We have landed. We have looked around at each other and cried in a release of all the emotions, bitter sweetness, anxiety, sorrow, accomplishment, and disbelief… The past two weeks have flown by, filled with de-issue tasks, small group projects, and preparation for the end.
We sustainably managed forest land, ran the farm, put up siding and drywall, built cabinets, supported a bakery, raised up an army of humane trophies, pieced together a deck for future students and staff to eat meals on… We have slowly acclimated ourselves to the “real” world. It seems every time we check back in with society another catastrophe is upon us. I hope the world is capable of reflection and change. If anything, we are returning from semester capable of being catalysts for change if we choose to do so. Change is imminent so why not influence it for the better? In any case we prepare ourselves for separation with a boat-load of emotion and thought: luckily we know how to carry it, at least from the river to the red roofed barn.
The Grand Opening of the new deck made by Elena and Katarina during small group projects!
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to making this experience possible, the staff at Kroka who worked tirelessly to prepare, run, and then continue the semester even when all other schools were closing. The energy and love put into designing the curriculum and all the hours spent with us in the field has not gone unnoticed – this program is what it is because of their commitment. Thank you to all our parents and siblings who supported us in this endeavor and let us leave them for five months with wishes for growth and adventure. Thank you to the Mackenzie Foundation: without their financial support our semester would not have been able to continue after the quarantine. Their help allowed for Kroka to keep paying staff. This brings me to each individual instructor who went out with us into the woods and brought many gifts within them – Jo, Oliver, Zoe, Hannah, Thomas, Misha, Jackie, and Miron. I would especially like to thank Jo who spent all of the five months with us, becoming more than an instructor but part of our family. We will miss you!
~ Sincerely, Oddtree
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End of Semester Manifesto
Our semester believes in racial equality and is committed to not just being bystanders in the Black Lives Matter movement. As we rejoin the larger communities we each belong to, we vow to use our voices and bodies for the ushering in of systematic and social change.
As a semester student, I have learned that a strong community is essential to survival. I have learned that intention combined with action make a difference.
I have learned to take actionable measures towards creation, as well as how to value the gifts that unique individuals bring to a collective community.
I have learned to not only care for myself, but to think of things on a macrocosmic level. I am a piece of a greater puzzle and I understand that my actions, though they seem small, in the big picture cause a ripple effect that can change the world.
I have learned that the time for waiting is over. The time for doing is now.
I have learned to see the need of the whole and live for more than my own needs. I have learned to live with an expedition mentality – thinking about the people at the back of the line and not leaving them behind.
I believe that every human person deserves to live with dignity and strength, every person has a place in this world. And I believe that as a beneficiary of education and privilege I can no longer confine my opinions to the coffee table.
I believe in my own ability to contribute to the reformation of the destructive aspects of human life. I believe that maintaining altruistic will within my actions is the harder but more gratifying path. Active consciousness leads to justice.
I will show up in community organizing, pressure politicians, and examine the US systems and institutions that perpetuate racism.
I commit to actively opposing racist speech instead of staying quiet to gain social capital. I will commit to acting whenever I see an opportunity to improve the lives of those around me in all people.
I will seek the truth and from a position of understanding take direct action, as well as comprehend the fuller picture and take steps in that context as well.
I will commit to educating myself, embracing the discomfort that comes with the newness of action. I will commit to no longer being a passive bystander. I emerge ready to examine myself - my choices, my biases and my privilege.