A Week at Wildwood: March 28

This week was FULL of visitors! It’s amazing to see that there are so many people interested and inspired by what Wildwood and ALCs actually stand for: freedom of thought, action, and emotion in the safety of a community of diverse human beings who interact authentically with each other.

That said, there was a Parent-Facilitator meeting on Monday.
A family-interest night happened on Wednesday, and let’s hope that we can welcome some more students to Wildwood soon!


Tuesday wasn’t so mad…

  • Power of Schmurschmurney for many people!
    Grace drank more water than she wanted, I only did one series of 30 abs and everyone was challenged overall. 
  • Handknitting with Tasha and Luna
    There were many knots
  • Treasure Island
    A collaborative game where we learn that this ain’t no Lord of the Flies.
  • Dominos
    They were inspired by the destructiveness of it all.
  • Free Play
    Faerie house building, slacklining, overall enjoyment of beautiful weather
  • Having fun by the Rocky Beach
  • We came up with a name for one of our boundaries! And they had fun splashing each other, role playing, performing and joking.
  • Hiking with Rebekah
    The Hobbit Hole is quite the attraction. And Wildwood ALC makes for wild monkey kids.

But Thursday was all about sharing the fun of self-direction

So many visitors! Yvonne, a professor from the UK specializing in psychology and social influences on education, dedicated her day to visiting with us. A new volunteer, Brianna, a visiting student, Vivienne and a few others stopped by to say hi and hear more about our joyful madhouse.

We all felt the confining feeling of being locked inside, and fought back against in the way that we know best: screaming, running and dancing in the rain. 

  • Power of Schmurshmurney
    Negative pull-ups, philosophizing about exercise and getting ourselves mutually motivated! 
  • Helping at the Hot Food Pantry
    The customers had actual servers for their meal! And I did some fraction calculation with Finley and Addison while cutting two desserts for 40 people: if you have one cake, cut in 4, how can you make it into 20 pieces? How many slices do you need to cut into the peach cobbler in length and in width to make 20 pieces? Oh, the headache…





  • Discussing a new system for clean-up
    Owen W. is coherence-holding its creation now that we’ve hammered out what it’s supposed to look like.
  • Treasure Island
    More yelli-ahem. I meant collaborating. More collaborating.
  • Splashing in the rain
    And dunking in the creek. And chasing each other, laughing (=>screaming bloody murder).
  • Brain hats
    Yvonne offered to show the kids how to create hats that would explain all the different parts of the brain.
  • Designing a piece of your own flag
    For some people’s Personal Focus Time, they started designing a little piece of themselves that will be made into a Wildwood flag, representative in its effusive color and creativeness of everything that we are and stand for. Brianna and Vivienne enjoyed each other’s company while creating a beautiful miniature pillow together. 
  • Sanctuary Tag
    A lot of energy needed to be expelled before the end of the day. Boy, did they run. 
  • Pokemon card game
    Similar to Yu-Gi-Oh, they fought, they vanquished, they perished. 
  • A lot of personal creative action has happened
    From hand-knitting to painting and string-cutting and even some singing, we’re being creative throughout the day. 




Random moments in Wildwood this week

Wildwood ALC activities: week of March 20th

This week at Wildwood ALC, we came back to the house after the Spring Break.

It was also my first week here, and I’ve made the commitment to document the experiences and activities that occur throughout the two days of ALC madness/fun. Weekly blog posts will be shared with a basic description of all the activities that I manage to keep track of. So much happens here all the time that I might have missed something, or need to update some of the pictures that other people took. 

Happy reading!

Taco Tuesday, minus the Tacos

  • 3D Drawing
    Ray introduced the design of 3D hands. 
  • Core Restaurant Team
    Debriefing the experience of volunteering at the Wildwood restaurant
  • Mystery Science
    Ashley offered to do an activity learning about the mechanics of human joints by designing a paper finger.
    Ashley's Mystery Science
  • Volunteering at the Food Pantry
  • Bird-opoly
    Silas brought an awesome board game similar to Monopoly, but with birds. 
  • Setting the design groups of the library boxes
    With three old magazine boxes and most of the Wildwood kids wanting to contribute their art to the project, we needed to divide them into teams to work on a group project. 
  • One of the groups already painted the base coat of their library box
    Addison, Kerra, Owen W. Ashley and I all helped paint the base coat of blues, whites and greys of our box. 
  • Walk in the wood with Rebekah
    With such warm and amazing weather as we had on Tuesday, Rebekah ended up with a large number of kids, exploring the area surrounding the new Wildwood home.
  • Power of Smurshmurney for Rebekah
    Want to be challenged to do a small piece of your workout routine? Follow Rebekah’s example and get challenged by someone at random! 
  • Running around the house 3 times before the closing Spawn Point
    Everyone was full of excess energy on Tuesday, so when Nicole suggested to go on a run around the Wildwood house a few times, all the kids jumped to it! And came back barely calmer but a lot breathless. Spawn then proceeded to happen as one large group, with one thing we liked that day and one thing we struggled with. 
  • We recovered rotting bird houses at was is called the Bird House Cemetary
    Nicole started fixing them up with
  • Playing by the creek
    I’m too new to Wildwood to be familiar with The Play, but most of the Wildwood girls have an on-going Play that sometimes involves the boys. They decided to take it by the creek today and enjoyed the coolness of the water and the wetness of the dirt on their bare feet.
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Throwback Thursday. But don’t throw anything back.

