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The Permaculture Bootcamp Thistle Program - facilitating folks under the age of 18

 
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Our history with under-18-peeps is rich in variety.  For every great experience we have three poor experiences.  A 25% success rate.  As we explore what has worked, and ideas on how edge cases might have worked better, we have come up with a possible framework ...

THISTLE-1: Gotta do the whole thing through the sepper program.  

THISTLE-2:  Under 18 peeps must be elbow-to-elbow with their parent for any time spent in the bootcamp.  

THISTLE-3:  minimum age in the bootcamp with a parent: 12 years old (possible exceptions for BB20)


Strict rules for people under 18 for every moment in the bootcamp:

  THISTLE-4: strict and immediate obedience to the parent.  At all times.   We need constant reassurance that there will be a proper response time in an emergency.  We also don't want to see or hear that disrespectful, whiney shit.

  THISTLE-5:  work hard and earn your beans

  THISTLE-4: address adults with their appropriate honorific.  Sirs, m'ams, Mr. _______, Miss ______, etc.  (plus "commander choi" and "commander bolton")


I visited with a few of the current boots, and re-visited a few times with commander choi and commander bolton (Dez and Magdalene).  We have lots and lots more to say - lots of concerns.  But this is a healthy starting point.  

Seppers don't have to participate in nest labor, but we feel it would be a large positive if all of the thistle participants did this.  Not a requirement, but a nice-to-have. I think this would make it so the adult boots would feel a lot more comfortable with having under-18-folks as part of the bigger picture.

At the time of this writing, I guess we are open to starting the thistle program.  At the same time, I would like to get feedback - maybe there are some other bits we should add here?  

I like the idea that we have more good experiences.  Without the sub-good experiences.  And I think there are a lot of adults that are keen on permaculture experiences, but struggling to find a way to juggle family with their need for adventure.  And I get the impression that there are some people under the age of 18 that very much want to do the stuff we do in the bootcamp PLUS get their parents to unplug for a bit.  It just seems like there is probably a way to get this to work well for everybody involved - and if we start here, maybe something even better will grow out of it.


 
paul wheaton
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For now:  let's have the thistle program start at basecamp.  
 
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paul wheaton wrote:Our history with under-18-peeps is rich in variety.  For every great experience we have three poor experiences.  A 25% success rate.  As we explore what has worked, and ideas on how edge cases might have worked better, we have come up with a possible framework ...

THISTLE-1: Gotta do the whole thing through the sepper program.  

THISTLE-2:  Under 18 peeps must be elbow-to-elbow with their parent for any time spent in the bootcamp.  

THISTLE-3:  minimum age in the bootcamp with a parent: 12 years old (possible exceptions for BB20)


Strict rules for people under 18 for every moment in the bootcamp:

  THISTLE-4: strict and immediate obedience to the parent.  At all times.   We need constant reassurance that there will be a proper response time in an emergency.  We also don't want to see or hear that disrespectful, whiney shit.

  THISTLE-5:  work hard and earn your beans

  THISTLE-4: address adults with their appropriate honorific.  Sirs, m'ams, Mr. _______, Miss ______, etc.  (plus "commander choi" and "commander bolton")


I visited with a few of the current boots, and re-visited a few times with commander choi and commander bolton (Dez and Magdalene).  We have lots and lots more to say - lots of concerns.  But this is a healthy starting point.  

Seppers don't have to participate in nest labor, but we feel it would be a large positive if all of the thistle participants did this.  Not a requirement, but a nice-to-have. I think this would make it so the adult boots would feel a lot more comfortable with having under-18-folks as part of the bigger picture.

At the time of this writing, I guess we are open to starting the thistle program.  At the same time, I would like to get feedback - maybe there are some other bits we should add here?  

I like the idea that we have more good experiences.  Without the sub-good experiences.  And I think there are a lot of adults that are keen on permaculture experiences, but struggling to find a way to juggle family with their need for adventure.  And I get the impression that there are some people under the age of 18 that very much want to do the stuff we do in the bootcamp PLUS get their parents to unplug for a bit.  It just seems like there is probably a way to get this to work well for everybody involved - and if we start here, maybe something even better will grow out of it.




