July 11, 2013

Philosophy Camp in the news

The Minneaoplis Star Tribune ran a very nice article on Philosophy Camp 2013 in the July 10, 2013 issue (http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/214794541.html)
with great photos and a video online. Education reporter Jenna Ross and photographer David Joles visited us at Shalom Hill Farm on the first weekend of camp and stayed overhight to participate in a story circle and get the feel of students' experiences in the "Lives Worth Living" and "Catching Lives Worth Living" courses.

Readers who are interested in learning more about next year's courses are encouraged to email pcamp@umn.edu to request information with regular updates on the 2014 offering as soon as it is available.

Posted by engl8813 at 11:59 AM · 2013

May 19, 2008


I feel excitement and anticipation surging in me by the time the informational meeting ends for Philosophy Camp 2008. Almost everyone associated with Philosophy Camp 2008 has come together in the same place at the same time to meet each other face-to-face and connections and energy have already begun to build among us. Around the table were members of the instructional team, John, Joanne, Lynn, Nance, and Peter; our able apprentice instructors, Aaron and Amanda; many of the adventurous "fellows" who will stay with us for a week at a time to learn with us and participate in our work; and, most importantly, the students enrolled in Philosophy Camp 2008, otherwise known as Philosophy 4326--Lives Worth Living: Questions of Self, Vocation, and Community at the University of Minnesota.

This year, as in every year, the students and fellows who select themselves for the Philosophy Camp experience seem to be so interesting! I am eager to see them arrive at the farm between noon and 1:00 pm on Tuesday, May 27, our first day of class. The excitement and enthusiasm that meeting them has generated will carry me through the work of packing up the many supplies and belonging that make the trip with us to support the course. It's all part of an important transition from the life that I have lived during the academic year as a lecturer in family, youth, and community courses at the University of Minnesota, and the very different teaching-learning environment that we create and jump into the moment the students arrive next Tuesday. Follow along with posts to the blog to read about our highs and lows as we reflect on the big and small of what makes life worth living and live out the relationships and daily tasks that puts into practice what we believe.


Posted by engl8813 at 7:59 PM

May 31, 2007

Just a day

Last night was the first night I've failed to blog. I'd just been up far too late to write anything.

Today started off a little alarmest, but everything chilled down once we got to talking with the students. We had a nice easy learning circle after a community meeting. Lynn had been worried that we wouldn't have enough food for lunch, but Sondra, confident in her team's abilities, quelled all fears, and today's lunch turned out to be a great one.

I don't feel like I accomplished much today. I did have a wonderful three-hour nap. I also learned a lot of sewing machine basics from Sandra, and cut my hair (Kristen trimmed up the back afterwards for me). There was a nice, spontaneous assembly of people in the kitchen- singing and conversation (now that I think about it, people were attracted in by Sondra and Nathan's cookies).

In-all, a nice, low key day for me, despite some hard anxiety at the very start.


Posted by poth0018 at 12:42 AM · Holding the Space

May 29, 2007

Token Blog Post

Today there was nothing scheduled during our potentially free times, and that was nice. Kelly led a how to embroider patches session, and I started on an impossible triangle. I can remember doing something like that once in grade school (a dragon, very poorly), but not since. I'm excited to finish this one.

Started making a kite, too. I wanted to make a kite designed for ridiculously strong wind- the kind that Lynn won't fly in for fear of damaging her kites- only to find out that Lynn's box kite can fly in this weather. Oh well.

I feel like my having not tied up all the loose ends with the picture archieving is actually hurting the students now that this picture and text project is due tomorrow. I have to keep telling myself that I've had to work under far worse systems.

I think that's enough to count as an entry for tonight.

Posted by poth0018 at 2:46 AM · Holding the Space

May 27, 2007


At philosophy camp, Sunday is the only day we get off, and we get it off from 8 pm Saturday until 7 pm Sunday, because we're hardcore like that.

So my weekend started at eight today, and boy is it nice. I am gratefully looking forward sleeping without an alarm clock tonight. I'm pretty curious what time I'll wake up- will the sun and clamor of fun awake me? I've had to wake up an hour before the students do, so I don't know. Will I naturally wake up around my normalized 8 am alarm? Will I sleep through 3:30 dinner preparations my earliest and only (voluntary) obligation?

Adam's birthday is tomorrow, and there have been a few preparations. It should be fun. Happy birthday Adam!

Well, I'm to bed; to all a goodnight,

Posted by poth0018 at 2:01 AM · Holding the Space

May 26, 2007

Working, sharing, and napping

Tonight is the first night I don't really want to write a blog entry. But I'm still really proud of doing it nightly, and I know that it's much easier for me if I don't break the pattern.

Today I was in a total of five hours of instructor meetings: one hour for our daily 8 am before the students wake up, two hours of fellow debriefing, and two hours going over students' "How I hope to grow" papers. I really had no idea how much effort the instructors put into this seemingly effortless class.

The learning circle topic today, think of a time when you experienced a shift in hope, was pretty intense. A lot of emotion, a lot of deep/difficult stories. It was good. It remains to be seen whether the deep openness bonded us together more.

I also managed to catch a nice hour long nap before dinner. They let me sleep past the beginning of dinner, so after I was woken up I think I let myself fall asleep again. I got to dinner about fifteen minutes late, after a second student had been sent to wake me up.