  • Sanctuary Tag
  • Card game of Multiplication War with Rebekah
  • Learning how to play Yu-Gi-Oh card game with Harper and his dad Jason
  • Painting of the Library Boxes
    We’re moving forward!
  • Discussing The Play
    During Personal Focus Time, the girls all assembled to discuss roles and plot-line for The Play, an on-going LARP.
  • Physical game of War
    Of course, it was make-believe…with sticks! 
  • Kubb
    We’re all out of practice…or needing to learn.
  • Walk in the Woods with Rebekah
    They moved a rock, and the river flowed faster. 
  • Official start to weekly blogging
  • Power of Schurshmurney
    Rebekah, Iain and I all suffered through some exercises, from windmills to abs to assisted push-ups. Challenge me! 





Random pictures of days spent at Wildwood

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My first 2 days at Wildwood ALC

I haven’t actively facilitated in an ALC…ever. At least not in a formal capacity. So these first two days experiencing Wildwood ALC were definitely quite a, well, an experience!

Wildwood is open Tuesdays and Thursdays and is basically a madhouse where high energy children between the ages of 7 and 13 run amok, free as drunken birds.

This last Tuesday was exceptionally crazy, from what the other facilitators told me. The kids tend to be a bit discombobulated and frazzled after any kind of school break, and this one came with the realization that one of the staples of the ALC was gone: Sierra, one of the lead facilitators, had left.

I’m somewhat of a “substitute,” yet the term is completely inappropriate. I’m quite a different person from Sierra (who I affectionately nicknamed “Monkey Girl” or “Wild Girl”) and I would never pretend to replace someone who left such a strong impression on the Wildwood community. She was here for months more than me, was present at the very beginning of the ALC and simply has VERY different strengths, weaknesses, and interests than me.

But my presence might have acted as a reminder that Sierra was gone.

“Don’t say her name, or I’ll start crying!”
“I miss heeeeeeeeeeer…”

That said, Tuesday felt like more of a madhouse than normal, or so I was told.

So rather than be completely involved in activities and bond with the kids, I got to sit back and observe.

I observed interactional dynamics between kids.
I observed how the adults deal with the space.
I observed how parents facilitated with their kids in the space.
I learned about special needs that some kids might have.
I saw how the space can be occupied.
I observed the energy in my spawn point, and even how it changed on Thursday.
I learned about some favorite activities and how the kids have occasionally taken their play to a point of confusion for anyone uninvolved in the Play.

But more importantly, I learned about the core differences in living the ALC model. The freedom, that sense of liberation, is a precious gift not enough children have the fortune to receive.

I want to help cultivate it over the next two months of being with Wildwood.

I’m excited for future experiences and growing my understanding of how ALC can be implemented and lived by the adults and the children alike.

A sudden change of plans…

I had originally come to discover the NY ALC for a school project in anthropology.

What happened instead is no one’s “fault” (yet it is interesting to notice how many people ask me if it was because they said or did something), but a series of events that have brought me to need to apologise to the ALC for not completing what was intended (I announce failure of intention…?) but instead for making a decision that will simply make me a much happier person in a much happier place in my mind.

So, let’s not drag it out any longer, and share with a community who I hope will simply support and not judge (though curiosity is allowed and encouraged!): I have decided to stop being a university student and start preparing myself to be a full-time traveller for an indefinite amount of time.

I’ve set my goal to be that in tops six months (around August or September at the latest) I will be travel-ready and have taken care of everything I needed to take care of here in Switzerland and for my life in general.

What’s interesting about this, is the fact that doing this is not “easier” than going to school in the least. Actually, it probably makes things more complicated for me, because I will no longer hold the status of a student, which does give me a certain amount of power and leeway here in Switzerland.

It is however a project that is dear to my heart and that I have been dreaming of since I was a teenager. However, time and priorities that weren’t truly my own took precedence over what I really wanted to accomplish until I arrived at my breaking point, which is now.

This means that I wasted funds that I no longer have, took classes and did work that I stopped enjoying very quickly. I stayed in a space that was not healthy for me, not because it was what I thought to be “best” but because it was what I was told was best.

This is a prime example of what I hope members of the ALC learn over time, which is to be able to understand whose voice they’re listening to, and whether that voice, though it may have the best of intentions, is not the one to listen to. It took me years to understand that the “voice of reason” whispering in my ear was telling me of all kinds of responsibilities I had that I could have chosen not to take on.


Because in the end I did not enjoy any part of it and feel like I wasted a part of my life and slowed my own personal growth.

I hope to share here what is panning out to be an amazing start to my new life and will hopefully get the opportunity to meet some of you during my travels.

All the best to the ALC community from a hopeful future-member..

Hello world!

This is my last day visiting the Manhattan ALC, but this is my first post in the online community. Hopefully not the last, though!

I’ll introduce myself to the large majority here who has not (and may not as of yet) met me: Hi! I’m Rebecca (Reb, Becca, Becs, Rebouchka or any other variant except Becky, please) and I live in Switzerland. For now.

I’m a Scorpio from the ’90s and am hoping that in the long run I become an ALF or work in an educational space similar to what I’ve seen that the ALC.

I’m also currently an anthropology student, which is how I came into contact with y’all at the ALC in Manhattan. I need to express an immense amount of gratitude towards the students and facilitators at the school, who’ve welcomed me so openly and thus given me a chance to discover a space as incredible as theirs is. I had the chance to visit the school to discover the ALC as one of many examples of what “alternative education” can look like, as opposed to what might be typically found in a traditional/public school.

If anyone actually reads this, I’d love to read/hear comments about what you may think those differences might be and why they’re so important or different from what is “traditional”.

I don’t want to add too many details, because I could go on and on about me and myself, but I will say that I can offer, even at a distance, help with learning French, the basics of German, I can discuss music (mostly classical) with you and would love to get to know some of you too.

If you’re willing to introduce yourselves, I’d love to “meet” (online) some of you!

Thanks for welcoming me here!