Quick question, what is nest labor, I’ve seen the reference a couple times but haven’t come across the meaning yet. However if it’s work of some kind(the fact that it’s called nest “labor” being the hint of that) then we’re up for it. That’s the reason we are there. I know that a bigger property we start from scratch will require more strength and expertise then our current homestead and let’s face it convenience is killing our society, I just don’t know enough of how to go about what we’ll need to know, reading/watching and trying to implement on my own has been interesting. We just want to integrate ourselves into the whole process/community/the day to day nitty gritty, I won’t say we’ll be adept at it but we’ll put everything we have into it.

I know all of this is just my perception and what I say until we actually get up there and that you really need to see it to believe it. I’m ok with that. I’d love to help  make this aspect of your program better for all parties.
 
paul wheaton
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more about nest labor:  https://permies.com/t/86713/permaculture-projects/project-labor-nest-labor-personal
 
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It is so kid-specific.  

One of my kids would thrive in this context.  One of my kids would crumble into dust, very quickly.

I think one thing that might help, for both parties, would be a set "trial period," allowing feedback and possible termination or alteration after set periods of time.  Maybe weekly for the first month.

It is also possible that some thistles would do well as a half-boot, meaning just mornings, just afternoons, or 2-3 days per week.  Then 100% sepper the rest of the week.

All of this would require extra energy from all the facilitating folks at Wheaton Labs.  Therefor I also think a more rigorous parental vetting protocol might be in order.  Something along the lines of a questionnaire, with lots of written response items of various situations and contexts, to be evaluated on completely subjective terms by the WL party.  In essence, ask the parent - if you truly think this will be a marvelous experience for your kid, yourself, and everyone at wheaton labs, please paint me a very clear picture of how it will look.  What if this happens?  What if your kids does this?  What if someone else does this?

It could potentially also have a greater fee for accommodating the greater energy expense in hosting.  
 
Beau Davidson
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I also like the idea of requiring a certain # of bbs prior to entry.  Perhaps even several specific bbs, ones that prove a willingness to keep house and take care of oneseelf.
 
paul wheaton
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Beau Davidson wrote:I think one thing that might help, for both parties, would be a set "trial period," allowing feedback and possible termination or alteration after set periods of time.  Maybe weekly for the first month.



I think every moment of every day is a trial period.  And the trial can be called to an end at any instant.  


It is also possible that some thistles would do well as a half-boot, meaning just mornings, just afternoons, or 2-3 days per week.  Then 100% sepper the rest of the week.



Which is why I think it needs to be part of the sepper program.   If the kid is pretending to be sick, or just being a whiney piece of shit, then just be a sepper away from the bootcamp.  

Some kids are a fucking rock and ready for the full 40 hours, plus the nest labor, plus knocking out a few BBs.

You just don't know until you give it a shot.


All of this would require extra energy from all the facilitating folks at Wheaton Labs.  Therefor I also think a more rigorous parental vetting protocol might be in order.  Something along the lines of a questionnaire, with lots of written response items of various situations and contexts, to be evaluated on completely subjective terms by the WL party.  In essence, ask the parent - if you truly think this will be a marvelous experience for your kid, yourself, and everyone at wheaton labs, please paint me a very clear picture of how it will look.  What if this happens?  What if your kids does this?  What if someone else does this?

It could potentially also have a greater fee for accommodating the greater energy expense in hosting.  



Fuck - that sounds like a lot of work.  I have enough stuff going on.  And the bootcamp does too.

I like the idea of figuring something out that is simple and effective.  Something that will benefit us and benefit the industrious, good people (kids and parents).  

I really like the idea that some 16 year old kid is the powerhouse and somehow drags their parent into this. That would be kick ass.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I really like the idea that some 16 year old kid is the powerhouse and somehow drags their parent into this. That would be kick ass.



Maybe that is the thing then.  The kid is treated like a boot - they must fill out their own survery, have their own interactions, etc.  

When someone says "can my kid come too," the answer would be "If they want to, have them join the bootcamp waiting list."

Maybe that's already how you do it . . .
 
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I think entering into some agreement with people under 18 sounds like a breeding ground for trouble.  I think the discussion needs to be with adults or things can get weird.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I think entering into some agreement with people under 18 sounds like a breeding ground for trouble.  I think the discussion needs to be with adults or things can get weird.



Shnikes, this is complicated.

