by Katie Kirchhofer

Before we boarded a ferry to Galiano Island and started our month-long journey for Redfish, there was an excellent list telling us what items we needed to bring, an accurate schedule, and an online leadership introduction course. The only thing that we didn’t get that would have been helpful, was a collection of advice from past Redfish School Of Change graduates. So, as of today Redfish 2018 is starting that collection of advice arranged in no particular order:

  • Relax, you are about to enter one of the most supportive spaces that you have ever experienced.  You will be held lightly and appreciated.
  • Bring some form of a pillow, your neck and back will thank you.
  • “Get over your pride and wear sunscreen.”
  • Gluten toots do not smell very good, take digestion into account when meal planning.
  • Avoid buying new things for the program.  It seems necessary to buy camp specific items at the moment, but you may regret that decision.  Thrift shop for it, borrow it, or substitute it, but also check with the teaching team.
  • Field School courses are not campus courses, no need for emotional breakdowns over the grades.  
  • The group is much more flexible than you may originally think. Guests are possible, breaks can happen, the group will do what they can to meet your needs.
  • Huxley Environmental Education Majors: consider not doing Spring Block right before Redfish.
  • Don’t drink untreated water and get a parasite.  You will have to name it. One of us got a parasite named Tristan.
  • Have an idea for you community action project before you come.
  • Step out for personal time when you need it, it is crucial.
  • Bring some of your favorite snacks for comfort.  You won’t have to personally store them.
  • Find shade and move to it when you need that.
  • Enter as deep into the learning as you can, while still doing self care.
  • Keep yourself clean and avoid raging urinary tract infections.
  • Don’t stress so much, you will do what you can but you will be met where you are.
  • Don’t try to conform to what you think others are, diversity is crucial in this program.  We need to have people to be different.
  • Water shoes are key.  
  • Engage with the space you’re in and the community members that you’re with, while you have the chance.
  • Bring up concerns to the group or teaching team so that we can all work through it or make it a time for learning and growth.
  • Make a community contract that you are proud of.
  • Enjoy every moment, it is a fleeting experience, “so suck the marrow out of it.”

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