Village Builders

Empowering Communities to Rebuild Regenerative Culture

8 Shields Consulting and Training and an Invitation to join a Global Movement

The community of life is at such an imbalance that our world is facing a global crisis. Patterns of historic trauma around the world have contributed to a massive loss of culture and a loss of the legacies of ancient wisdom traditions that support future generations living in harmony with each other and the natural world. The collective grief from this widespread loss has resulted in a mass amnesia, and the breakdown of intergenerational mentoring communities.

Jon Young is a nature connection mentor, naturalist, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, consultant, sought after public speaker and storyteller. As a leader in the field of nature-based community building over 30 years, Jon’s research into the impact and significance of nature on human intelligence and development has influenced tens of thousands of people worldwide.

Jon has authored and co-authored several seminal works on nature connection and connection mentoring, including What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (2013), and Coyote’s Guide to Connecting to Nature (2007). In 2016, he received the Champion of Environmental Education Award for his innovative work, which has inspired positive developments in the field, and fostered the growth of the nature connection movement on a global level.

As co-founder of the 8 Shields Institute and OWLink Media, Jon has established an international network of consultants and trainers working to cultivate effective nature connection mentoring programs in communities and organizations. As the originator of the 8 Shields model, a best-practices process for nature connection mentoring, Jon has implemented vital advancements in the regeneration of nature-based cultural knowledge for the benefit of current and future generations.

“Our children and the coming generations need us now, more than ever, to rise to our genius and our greatness…

Over the last 30 years I’ve had the honor, the pleasure, and the responsibility to share the tools of culture repair and nature connection mentoring with people all over the world.

Constantly I look for patterns in the communities who have adopted the 8 Shields Mentoring Model, especially where it is really taking root. I have found that there is a particular kind of individual behind the scenes that helps the community to flourish. I like to call these individuals Village Builders.

As a key leader in the world-wide movement of nature reconnection, my time is so limited that I can no longer work with everyone who seeks mentoring with me. I’ve crossed a threshold where I can only work with individuals who are committed to growing fully thriving nature-connected community in their region.

I’m now seeking only those village-building stakeholders to join me in a very special relationship to help understand and learn and develop the networks of support required to build the model we call the Art of Mentoring in their own communities. I see the participants of this global initiative as an integral part of transforming the culture on the planet worldwide and restoring peace and well being for all and future generations. If you would like to join me on this journey, please read on below.”

-Jon Young


Village Builders Consulting, Mentoring & Training with Jon Young and the 8 Shields Team will build capacity in your community to repair culture for future generations and/or can bring Art of Mentoring to your region.

There is hope for humanity! Millions of people are connecting with nature and each other to rebuild regenerative culture for future generations around the world and leave a legacy of peace and wisdom. Maybe you are one of those who will bring about the change?

Do any of the following resonate with you?

You are looking for ways to build a village of caring and happy adults around the children in your community living in harmony with nature

You would like to support a regional 8 Shields-based nature connection project and help it build greater capacity, support the growth of individuals leading these programs and/or help that same team upgrade in their understandings of recent 8 Shields model developments.

You seek to support your neighbors and community in each fully activating their unique brilliance and deepest gifts.

You want to support people through life stages, you are a practitioner of connection, community-building or healing, or a person trained in supporting personal growth.

You are creatively finding ways to restore mentoring and nature connection in modern times or are interested in learning how to do this.

You wish to support parents and people driving community initiatives that support healing, restoring balance with the natural world, and that are building a culture of connection with the unborn children of future generations in mind.

You are committed to transform culture to drive connection and sustainability and honor each individual’s unique gifts.

In this relationship, you will be supported in learning:

1. Cultural mentoring practices and how to develop a world of deeply nature connected people.

2. How to build the soil for the village to emerge.

3. How to identify and recruit the village builders themselves.

4. How to work with community facilitation models that enhance the power of peacemaking, enhance the power of relationships, and strengthen existing relationships.

5. How to help support healing in challenging relationships.

6. How to further and enhance the connection process between people in the community.

The key to achieving this is to activate the following attributes of connection in yourself. These attributes awaken through connecting with nature and utilizing powerful mentoring processes.

The mentoring techniques we will employ are thousands of years old, used to transform grief and awaken your deepest gifts and creativity and joy. Would you like to deepen these following attributes of connection in your life and in your community?

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.

The Importance of Triads in Village Building
The Triad Model works! This is the most supportive practice for training and community building. For this reason we will support you and your Triad to have an incredible training opportunity. Or help you form a triad to empower your project.

The 8 Shields team has been beta testing different ways to train stakeholders in the Art of Mentoring and initiatives worldwide contributing to a worldwide social change movement. Locally in Santa Cruz and the greater San Francisco Bay area, we have been working diligently with collaborators to understand better how to build capacity and efficiency for training.

Since 1995, we have tested the Triad Model repeatedly to coordinate and integrate leadership and now believe this to be the best Village Builder method for starting new communities and helping already practicing 8 Shields communities build capacity. This is why the Triad is at the center of the 8 Shields logo.

For the past twenty years, 8 Shields has gained a lot of experience from training and directly facilitating the Art of Mentoring model and through our experience we have seen many stakeholders applying the 8 Shields Art of Mentoring model as part of their ongoing programs, events, and even their organizing structure and internal processes.

To support the most resilience in communities, we are now asking those who want to either jump start the Art of Mentoring model, or support expanded capacity to rebuild culture and make social change in their area to adopt the Triad Model Approach.

To encourage this, we have decided to offer a “three-for-one” training experience.

We are offering extremely valuable training, mentoring, resources and consulting services to support communities to get started or take their project to the next level. We hope that this gets you excited!

Your Triad will have access to 6 Learning Pathways

In Person Gatherings can be added for a fee to train your staff and community or organization:

California Art of Mentoring

California Bird Language Intensive

Vision Initiation Gatherings- California, Canada, Australia, North Carolina,

*The Vision Initiation Path in the grief tending layer above is an added cost

Here is a short slide show about the learning pathways:

Are you new to 8 Shields and interested in trainings and consulting?

Fill out this short application and we will contact you

Have you been working with the 8 Shields Model for a while? For example you have done an immersion training, previous mentoring with 8 Shields, or have joined a leadership team at an Art of Mentoring or similar 8 Shields program.

Fill out this short application and we will contact you