in cutting edge activism.
With the support of others, I devised our Grow the Grown Ups programme, a residential family week specifically developed to support parents of young children into authentic realistic conscious parenting, valuing our connection to ourselves, to each other and to our environment.
Fiona Barnes – Host
For me Embercombe starts with the land and the children:
I love the land and want to be part of it, to know it in greater depth each day – to become ‘reindiginised’ (a new word meaning for people to become reconnected to ‘their’ land).
I feel drawn to care for the animals; to care for them in a way that resonates with me and with Embercombe, i.e. to interact with them through connection…
For the children it’s all about connection. To grow to be healthy adults who can make a difference in our world, they need connection to their adults, themselves and the land. I am committed to a way of being with children that allows them to find themselves. I am interested in bringing the Hand In Hand approach in to our daily lives (with or without it’s title), it provides a solid framework for adults and children to grow.
I feel that my role is part of the development of Embercombe’s work – enabling parents to deepen in their vital work as leaders for their children, for the children to be given the foundation to deepen through their connection to themselves and for the animals to assist in that by being part of our daily lives.
David Smart-Knight – Camp Manager
For 25 years I have asked: “What does it mean to live sustainably?”
This simple question has led me through wildwoods, urban jungles, bramble thickets, and corporate fortresses. I’ve sat high in boardrooms of multinational corporations and crept into the heat of the womb of the sweatlodge, and my conclusion is that, in a world as impoverished as ours now is, “sustainability” is a completely inadequate ambition.
What we actually need is regeneration, and if we are to understand regeneration and create a regenerative culture, we have to work on re-establishing our connection: connection with ourselves, with each other and with nature. I have come to understand that our ability to evolve a benign human presence on this planet is in direct proportion to our ability to connect. Which is why it gives me such pleasure to be able to support this Grow the Grownups programme.
In the wider world beyond Embercombe, I spend my time between my deep-nature connection business, the complexities (and joys) of single-parenting two teenagers, and supporting the Regenerative Culture strand underpinning Extinction Rebellion.
Helen Bourne – Creche Lead
I have always believed in the crucial importance of our early years. This time makes a difference to our relationships and learning for the rest of our lives. At the centre is our parenting.
I have become increasingly passionate about parents and the amazing work that we all do. Parenting is not valued as it should be in our society and there is never enough support.
Our Grow the Grown Ups programme provides an amazing space to enjoy support, play and love in a beautiful and well loved environment.
Upcoming Dates & Booking
We aim for all our courses to be as accessible as possible and if necessary it is possible to arrange for payment by installments.
There are also a limited number of bursary places available for this course at £935 for a family yurt or £460 for a single parent shared yurt on application.
If you have any questions please call +44 (0) 1647 252 983 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Grow The Grown Up's - 26 - 31 May at Embercombe
A deeply held space in which families are able to explore both their inner and outer worlds Beautiful surroundings, beautiful people, beautiful food. Wonderful to see my daughters blossom under the care of so many attentive adults. It’s the first time ever that I have been able to leave them both in the same “kids club” offering at the same time. They came back so happy and proud of their achievements. This is such important work. Parenting is one of the least supported and understood roles in modern life yet it is perhaps the most vital. To be able to connect it with our own personal and spiritual journeys is powerful, healing and necessary if we are to raise the consciousness of our planet. Grow the Grown-Ups gives us that opportunity. Thank you!
Thank you so so much for an extraordinary 5 days. I can’t really find the words to explain what has shifted in our family but it’s huge and so full of love and insight. Many many thanks and deep gratitude for the work you are doing to support all of us to step into the next paradigm . These are extraordinary times and it feels like we are pioneers. I feel a deep well of gratitude at my back from the thousands of ancestors who bought me to this point and who are willing us to open wide and allow all the love that there is into our hearts.
What an extraordinary programme!!! I was bowled over by the care and attention that went into every detail of the week. The quality of the support available to me as a parent from the staff team and the experienced GTGU parents made this a week to remember. I have never known our son to be happier or more relaxed and the play workers (Henry in particular!) gave him the security and confidence he needed to join in the programme and make new friends. I have 25 years experience as a parent of young children yet found there was still so much to learn:) For me, the most significant thing was realising the simple fact that being a parent is the route to growing the hurt child within us all. It felt like a relief to have a chunk of time with your loving support plus that of my listening partners , to ask simple questions of myself and then turn them around into simple, clear realisations that are so simple and obvious NOW!
Thank you for a fab camp again. It is undoubtedly a highlight of our entire year and we cannot wait to the next one! As in the previous year, it’s great to have some host families there. It feels reassuring that there are people holding the space outside of the main circle.
I wanted to write to thank you in a very heart felt way for what felt like a long over due time as a family with other families. I actually find it quite hard to express the importance of our week together… Embercombe and you taught us about leadership, listening and connecting.
Thanks again for an amazing, insightful few days
Without doubt, the best bit was the sense of connection – to my family, to my inner life… and also within myself
For me the most special bit of the camp was the general ease I felt about myself, and my parenting, whilst there in Joanna’s and everyone’s company. I felt able to follow my and my son’s flow with no sense that I was disappointing or challenging anyone. I felt trusted to ‘find my way’ and I thank you in particular for this. Alongside this ‘trusting’ there was also a sense and experience of people caring about us and being there for us in whatever way we needed… practically and emotionally… that’s quite something. I found my connections and LPs quite magical!
I loved EVERYTHING. And my daughter did too, so it’s difficult to be specific. It really struck a good balance between there being enough laid on for us to do together to really connect whilst also being a total eye-opener in terms of the listening partnerships and other workshops with the grown-ups. I’ve never done work like that before, and it was incredible. Yurt was sweet and cosy — we didn’t expect burners or a proper wooden floor! Food was great — there was so much of it too! We both came away from the camp feeling utterly wonderful — and I feel changed for life, actually. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing!
Embercombe feels a very grounded place. I have visited many communities since the 80s and it stands out as sane, healthy, fun and inspiring. I had the impression it was also open to new ideas and endlessly growing, rather than getting too stuck in one groove.
When I read about it I couldn’t quite believe it was being held in the UK. I thought it must be in the States as it sounded too good to be true. There were so many aspects that drew both my partner and me to it: the rich nature of the work being offered, having time without the kids to be able to really focus on our parenting journey, staying in a yurt, being cooked for all week, the kids being able to romp and roam on the land…. Fundamentally for me it was having an opportunity to connect and work with others drawn to this parenting approach, as prior to this I’d felt I was treading a lone road. My expectations were exceeded by the wealth of engagement from the other parents attending and it felt a great privilege to work together with them.
Special time was fabulous, and the focus that it felt was on the children during that time. Each evening, we sat at the campfire. Just before bed every night, Tim came round as part of checking the whole camp. I felt a real sense of being watched over and cared for, from this.
“To be honest, we didn’t know an awful lot about the week before we signed up. I can’t remember if I saw something about it in an article I read, or if it popped up on my Facebook feed, or if possibly even a friend might have mentioned it. But somehow I heard about it, and it sounded wonderful to me: lots of family time, outdoorsy activities for the kids (and parents!), adult-only sessions to delve deeper into this intense and complex work that is parenting, no meals to cook… What more could a busy parent want?” Read more:
We loved all of it! The children loved their time in the woods in the afternoon, we loved the options of the rhythms of Embercombe, the games, the stories, the songs, etc! Food was delicious – loved the freshness of it all.