Our Apprenticeship Program is targeted toward developing instructor level proficiency in Primitive Skills and Outdoor Education. This three phase professional program provides the opportunity for immersion in skill development, educational strategies, and community building. In addition to learning how to re-integrate with the landscape, we’ll share, through guided experiences, what it takes to become leaders in the field of out door education. We train mentors, Maine Guides, and current as well as future primitive skills and outdoor instructors. Both the residential and non-residential apprenticeship programs include three months of course programming in addition to Apprentice specific programs, mentoring, and opportunities to assist in teaching. The days can be tiring, exhilarating, riddled with mosquitoes, or filled with joy, but they are always real and there is always growth in one’s self. The hard skills and soft skills of our collective ancestry serve to increase your awareness, self-confidence, overall abilities and much more.
This is a place of explosive growth for those willing to invest themselves. Apprentices learn and then live the skills they are taught. What you will also develop is the perspective of someone who knows their vision path and strengthens that part of them that seems to flounder in the modern construct. If you want to track, learn plants, increase your awareness, get fire off the landscape, or rediscover yourself outside the expectations and demands of your current situation, we invite you to take the next step in the process. This usually means setting up a day where you can come to the school, meet the instructors, even experience a part of a class you have interest in and/or haven’t yet attended.
There are currently two different seasonal residential programs. The Spring-Summer Residential Apprenticeship runs April 29th until July 15. The Summer-Fall Apprenticeship runs from Augusta 5th to October 21st. Non-residents may stay up to three weeks at a time provided they are attending courses during each of those three weeks. In between classes are opportunities to work on skills with residential participants. Non residential apprentices are also expected to share in the duties of community life while at the school.
We are searching for passionate learners who have a desire to share skills with others. Preference is given to applicants who have completed a five day course prior to applying for apprenticeship. Before acceptance, candidates will be requested to:
1. Fill out and submit the Application and Interview Questions before January 15th
2. Visit or Telephone Interview
3. Submit tuition deposit(s) of 50% ($1,200.00) by February 21st.
4. Have tuition paid in full by April 29th.
visit the school for an interview. International students have been accepted in the past, and can arrange a phone interview if unable to visit the school. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis but it is strongly recommended to submit your application and interview questions before December 15th. Deposits are required by February 21st to reserve a space.
Our Apprentice Potluck is the opening event for the Apprenticeship Program. Students are encouraged to invite family and friends to this event. For residents the Inventory Semi-Survival Trip is the Day after potluck. Orientation week is also mandatory for residential apprentices and highly recommended for non-residential apprentices.
Assessment For Course Work:
Journal, Peer Review, and Performance Assesments
We use benchmarks and performance indicators in the field to assess student competency and understanding. Records of a students progress and assessments are compiled in to a comprehensive portfolio. This portfolio consists of three components; student journals, finished projects, and accomplishments in the field known as “benchmarks”.
Individual growth and accomplishments in necessary skill sets are the centerpiece of our learning and sharing model. These skills are essential in developing professional outdoor educators, guides, and competent leadership in the field.
Students keep a daily logbook during the program to record what they’ve done. These, along with crafts they’ve made, projects they’ve worked on, photographs they’ve taken, and everything else they’ve done during the program, are assembled into individual student portfolios.
Your portfolio is a factual record of what you’ve done. If, as a common example, someone were to ask if you knew how to start a hand drill fire, instead of saying you took a course on how to do it you could volunteer your journal and state that you’ve done it “X” number of times. If they wanted to know about your skill with a specific craft, you could show it to them, as well as photos or video of you making it.
Your portfolio includes your journals, finished projects (such as bows, snow shoes, knives, primitive pottery, etc) and important benchmarks in skills development (such as bow drill fire off the landscape with stone tools). Your portfolio also includes other writings such as blog posts, crafts, photographs, plant pressings, and anything else you do during the program. By viewing your portfolio anyone should be able to determine exactly what you’ve done and what your qualifications are.
Your student journal is a public document that serves as a factual record of what you’ve accomplished which you can use as proof of your experience and accomplishments. The student journal is not a personal diary. It is a compendium of skills development through direct experience in an immersive environment. It can include the how-to information and personal experiences that mark growth in skill development and understanding during your course. Written well, it serves as a guide to the skills learned and experience gained and can be viewed by anyone wishing to determine your level of skill and training.
We provide instruction and a culture that encourages oraganized and thorough journaling and we incorporate written and electronic methods of recording your progress.
Our primary purpose is to train folks who want to make a living in the out of doors. We train the trainers in teaching outdoor leadership and skills that serve many markets in the field of guiding and in the out door education community. A well kept journal is a great way to begin the marketing process for graduates of our programs. If you have an interest in being an assistant instructor or instructor with us, keeping an accurate and detailed journal is essential.
Frequency of Use
Journals should be maintained daily during training. The experience of past students is that if the day’s events are not recorded that evening or early the next morning, their memory soon becomes lost. Since our programs are intensive immersion experiences, every day is a busy, full day. So in order to have your logbook document the full scope of your experience, be sure to add to it daily – don’t skip a week and try to recap everything at a later date.
What To Include In Your Student Journals
A Journal entry should include the date, location, a summary of the day’s activities, a list of accomplishments and observations, and any reflection on how the accomplishments and activities of the day relate to the course. It is important to dedicate a page in your Journal to keeping lists of different benchmark activities and how many times you’ve successfully completed them. An example of this is the fire making progression. By recording your development from one match wet fires through the various friction fire methods you will document the types of woods used, whether you used a knife or stone tool, and how many bow-drill, strap drill, and hand drill coals (separate lists) you have gotten. This also applies to your shelter progression, from tarp shelters to debris huts to bushcamps, etc.
To verify that the content of your Student Journals are accurate, an instructor should regularly sign off on it. This can be weekly, bi-weekly, or at the end of a course.
Sample Logbook Entry
Location: Cobossee Stream, Gardiner, Maine
Summary: Today we poled and collected wild rice at Cobossee Stream. We entered on Route 17 just west of Gardiner at 8 am after a breakfast of acorn flour bannock bread and venison gravy. We stopped at the far bank to identify and catalogue mammal tracks. While there we identified several plants and discussed their traditional uses as food and medicine as well as the modern pharmacological research regarding each. We traveled through vast areas of wild rice along each bank. While learning proper collecting technique we discussed wild rice propagation, responsible foraging approaches, and the ecology of ricing areas. During this time we witnessed an Osprey catch what appeared to be a White Perch and a Bald Eagle attempt to take the Ospreys catch. We spent the remainder of the afternoon learning about aidless navigation and primitive weather forecasting. I started the cooking fire with a strap drill, and we had a dinner of clay baked brook trout stuffed with wood sorrel, river nettle pesto, and cattail pollen fry bread in the dutch oven. After the dishes were cleaned, I took a swim and after dark we had a short lesson on celestial navigation.
Benchmarks: Finished Projects And Observations:
- Hydrology and poling skills became more accurate today. 2. Accurately identified six of the eight mammal tracks on the shore and was able to determine that one other was in the rodent family based on track characteristics.
- Pressed a specimen of Viburnum lentago and Eupatorium maculatum
- Saw bull moose with a full rack in the river just downstream from Round Pond
- Felled, limbed and sectioned several trees with my axe for firewood.
- Carved feather sticks with my knife
Reflections: My poling and ricing techniques vastly improved today, as did my ability to put the canoe in and take it out. I feel confident in poling shallow still water. My understanding of applied permaculture strategies in wild foraging practices has improved greatly on this trip as a result of using them every day.