Family Getaways: Gather Your Family in the North Cascades

We came to show the younger generation the Upper Skagit, to learn and spend time together in the North Cascades”

— 2018 Family Getaway Parent

For the past 10 years, North Cascades Institute has gathered families in the North Cascades for multi-generational weekend getaways that connect people, nature and community. Each weekend staff provide a full slate of activities and hands-on learning for around 70 visitors who are seeking to get outside and enjoy quality time in this beautiful place.

These programs are made possible by our hardworking staff comprised of Learning Center employees, seasonal instructors and graduate students. Each year this diverse team hosts an average of five Family Getaways serving over 400 children, parents, aunts, uncles, friends and grandparents!

Eric BuherEric Buhler is a M.Ed. candidate in the Institute’s 17th graduate program cohort. His summer Leadership Track role includes coordinating, teaching and managing logistics for these getaways. In this post, Eric shares his experience thus far, having pulled off 2 weekend getaways so far this summer.

From Eric:

Family Getaways is a unique and special program in that its intended audience is multi-generational. We have participants ages 5 to 65, and beyond! Providing programming that is engaging for this broad audience is a wonderful challenge.

I have learned that the children are key in making my programs work. An activity that grabs the attention and energy of an 8 year-old quickly captures that of parents and grandparents as they engage in learning through the eyes of their child(ren).

One of my goals is to facilitate children teaching their parents; a fun reversal of the traditional role. The kids become the experts, and the parents see new depths to their children. In a recent session of “Institute Family Feud,” one father was continually exclaiming with wonder; frequently asking his kids,

Where did you learn about that?”

Another lesson learned this summer is that the families truly drive our programming. At times, the families are right on track with our program, pushing ahead to get the most out of the experience. Other times, the best laid plans are derailed as families’ needs and wants dictate a completely different approach. A large part of the strength of this program is in its flexibility.

We came to have fun and learn and hike and swim and eat. The weekend met our expectations and more because we made lots of friends and learned lots of things about nature.”

Family Getaways in the North Cascades
Mari teaching during 2017 Family Getaways in the North Cascades

Mari Schramm Program CoordinatorMari Schramm, who joined us last summer as a seasonal Naturalist has joined our permanent Learning Center Team as Program Coordinator for Family Getaways and Mountain School. We are grateful to have her experience and knowledge with the program to bring it to life.

Below she shares one of her favorite stories from this summer so far:

Last year, a young child skinned his knee shortly before the closing slideshow. After tending to the grievous wound, a staff member asked if he was still up to attend the show. Bravely, the boy replied, “Okay, but I’m not going to slide.

This year, the same boy returned and proudly slid in his socks over the wooden floor of our Trillium classroom before the whole audience!

[I’ll remember] every time the kids got super-excited about a new fact or skill or activity, which was several times over the weekend.”

An activity-and fun-filled weekend with my family in a comfortable and inviting setting.”

Knowledgeable staff, excellent food, fun riddles. Loved the peppers, pork roast, tamale pie, and scrambled eggs.”

View more photos of 2018 Family Getaways on Flickr

Summer 2018 Family Getaways are SOLD OUT.

The next opportunity for your family to join us will be the weekend following Thanksgiving, November 23-25, 2018. Decompress after the holiday with a relaxing weekend at the Environmental Learning Center — we’ll offer fun and learning for the whole family and do all the cooking (dishes too!) so you’ll have time to connect with your family – and nature – on the shores of Diablo Lake. Reserve your spot to day for Thanksgiving Family Getaway 2018

To be the first to know when we announce the dates for Summer 2019 Family Getaways, sign up for our monthly enewsletter

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