Whenever I think about the “ills” and problems of the world, and the necessity for humankind to “heal” and transform to a higher level humanbeingness, I also think about the power and potential of the outdoor/challenge/adventure/ experiential methodology. I believe that experiential education (EE) can make a significant contribution to the healing of the human condition. I think that EE leaders can help people cultivate personal visions of the necessary transformation, and discover the personal power that they need to journey to tomorrow. When I think about EE leaders as facilitators of personal growth and learning, visionaries, healers, guides, and transforming agents, the word “shaman” comes to mind. I use the word generically, but my choice does need some clarification.
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Thomas E. Smith, PhD, a.k.a. Old Raccoon, is founder and director of the Raccoon Institute, which began with offices in a tree-house in 1982. He studied with Native American elders in the late 1950’s, and with Carl Rogers at the University of Wisconsin. He has authored over a dozen books.