Courses Overview >> Short courses >> A Weekend with Jon Young: Fostering Regenerative Peace in Troubled Times

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A Weekend with Jon Young: Fostering Regenerative Peace in Troubled Times

Jon Young
£ 385.00
Course fees include simple accommodation, all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Friday to Sunday afternoon.

Powerful ways to build a foundation of real transformation and healing- for ourselves, our projects, communities and the natural world

With Jon Young and Dr Deborah Benham

Powerful ways to build a foundation of real transformation and healing - for ourselves, our projects, communities and the natural world

The world is full of people who recognize the issues of our times. Their potential leadership could literally change the world.  Yet most community builders, grassroots activists, social entrepreneurs and others working toward a positive future will at some point hit difficulties due to personal and interpersonal challenges. Despite best intentions, the failure of this social dimension can hinder visionary work in the world. Why is this pattern so common?

Historical trauma is alive and well and pervasive throughout the institutions and experiences of our times. This is our winter. For most people the “winter” of humanity is behind us, and yet it dwells in the darkness just below our consciousness. When you design a garden in areas where there is seasonal cold, you have to design for winter. When we work with people, we have to design for the shadowy realms that lie in our collective psyche. How do we do this successfully so our winter can turn to spring once again and our human relationships flourish in service to our world?

Around the world there are now examples of people and communities designing with this historical context in mind. These emerging leaders are finding new ways to foster real peace, hope and effective action. Their work is gaining ground and providing solid role modelling for an ever expanding network.

On this programme we will explore effective peacemaking and community building models. The tools and processes shared will enable you to bring your vision and creativity in full support of the Earth’s immune system.

Jon Young has been working with native and western leaders for the past 37 years. He is a passionate collector of design principles that support regenerative community; weaving connection between people and people, people and nature, and people and themselves. The ancient practices of bird language and tracking can inform our leadership in surprising ways and bring grounding to our efforts. Jon’s work has inspired hundreds of budding regenerative communities worldwide. In this experiential workshop Jon will lead exercises in deep nature connection that flow easily and naturally into powerful conversations to support emerging leadership and effective design.

Jon will be joined by Deborah Benham. Previously his student, Deborah is now a collaborator in the 8 Shields global leadership network. She is based near Findhorn in Scotland where she manages a regenerative retreat and wellbeing centre and offers a variety of programmes and trainings.

During this weekend course, our first and highest priority will be to apply exercises that awaken a deep sense of connection with nature and ourselves. This will provide an important grounding field to nurture our explorations.

We will examine the history of western expansion in terms of “connection loss” and the subsequent implications which affect virtually every part of our lives:  social, spiritual, cognitive, philosophical, political, economic and physical.

We will discuss connection modelling and the cultural elements that support connection for our collective ancestors. These come from traditional cultures which have retained their integrity separate from western expansion. There will be a simple yet revelatory examination of three processes necessary for human wellness: 1) education, 2) recreation and 3) connection. We will learn to see culture--not as a noun, but as a verb supporting these three social necessities for healthy human beings.

We will look at role-models from history and current regenerative communities to find examples and principles that build connection, restore peace and give frameworks for positive action.

Peacemaking models from original cultures reveal a universal pattern language that reflects human nature in an ergonomic and biological sense. Understanding this simple pattern language can inform and prepare us to be effective and strategic with respect to interpersonal dimensions. Our projects will thrive on our commitment to enact patterns of peacemaking. This is not conflict resolution, its conflict prevention and truly effective regenerative design.  

At the end of this workshop, participants will be offered a truly helpful gift. You will be given a new and comprehensive set of design tools and resources called the Village Builder’s Toolkit. This will greatly aid your ability to bring about practical next steps toward the healing of our planet and our human family.

We are now at a time in history where many people wish to foster a new paradigm, but we urgently need effective tools if we want peaceful and powerful restoration to occur. Join us as we work from the soil, the trees and the birds around us, through our history and legacy of social behaviour, and into a vision of possibility that is taking root in hundreds of communities worldwide.


Jon YoungJon Young

For over 30 years, Jon Young has been a leader in the field of village building, nature-based education, Permaculture and cultural mentoring, implementing vital advancements in the understanding and benefits of effective nature- and people-connection modeling. Jon is a deep nature connection mentor, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, village builder, consultant, inspiring public speaker and storyteller. He has appeared as an expert in numerous documentaries concerning nature and ecology and travels to teach widely throughout North America, Europe, Australia and southern Africa. He has authored and co-authored several seminal works on deep 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) among other titles in print and media. As a founder of the 8 Shields Institute, Jon Young has established best-practices process for cultural modelling and nature connection mentoring. He is actively promoting village building globally as a nature-based model of cultural regeneration for the benefit of current and future generations.

Dr Deborah Benham

Deborah has been a student of Jon Young’s, and involved with 8 Shields and Art of Mentoring since 2011. She is currently part of the 8 Shields Global Leadership Programme; and closely involved with setting up 8 Shields UK. Deborah has a PhD in wildlife conservation, environmental education and the people/nature interface. After 15 years working in this field she moved into broader areas of regenerative culture and design for sustainability; with a particular interest in social sustainability and social enterprise. She is Managing Director of the Newbold Trust, a retreat and education centre for sustainable living and wellbeing in NE Scotland. Prior to this she founded and ran Wild at Heart, providing nature connection programmes, ecotourism consultancy and wildlife guide trainings. She now offers consultancy, trainings and workshops in nature connection, regenerative culture, sustainability and youth empowerment.


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Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.