So it needs to be like a co-signer agreement.  Where if the kid is lame, it is the guardian's fault.  It seems like that should be obvious and customary, but it is so often not the case . . .
 
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Seems like it might be simpler to say everyone under 18 is permitted only as a sepper with a guardian.  Then they can join the bootcamp when they want.  But the guardian must feed and keep them safe whenever they bail.  Then I guess if they prove they can hack it, they can join the bootcamp proper.  
 
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Beau Davidson wrote:

Maybe that is the thing then.  The kid is treated like a boot - they must fill out their own survery, have their own interactions, etc.  

When someone says "can my kid come too," the answer would be "If they want to, have them join the bootcamp waiting list."

Maybe that's already how you do it . . .



That won’t work, kids need parental supervision and guidance. Some kids are good kids willing to do the work but have no idea how. If they. What if they get picked and a parent can’t go. The Sepper program works better for this. I’m with Paul on this. Yah it’d be great for a kid to lead the charge but that’s not the norm. As a parent it is my responsibility to instill good qualities and a love of learning of all types into my kids. It’s my responsibility to teach them responsibility and stewardship  for themselves, others, things, and the world around them. That what they do and their attitude impacts the environment in which we live, our circumstances and the world at large. That respect for human kind and each person even if they haven’t earned it shows bearing on who they are ultimately not who others are to them. That those older than is deserve a certain level of respect simply because they’ve had more life experiences bot necessarily because they’ve handled them well. I’ve met adults who were far less mature then my 11 year old but we still call them ma’am and sir Mr. and Mrs. because respect and politeness also protect both parties realizing there should always be a teacher/student, mentor/pupil relationship with minors period. Having my kids sign up for an adult job when they may not be ready for that responsibility but could do very well with increments of successive responsibility, makes me incredibly uncomfortable. No other adult should have that responsibility in their lives but my husband and I as their parents. My kids and I have been pondering on different soul labour and els labor that we can contribute. If you to tightly define what kids can contribute you may push one harder then they can rise to the challenge and hold another back that would greatly exceed your expectations. What Paul has tentatively set up so far (now this is without actually having experienced it, just through videos snd what I’ve been able to read about) sounds doable. We’re incredibly excited to try this but without knowing exactly what it will entail can’t commit for certain it may not work at all. I’m determined to try, we need the skills to badly but let’s not over complicate it especially since it’s a tentative program at this point.
 
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Beau Davidson wrote:Seems like it might be simpler to say everyone under 18 is permitted only as a sepper with a guardian.  Then they can join the bootcamp when they want.  But the guardian must feed and keep them safe whenever they bail.  Then I guess if they prove they can hack it, they can join the bootcamp proper.  



It sounds like this is the way Paul and everyone there has decided to do it.
 
paul wheaton
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We just had two parents come through, each with one kid.  And we tried this stuff out.  Seems to have worked out fine.

So there is potential!
 
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paul wheaton wrote:We just had two parents come through, each with one kid.  And we tried this stuff out.  Seems to have worked out fine.

So there is potential!



Yay! We’re excited to try it. Seriously this is a dream come true and to know I don’t have to give up on my dreams because other people don’t want to deal with kids, is such an amazing and hope filled feeling. Thank you Paul for trying to find a solution and not just condemning everyone for a few bad apples.
 
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I think we can do kids under 12 if they have BB20.

 
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paul wheaton wrote:I think we can do kids under 12 if they have BB20.



Seems legit.
 
paul wheaton
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Another tidbit:  on the evening before starting, i sat down with the two parents and the two kids and went over the rules.  I also threw in a reminder that the gub'mint has labeled them as "minors" and through this label restricts what they get to do - mostly because of the poor behavior of minors over the centuries.  So they are to be thoroughly punished until they are 18.  

 
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A day in the life of a boot at Wheaton Labs:

 
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Paul, it looks like I’ll be there with my kids in 1-2 weeks (we’re doing some visiting on the way) what arrangements do I need to make with you or whoever is in charge of Thistle/Sepper before we get there?
 
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Kathleen Nelson wrote:Paul, it looks like I’ll be there with my kids in 1-2 weeks (we’re doing some visiting on the way) what arrangements do I need to make with you or whoever is in charge of Thistle/Sepper before we get there?



Sent you a PM, Kathleen.
 
paul wheaton
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Looks like Beau has you taken care of ...
 
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