Step off the bus and into a forest full of mysteries and adventures
AdventureScouts is an ongoing development program for youth to learn Wilderness Thriving and Awareness, Folk Skills and Lore, Swordsmanship, Performance Art and Natural History using mythical play, story and Educational Live Action Role Play (EduLARP) to make learning valuable skills exciting.
Kids learn best through engaging play and interactive challenges. AdventureScouts will complete tasks and demonstrate skills to earn Marks of Achievement and advance in rank. Our mission is to build lasting community and intimate connection to the natural world while adventuring and questing in the wilds.
It is our goal to provide a place for youth to meet strong mentors, build lasting bonds of friendship, learn valuable life skills, connect with the wilds, and build strength of character.
AdventureScouts are guided by our qualified Guild Mentors, and with the help of parents, volunteers, and community members, they receive encouragement to pursue their individual interests, gaining knowledge through activities and challenges. As children discover themselves and become responsible and ethical young adults in their community through achievement and service, AdventureScouts develop a sense of belonging, giving them confidence to face the many challenges along the path to adulthood.
Family and community participation is a significant and required component of Adventure Scouts. Parents and Guardians, along with important people in the Scouts life, will be asked to take part in weekend adventures and at home tasks to help them earn their Marks of Achievement.
Adventure Scouts is not a Wilderness Therapy program, and is not intended to provide therapeutic support or counseling for those in need of psychological help. Our Scout Mentors are deeply skilled in the process of soul exploration. Even those who may have formal training as therapists or mental health providers are not hired to engage in that practice out on the trail. Individuals struggling with emotional or psychological dynamics may find that a trip like this stimulates their underlying issues beyond the ability to manage them, and the trip and the guides are not hired to provide support in such situations. If you have concerns about this, especially if you are working with a therapist or counselor, we highly recommend you discuss your situation with us before registering for Adventure Scouts. We want to make sure that this program is a good match for your current situation and capability.
Meet the Mentors
Natalia Brightwood is an Environmental Educator and Mentor who has dedicated her life and career to Wilderness Protection and Education, with a passion for guiding and mentoring personal connections to the Earth.
Natalia began learning about wild edible plants, the magic of the outdoors, all the creatures and the fae who live there, as a young girl with her grandmother in Suquamish, Washington. It was through her grandmother that a strong connection with wild places inspired her and opened the door to her life's work.
Natalia studied environmental Biology, Chemistry, and Geology of the Pacific Northwest and began work as an activist for the Washington Wilderness Coalition.
Motherhood fostered a realization that something was missing from the education of our youth. Natalia studied to become an Environmental Educator at Trackers Earth in Portland, Oregon, worked with Tracks and Tales in Duvall, Washington, and Adventure Quest in Bellingham, Washington.
Versed in Coyote Mentoring through the Wilderness Awareness School, she founded WildWise - A School of Outdoor Adventure, and has been teaching and mentoring children and young adults for fourteen years.
She is a Wilderness First Responder, formally trained in Tidelands to Timberline Natural History, and Restoring Rites of Passage for Youth.
Natalia is also a Land Steward with the Jefferson Land Trust.
Natalia's hobbies include Herbalism, Ancestral Studies, Anthropology, Activism, Hiking and Camping, Backpacking, Pathfinder Gaming, Rites of Passage, Cultural Reclamation, and spending time with her family. She is married, a mother of three, and lives in Kingston, Washington.
Natalia hopes to always continue learning, and one day be the world's most awesome Grandma.
Melissa Bell has been a WildWise Mentor since 2019. With strengths in community connection, implementation, and as a compassionate conversationalist, the teaching of WildWise's core curriculum of awareness, kindness and respect, gifts Melissa an opportunity to continually mentor students in achieving life skills, presence of place through nature connection and the importance of exploration, observation and the power of learning that helps bring balance to the human dynamic in individual and mixed-aged settings.
Prior to WildWise, Melissa was a dedicated stay at home mama for Vayu and Sequoia who are, in turn, the directional beacons that lead her to becoming a part of the WildWise Family. Melissa's strengths, as an employee and mentor, are cultivated from a life of vast experiences. She was born in Southeast Florida with strong roots in New England. Growing up between the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean with occasional seasonal travel, Melissa got an early taste for adventure and enjoyed experiencing the uniqueness of people and place.
Raised in a family of educators, Melissa knew from a young age there was something about creating intentional space and helping others. She has always found herself in jobs of service, with her most influential being an elementary school custodian for consecutive summers from age 14 through high school.
Solid work ethic is foundational for Melissa, as well as firm handshakes, eye contact and PLAY, and she credits a lot of her upbringing for exemplifying this.
Her deep appreciation for the human experience is derived from limitless mentors in her life, grit & gratitude, laughter & tears, travel, living various places, exposure to different cultures, working on a family run orchard, body surfing and free diving, breathwork and slack-lining, over 2 decades of studying and practicing, leading and teaching yoga, harnessing the art of listening, mamahood, relationships, Rites of Passage apprenticeship, aspiring Wilderness guide work, spiritual voyaging, alone time, a current, integrative journey with family illness and THIS WORK that she has been both invited and called to.
In Melissa's ever becoming, she has learned that understanding comes from experience, finding relatable, repetitive moments with children create openings, that teaching to learn is learning to teach, there is value in stillness and in leading by example and when our children demonstrate integrity: kindness, awareness, respect, honest effort (over outcome), trustworthiness, humility and self regulation/care, compliments make a magical difference.
Pan is native to the peninsula, and grew up on a little homestead nestled in the foothills of the Olympics against a thousand acres of timberland. He spent his childhood in endless fascination with the wild world around him, climbing trees, playing with knives, and learning to speak bird. He never seems to have had his curiosity stolen away.
Pan studied, Mythology, Geography, Ethnobotany, Creative writing, and Physics at the Evergreen state college, earning his BA in 2017. He also cultivated a surprisingly resilient business there, teaching children and poor college students how to fight with foam weaponry. As a starving college student himself he discovered that he could turn the botany he was learning towards saving money on groceries. Resultingly he came away with some mastery in swordfighting and wildcrafting, two skills he never ever expected to put together.
Pan had also long fostered his skills as a storyteller, both as a performer and as Game Master in the tabletop roleplaying arena. Creating worlds and game mechanics to fit his endless imagination, he has consistently hosted adventures since he was fourteen and the AD&D campaign he was part of fell through, forcing him to step up into the storyteller's chair. So when Pan received an email in the summer of 2018 asking for someone who: "Has role playing experience, knows plants, is good with kids, and can sword fight," he couldn't help but be intrigued. One thing led to another and Pan is now delighted to be doing the most important thing he can imagine, making sure our newest generation don't have their wonder stolen away.