Mystery, Beauty and Community; Spoon Ceremony and the traditions of welcoming.

Workshop Title: Mystery, Beauty and Community; Spoon Ceremony and the traditions of welcoming.

How do students feel when they arrive? ​ ​ "The one opened the door with a latch-key and went in, followed by a young fellow who awkwardly removed his cap. He wore rough clothes that smacked of the sea, and he was manifestly out of place in the spacious hall in which he found himself. He did not know what to do with his cap, and was stuffing it into his coat pocket when the other took it from him. The act was done quietly and naturally, and the awkward young fellow appreciated it. ​ ​ 'He understands,' was his thought. 'He'll see me through all right.'”​ ​ - Jack London, Martin Eden​

Description of Presentation:

At Legacy we use a spoon ceremony to welcome each new client into the program (Community). We recognize that a meaningful Community is essential for young men to restore balance in their lives. Beauty, that dynamic force, capable of pulling clients out of "stuck places". Mystery, a sense of connection to something "bigger than me”. What Gary Ferguson has referrers to these as inherent benefits of being in the wild. We will use spoon carving as a instrument to draw metaphor; Participants will come away from this presentation with a spoon carved from the wood of a Utah Juniper tree.

Why this presentation/workshop is of value to residential and wilderness therapy professionals?

Justin Swense, Derek Daley, Tony Alvarez, Scott Schill, Anita Tucker

The physical and emotional connection of carving a piece of nature into something of beauty, with the intention of giving that beauty away, to client/community can be a powerful experience. Using the experiential activity of spoon carving and connecting it to discussions pertaining to the various and importance processes of welcoming, including, & helping clients feel apart of the community or program. The metaphoric connections provide by the experiential learning activity, will assist participants of all backgrounds and ability in the use of “spoon carving” or other related mechanisms with their own particular client populations.

@derekjaydaley and I are co-presenting a spoon carving work shop at the OBH Wilderness Therapy Symposium next week in Park City, Utah. I've been drying this River Birch and a few pieces of Aspen since the first of April just for the occasion. I was able to get about 30 blanks roughed out and two spoons completed to use as examples. A few Juniper blanks and I'll be ready. I am really excited to present with Derek again this year and I look forward to seeing all you wilder folk there. Justin Swensen

"My first spoon ceremony recipient. So meaningful" Anita Tucker

The pace of life in modern society can be hectic and unrelenting. It is therefore not surprising that people often feel emotionally and physically depleted and seek out ways to relax and rejuvenate mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. At legacy we engage clients in many forms of recreational and therapeutic activities. Some are physical in nature, such as yoga or hiking. Some are more creative. Spooncarving for many can be a very spiritual and meditative practice, for others it is simply a way to relax and create something aesthetically pleasing with their own two hands, spoon carving is also one of the oldest arts of humankind. #Spooncarving #arttherapy #legacyoutdoorsdventures #RXoffthecouch

Guides who have mastered the the art welcoming can, with their very presence wipe away the strangeness or awkwardness of situation and make a client feel as if they are home.

Making a spoon is easy. Start with a piece of wood and remove everything that doesn’t look like a spoon


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Legacy programs are highly respected by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH) as well as other leaders in mental and behavioral healthcare. 



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