From nature connection to mentoring skills, choose your trail from our variety of unique learning pathways. Click the toggles below to view a selection of our current online trainings (See our Mentoring tab on the site menu for our 9 Month Distance Immersion training options for each Learning Pathway).
Learn at your own pace through impactful courses that are designed to help you connect with nature, community, and your unique genius.
Nature Connection Pathway
Nature Connection For Children
Online Training Series
Children are the future; by helping youth connect with nature, we support not only their personal well-being, but also a new generation of earth-tenders who love and care for the land and wild beings.
The 8 Shields model is especially effective at helping children of all ages to connect with nature; in this three part webinar series, experienced teachers and mentors Michelle Lawton, Victoria Mew, and Jon Young share fun and proven ways to engage youth in the outdoors.
Learn essential mentoring basics, fun games, engaging sensory activities, and how to use the Natural Learning Cycle to structure your outings.
Includes bonus digital copies of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature and Kamana One: Exploring Natural Mystery.
Connecting with Nature
Designed originally for our Master Class series, mentor Josh Lane pulled together a set of favorite nature connection practices from the 8 Shields mentoring toolbox, creating an “ultimate sampler” of fun and impactful practices.
This six module series guides you through the Core Routines of Deep Nature Connection. Over six weeks of daily practices, you’ll gain an introduction to Foundational Routines of awareness, Activating the Storyteller’s Mind, Exploring Bird Language, Tracking & Mammals, Survival Wisdom Through Tracking, and Wrapping the Bundle.
Advanced practices are included with many of the days, so that you can go through the training a second time at a deeper level. If you’re new to the outdoors and want to get a taste of what’s possible in the nature connection journey, check out this fun and engaging course.
Activating the Storyteller's Mind
“Visualization is not enough. When we engage all of our dynamic sensory memory - including sight, hearing, scent, taste, touch, feeling, and more - we are activating the true power of the Storyteller’s Mind.”
In this fun 8 day mini-course, Jon Young shares daily practices that help you connect deeply with place while empowering your storytelling and sensory-memory skills. Participants report that these seemingly simple practices have helped them to rapidly build a new layer of meaningful personal connections with their local parks, backyards, and other favorite outdoor areas.
Learn fun outdoor skills that have long been known around the world but are seldom used in modern life. (This course is included with the Connecting with Nature course, or you can purchase it here as a stand-alone).
Distance Nature Immersions
Rebuilding Nature- Connected Communities
In this 9 month distance training, explore the Natural Learning Cycle as you embody the 8 Archetypes. You'll learn to apply their wisdom for your own journey into Nature, and gain tools for building teams and nature-connected community using the Acorn team model.
Learn the ancient art of holistic tracking with weekly one-on-one expert mentoring in this special 3 month distance immersion.
Learn core routines you can do anywhere to connect with the natural world and access your unique genius.
Connection Facilitator's Pathway
Designing For Peace
Online Training Series
As human beings, even with the best of intentions, we inevitably encounter differences between us that can lead to conflict, separation and even collapse of projects and communities.
If you're involved with nature mentoring for children & families, culture repair in a neighborhood, or any kind of village-building project, these materials are especially for you.
And, since Designing for Peace is a large topic, we're starting with easily applicable elements in a step-by-step process.
Through three 1.5 hour webinar trainings, Deborah Benham, Root Cuthbertson, and Jon Young share design tools and processes for creating peaceful, supportive, resilient social systems.These tools can be applied on any level, from couples to the organizational scale.
Discover tools and practices for supporting the connection journey for yourself & others.
Transformative Mentoring Pathway
Online Training Series
In this in-depth training, Jon Young & Josh Lane share the timeless core methods and principles of Transformational & Coyote Mentoring that guide the 8 Shields Mentoring pathway.
Learn how a mentor can support others to grow their unique connection with nature and step forward with an ever-deepening awareness of place.
This three-part webinar series includes teachings on working with the Sensory & Species Wheels, assessment & supporting personal transformation, utilizing Tracking Questions to support awareness, and much more.
Those new to mentoring will be inspired and find many tools to work with; mentors with some experience under their belt will find a roadmap to support mentees over many years of the nature connection journey, with both big-picture understanding and tools for each step of the way.
Develop the Mentor's mindset and a proven toolbox for Mentoring others in deep nature connection and other transformative passages.
Cultural Mentoring Pathway
Acorn Leader's Toolkit
Learn the “secret sauce” that makes 8 Shields-powered events so engaging and transformational.
Through engaging stories, Jon Young shares how to connect with the Natural Cycle of the 8 Archetypes to weave more connection into your experience, whether for yourself or for your team and community. Our affiliate schools train their staff in this facilitation model to enhance workshops, camps, classroom experiences, and this model is now even being utilized in corporate settings to support team connectivity and creativity.
Regenerative Community Building
Explore the foundational strategies, tools & techniques that lead to positive and lasting transformation, creating a strong platform for Regenerative Community Building.
In part 1, explore the importance of Connection to Nature & Culture: What is Connection? How is Connection good for us? Why do we need to be both Nature-Connected and People-Connected?
In part 2, explore the power of Transformational Leadership: How does a regenerative culture prepare its youth to be leaders? How can we nurture everyone's creative gifts, so that more people express their full potential?
In part 3, explore Peace as the Foundation: Explore the dynamics that support peace on a personal, relational and systemic level.
Finally, in part 4, Stepping into a Big Picture view, we will consider the movement of change-making that is sweeping around the world. With Deborah Benham, Ruth Cuthbertson, and Jon Young.
Learn to repair and build connective culture in your neighborhood, at your organization, program or event, or to empower your social change initiative.
Village Building Pathway
Online Training Series
Just as permaculture helps restore integral community lifecycle activities with the land, “social permaculture” explores how to re-engage holistic community connections between people.
Village Building is a process of weaving intention into community interaction, to support all ages and stages of life. Many 8 Shields alumni school around the world are using this model to build supportive networks around their programs.
Jon Young shares an introduction and key insights into this process in three modules covering: Greening the Social Desert, The Gathering of the Eagles, and the Village Builders formula.
If you are curious as to what Village Building is and how to get started, this series is a great way to begin, drawing upon many years of experiential learning.
This is an invitation to join a global movement of support in the best practices of culture repair, nature based mentoring, peacemaking, healing grief, and community building.
Renewal of Creative Path
When we take time to look back on our lives, we can see the stepping stones that have guided us to where we are now. Within our lives are critical moments that show us who we are, and hint at who we can become.
The Renewal process helps you to take stock and celebrate the light that shines within from your deepest self, and to realize the vision of what you are shining your light forward into.
In this in-depth toolkit, 8 Shields founder Jon Young guides you through the complete Renewal of Creative Path process that he’s shared with communities around the world since 1995. Many do this annually to align with their deepest visions and gifts. Learn a powerful process you can use to renew and empower your own deepest dreams and visions.
The connected Visionary serves through offering their unique creativity & genius to the world.