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Wilders Apprenticeship: Year-Round Mentoring

Wild Plants, Folk Craft & Restoration Gardening

Join our Wilders Guild! In this 10-month program, live the life of folk craft, animal care, gardens, and restoring the land.

Make new friends and learn with experienced mentors. Develop skills and confidence through ecological leadership. Share in adventures with a team of like-minded peers while discovering a powerful relationship with nature.

The Wilders Guild

As a Wilders Apprentice you join our Wilders Guild. Our best educators guide Apprentices as they learn together as a team. We thoughtfully challenge students to develop confidence through ecological leadership and restoration.

The Apprenticeship

The Wilders Apprenticeship goes beyond just a club, it immerses you in the skills of Trackers Craft. With dedication and hard-work, your training can grow into a life-long study in a deep set of ancient arts:

Wild Plants
Apprentices delve into the incredible world of wild plants. They learn skills of identification and safe harvest of wild foods—developing a connection through seasonal cycles of growth and restoration.
Folk Craft
Apprentices learn crafts of woodworking, natural building, animal husbandry, outdoor cooking, and even artisan cheese making. They train both to sustain the Village and help build it.
The Wilders Garden
Apprentices tend to the Wilders Garden—our core set of principles of restoration and ecology. The Wilders Garden expresses a very ancient relationship with the land. We go beyond the homestead, journeying into a world where wild plants run through our gardens as our gardens grow through the wild forest.

How it works

Mentoring Weekends One weekend a month for nine months apprentices train with expert instructors at our epic outdoor locations. We provide transportation. Apprentices grade 2-4 do single day field days. Apprentices grade 5-12 do four overnight expeditions, two in the fall, another two the following spring, along with additional field days. See below for class schedule.

Skills Evenings & Open Archery Range There are also learning opportunities every week. Apprentices and their immediate family get free admission to our Skills Evenings (every Thursday) and our Open Archery Range (every Thursday, Friday, Saturday).

We feature specific age ranges for our Wilders Apprenticeship. Training is tailored for each age group.

Field Days

Grade 2-3
Field days truly immerse campers into the Wilders Guild
Grade 4
Field days develop team skills and rich learning environments with the Wilders

Field Days & Overnights

Grade 5-8
Overnight camp outs and field days teach in-depth craft and Wilders skills
Grade 9-12
Overnight camp outs and field days with intensive training in Wilders lore and skills

Commitment and Service

Becoming a Wilder is lifetime pursuit and a rite of passage. Many students have come back for multiple years of study and membership in the Wilders Guild. Personal mentorship insures all levels of learners are welcome and benefit from this diversity.


Time

September - June
This program runs September to June. Field days are usually from 9am-4:30pm.

Attend Skills Evenings (Thursday) or Open Archery Range (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) anytime. The option of over 200 more hours of program time for the entire family at no additional cost.

Wilders Guild

Wilders Guild

Named in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Wilders Guild offers homesteading activities. Students could make cheese from farm fresh goats milk to bring home or press apples in the cider press while dancing to fine fiddle music.

You may find a Wilder starting seedlings for planting in family gardens or even working on fiber arts projects.

They make pickles and preserves, help cook nourishing meals over a fire, weave baskets, spin, knit, use plant dyes and other natural materials for coloring fabric. Through their thoughtful care of the forests and the meadows, the Wilders bring balance cultivation and care of the natural world.

Grade 2-4

9 Field Days
One Saturday a month, 9am - 4:30pm. See below for a full class schedule.

Grade 5-12

Field Days
One Saturday every month, 9am-4:30pm. See below for class schedule
+ 4 Weekend Overnights
Friday evening to Sunday. Two in fall, two the following spring.

Tuition

Tuition is divided into ten monthly payments after a $50 deposit.

Monthly Payment Plan
Grade 2-4
$50 deposit, then ten monthly payments of $94 (total $995)
Grade 5-12
$50 deposit, then ten monthly payments of $124 (total $1,295, includes overnights)
Reserve your place with a $50 deposit. Tuition is divided into 10-monthly payments. First payment is due September 10. Contact Us to set up.
Discounts
Family Discount
A 10% discount is available for siblings registering together.
Returning Apprentice Discount
Returning Apprentices get a tuition discount based on year of attendance. 
Contact Us to learn more.
Please note: discounts cannot be combined.

Scholarships

We offer limited scholarship awards for those families who may need financial assistance in attending the apprenticeship program. For more information Contact Us.