Posted by poth0018 at 1:39 AM · Holding the Space

May 25, 2007

Inside or Out?

First, a thought from yesterday.

I was in the studio, and there were two students there with me, Ben and Oren. Ben was working a book binding (of the sort I had done only the day before), and Oren was working on a computer task that I should have been totally on top of. Part of the reason I'm an apprentice is to help out in the studio when Nance can't, and I was trying. The lesson was that I have grossly underestimated Nance's work. Even if I had been only trying to help one of them, I don't think I could have done so well as I've seen Nance do for half a dozen students. I'm especially admiring Nance's ability to guide students through a project in a way so that they do everything themselves, but without many avoidable mistakes, and learn the process. I'm studying my memories of Nance and I'll be trying to apply them throughout the course in an effort to become better at teaching.

Now, about Adam in particular, but the course in general.

Adam clearly has the potential to destroy me as an apprentice instructor. His wonderful discussions could keep me up way too late every night; he could just bank on his extra instructor-meeting-free hour of rest and drive me to the brink of sleep-deprived insanity. That's to say nothing of distracting me from my duties as an apprentice instructor, whatever those are. His opinions are consistently on the positions I both disagree with and respect the most, and he doesn't let me get away with a thing I don't want to.

And sleep is clearly becoming an issue. It seems like sleep is a place you can cut back on to miss less at philosophy camp. That is only true to a point: after that point, sleep will clutch you at the times you most want to be apart of the waking world. I'm already starting to drift off at important moments- moment I don't want to miss. Tomorrow is Friday, hopefully the weekend will bring me opportunities to sleep without missing much.

Speaking of sleep...


Posted by poth0018 at 3:13 AM · Holding the Space

May 24, 2007

Seems like I'll need to prioritize sleep soon.

Today was a lot of fun. The instructors decided that we could use an easier day, so they didn't schedule anything in the evening, which meant that we got to schedule informal things for the first time.

I got to start a read-aloud group with Kelly, Ben, John, and Laura. We read two stories from Welcome to the Monkey House, switching readers every page and John read a poem. Changing readers that often was interesting- it's more often than I'd choose, but then the stories were short and I kind of liked the way it pulled everyone in the group in. It also seemed like every time the book was passed the timing was either appropriate or suspenseful.

The reading group was quickly followed by a bon fire. S'mores, discussion, continuous music, played with photography in the poor light a lot. I hate using the flash on people. I got a lot of cool lighting effects from the fire (and even more completely useless shots), pictures of the fire, pictures of the fire reflected in people's glasses, and had some fun with Ben playing with 15 second exposure, darkness, and glowing embers.

The bon fire went late, but the spawned discussion went later- back to the library, where we talked until three.

And I smell like campfire, so I definitely have to make time to take a thorough shower in the morning before the instructor meeting.

On the note of being short on sleep I leave you,

Posted by poth0018 at 3:08 AM · Holding the Space

May 23, 2007


Nance left for home shortly after I walked out of the studio to meet with Ashley about her paper. Sorry to not give Nance one last hug before she left. Our thoughts and good wishes go with you, Nance.

Ashley seems excited about the possibilities that are opening up for her. She will be fun to watch throughout the course. I enjoyed being a student last year and getting a feel for that role. This year is even more fun. I love the team I'm on.

During journaling time I finished my first book for this year, so as usual, I'm late at getting to the next task: journaling. It is strange to be in the building when it is so quiet. Almost everyone is here somewhere, but I don't hear or see anyone from where I'm sitting in the dining hall. The grocery team has headed to town, Lynn and Shanti are setting up the photo web page, and Chris is walking the halls looking lost. (3:30 PM). Which is better -- overscheduled or open time?


Posted by joyful@hopework.org at 3:04 PM

First full day

So it's day two, and I had to think really hard about which day it is. Either we fit more into the days here than I'm used to, or I just can't count to two.

I woke up minutes before the instructor meeting today (more time than I'm used to). We did a circle of concerns (more positive than that makes it sound), agreed on a learning circle topic, discussed the "how I want to grow" assignment, re-examined the circle topic in light of the "how I want to grow" topic, past 8:45, then quickly decided all those things, assigned instructors student advisees, and put away breakfast before the 9:00 acknowledgment circle.

The learning circle topic was on a place that is significant to you (those of you not at camp are welcome to write a comment in which you dig back into your memory and tell a story about a place that has significance to you, where you felt nurtured, where you are noticed). There was some enthusiastic cross talk at the end, but it didn't touch on the blurb I was the most stricken by: in John's story, he planted some trees, then goes back later and describes the trees as being over fifty years old. There are fifty year old trees that he's planted. he can say, "I have planted trees that are fifty years old." Wow. Somehow, considering a tree that's fifty years old inspires respect for the tree. I don't tend to think of pentagenarians as weathered, strong, or even as experienced as I think of a fifty-year-old tree. I should try to (well, more so than a tree). The event made me search back in my memory for the earliest tree I can claim to have planted. I should keep track of it, so that I can sooner say, "I have planted a tree that is fifty years old."


Posted by poth0018 at 1:30 AM · Holding the Space