Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma Mosaic!

Posted by Ben, Karen, and Kristy on 4/26/2018

Wow… today is our last full day at Mosaic! Today brought all of the week's learning together.

Earlier in the week we learned about recognizing, accepting and celebrating the differences that make us unique. Yesterday's theme was “interconnectedness.”  We start each day with a quote after breakfast, and the quote today was from John Muir:  “When you tug on any one thing, you’ll find it is hitched to everything else in the universe.” Each morning, some mysterious visitors also visit from the future, who lay down a challenge to us as change makers of the future. 
A lot of game-tivities happen in sharing circles, and yesterday we shared about the difference between being passive (allowing someone to invade you or your space), aggressive (invading someone else’s space) and assertive (standing up for yourself or “being strong without being mean”). We noticed that some of our greatest heroes who were peaceful changemakers like Rosa Parks, Ghandi and Dr. King, practiced being assertive and standing up for what was right without hurting themselves or others in the process. We also talk about how to be allies and stand up for/support one another without taking sides. 
There is also a lot of magic up here at Mosaic, and today’s interconnectedness theme also connected us with nature. The kids go on hikes in their sharing group, and find mysterious maps and messages from the Redwood Tree Spirit. The hike is also stunning, and afforded us opportunities to touch and smell a wild mint (yerba buena) and hear the call of the mysterious Hermit Thrush. 
We ended Wednesday with one of our favorite activities—the “Very Unusual Dinner,” which simulates the distribution of wealth and resources in the world (while still getting equal food). In our simulation, all kids have the opportunity to change the world and re-create it as they would ideally envision it. And, indeed they did—building a model for community and connectedness based on equity that we can all learn from and hope to emulate. Our PDS kids always make us proud here at Mosaic—taking their leadership and allyship skills and putting them into practice with the larger community. Wednesday night, we had an extra challenge as the area lost power for a while (wild turkeys!), and we had sandwiches for dinner while our pizzas waited to be cooked (we had them for lunch today). All the kids handled this setback really well, and, as always, we love seeing how they will approach and solve the simulation each year. 
Overall, we’ve been so impressed with this group’s support of one another and their ability to extend themselves to others, whether sharing their feelings with cabin mates, solving an issue with the whole group, enjoying the magic in the air and the pairing up for deep conversations with kids they don’t know and who may be  different from them. The initial homesickness some of our students felt Monday night has definitely turned into “missing Mosaic” feelings as we prepare to head back home. 

As April is national poetry month and today is “poem in your pocket day”, we started off the last full day today by having teacher time with Ben leading us in a poetry activity. Students were given different poems to keep in their pocket and read their poem to different partners. Students were then given the opportunity to reflect and write their own poems about their time at Mosaic, a way to reflect on this transformational week. 

We then attended "Conflict Resolution College" and learned the steps to solving problems. Mosaic even has a new way of looking at conflicts: It's not me against you, it’s you and me, together, against the problem. The students all practiced the steps to conflict resolution. 1) Stop and take a breath, 2) Listen to each other, 3) Talk using "I statements", 4) Empathize and 5) Plan a solution. Students received their diplomas (both paper and cookie) upon successful completion of the rigorous examination of conflict resolution. Students had a special pizza lunch and each person got to practice writing and sharing an "I-statement” on how to share their feelings with others in a constructive and assertive manner. 
This afternoon brought on the ultimate challenge, a culmination of the Mosaic week: the Peanut Butter Booger Snot Fire River (or something to that effect). Working together and using all of the Mosaic Values as well as tools like assertiveness, listening, empathy and "I" statements, each group successfully navigated the treacherous obstacle. After overeating at the burrito dinner (which ended with a refreshing ice cream dessert), we were treated to our final campfire. This group of kids, now bonded by their shared experience, sang their hearts out, and cheered and laughed together.
The night ended with a special ceremony, a candle lit solo walk, signifying their departure from Mosaic. While our children will leave Mosaic as individuals, their path is now lighted by what they've learned in this place, beneath these trees and amongst these friends.