Location

Drop-off is at our SE Portland location - 4617 SE Milwaukie Avenue, Portland, Oregon. We provide transportation to epic sites. Our private locations allow us to fully practice the skills of Trackers Craft. We cook by the campfire, care for animals, and harvest from the wild; all while caretaking for the land and forest.

Program comes with...

  • Skill building weekends once a month - monthly weekend overnights or single training days
  • Mentoring with expert instructors at Trackers
  • Skills Evenings, free every Thursday
  • Open Archery Range, free every Thursday, Friday or Saturday

Class Schedule

Grade 2-4:
9 field days
Grade 5-12:
2 Fall Overnights, 2 Spring Overnights, 4 field days

When signing up for Wilders Apprenticeship be sure your child can make most of the weekends. Apprenticeships average one weekend a month:

Grade 1-4: Schedule A

  • September 9, 2017 Field Day
  • October 7, 2017 Field Day
  • November 4, 2017 Field Day
  • December 9, 2017 Optional Holiday Party
  • January 13, 2018 Field Day
  • February 3, 2018 Field Day
  • March 3, 2018 Field Day
  • April 7, 2018 Field Day
  • May 5, 2018 Field Day
  • June 2, 2018 Graduation Celebration

Grade 5-12: Schedule A

  • September 8-10, 2017 Weekend Overnight
  • October 6-8, 2017 Weekend Overnight
  • November 4, 2017 Field Day
  • December 9, 2017 Optional Holiday Party
  • January 13, 2018 Field Day
  • February 3, 2018 Field Day
  • March 3, 2018 Field Day
  • April 6-8, 2018 Weekend Overnight
  • May 4-6, 2018 Weekend Overnight
  • June 2, 2018 Graduation Celebration

Grade 1-4: Schedule B

  • September 10, 2017 Field Day
  • October 8, 2017 Field Day
  • November 5, 2017 Field Day
  • December 9, 2017 Family Holiday Party
  • January 14, 2018 Field Day
  • February 4, 2018 Field Day
  • March 4, 2018 Field Day
  • April 8, 2018 Field Day
  • May 6, 2018 Field Day
  • June 2, 2018 Graduation

Frequently Asked Questions Wilders Apprenticeship

Does this program require prior experience?
No, in fact our Apprenticeships works best with varying levels of experience. Similar to a martial arts dojo, more advanced students are occasionally charged to help teach a skill to beginning students. With oversight from a guild mentor, this proven method helps creates a true learning community.
How much time commitment will my child need to give to independent study?
This is up to you. This time spent training away from mentors is purposeful and equally important as the guided training. The primary goal of this training is self-sufficiency and competency. It is up to the apprentice and their family how much time is spent. We encourage but do not require an average of 2-hours a week of personal study working on skills projects, tracking (parents may need to take their kids to a greenspace) and more.
What does my child get out of this? Do they become an awesome outdoors person?
Yes and more. The Wilders Guild is about developing personal accountability for the larger community. Our perspective on "village" skills entails trusting your well-being to knowledge, awareness, and respect for the wilderness and your teammates. Through this we innately cultivate a great sense of purpose and responsibility. This is not disciplined study simply for self-discipline sake. It is about profound experience that cultivates a richer awareness and competency for the world we live.
What am I getting my child and our family into?
Trackers offers really "fun" summer camps. We are often touted as one of the best out there. Yet the Rangers Apprenticeship goes far beyond that one week experience. At Trackers our legacy originates from a deep well of outdoor skills best learned through intensive apprenticeship. The depth of this training is akin to and, in many respects, more encompassing than a martial art. Training here will exceed anything found in most "scouting" programs. It requires great focus and diligence on the Apprentice's part. We also believe such rigorous study in nature based skills actually enhances academic and physical capability. The ecological thinking inherent in tracking fosters an incredibly functional breadth in puzzling together systems and exactly how the world "works". The calm focus and diligence required in cultivating and caring for the land offers real experience in humility, patience, and thoughtful long-term planning. Our Wilders Garden builds an incredible depth of awareness for both details and thoughtfulness.
What is the role of program mentors?
Program mentors are the best of Trackers instructors and representative of the Wilders Guild. The are coordinators and developers of all logistics and curriculum in our field days. During the program they introduce diverse skills of the Wilders Guild, providing ample foundation for your child to practice during independent study if they are so motivated. They also tailor their curriculum and mentoring to each individual student, checking in consistently as to their feeling and well-being in the program. They are often a phone call away when your family has a question about a skill, best places to embark on independent study, or how your child is doing in the program.