For 20 years we’ve been helping you connect with nature, and with each other.
Owen & Jasmyn (pictured above) walked into a Vermont Wilderness School program before they lost their baby teeth. And guess what? They are members of our VWS staff in 2020, mentoring children.
The Covid-19 pandemic is showing us that VWS’s mission is more relevant than ever. It is forcing us to ask: How can we make the radical shifts necessary to ensure a future for the next generation?
The pandemic represents a very serious threat to the viability of the Vermont Wilderness School.
Social distancing requirements have hit some organizations and businesses especially hard. This includes VWS. The effects already include: inability for programs to meet in person, loss of wages for our staff members, and potential reductions in grant funding. Our insurance policy (like most policies) does not protect us against losses due to a pandemic. VWS does not have an endowment or nest egg to get us through a time like this.
We are anticipating a 2/3 reduction in tuition revenue this year. That is $190,000 less income. Even with support from federal recovery funds, combined with major cuts to staff hours and expenses, it will be difficult to keep VWS financially viable, especially if the stay-at-home order persists through the summer.
Help VWS be here for you another 20 years. Please donate now.
THE NEED FOR OUR WORK IS VAST, AND IT'S GROWING.
A paradox of the pandemic is that some people are being given an opportunity to spend more time outdoors, while others are being forced to spend much less time outdoors. Even as the weather warms, many people around the world, especially kids, are trapped inside apartments and homes and starved for nature. And all kids are starved for real in-person play time with their friends.
Our long-time supporters are looking to VWS for support and connection. And new people are seeking us out for guidance.
VWS is able to guide people on their own unique path of deepening connection with the natural world, no matter the circumstances. It’s what we’ve done for 20 years, and we already have lots of experience using the internet and telephone to do this from a distance.
We are finding ways to keep people connected. VWS parents are checking in with our staff by phone, and their children are connecting through weekly Zoom calls where they share stories of their nature adventures. Adult programs that can’t be shifted to an online format have all been rescheduled. And our staff is working hard to redesign our programming to meet social distancing requirements, in preparation for the likely additional quarantine periods in the coming years.
We are so grateful to have received expressions of support from so many people in the past two months. Many of the parents whose children are enrolled in our youth programs have declined refunds for cancelled sessions, simply to help keep VWS viable during this time.
The message we are hearing is that you want VWS to be here another 20 years.
We really need your support to make it through this period of transition. This is a critical time to become a recurring supporter and donate to VWS.
Please help us continue building a strong nature-connected resilient community, for another 20 years.
Thank you, and stay safe and healthy.
- The VWS Staff & Board