Since May of 2008 I've poured my heart into creating an unschooling event that was unique, supportive and of the highest caliber. I've loved it. I've loved you. I've loved evolving to better serve the community, my family and myself. And it's time to make another change. (Come on, I know you're not surprised!)
It's with much thought and deep deliberation that I have made the decision to no longer organize unschooling events.
The reasons are many and varied and personal. There was no straw that broke the camel's back; sometimes things just come to their natural end. I do not take this lightly so I've sat with this choice for some time to be sure. It's not an easy decision to let go of something that I've built for so long and with so much effort. It's sad to think that my family won't be seeing so many of our friends each September. It's difficult to admit the truth: carrying the responsibility, expectations and needs of 500 people while complying with contractual limitations and personal liability is overwhelming.
This is where I want to explain everything. Instead I will just tell you that it all boils down to this: My heart simply isn't in it anymore.
I don't want to disappoint anyone, especially the families who benefit so much. The families who are so excited for next year's event. The families who I enjoy so much. The families who are so sweetly connected to their kids that it makes me teary. I don't want to disappoint you. I enjoy you so much. You are one of the true highlights of my life and I miss you the 51 weeks of the year we aren't together.
But this isn't just a picnic in the park that I can throw together with a few invitations and a trip to the store for hamburgers. It requires a significant amount of completely voluntary time and effort and that's not something I am willing to give anymore. As much as I have loved this, it's time for me to shift my attention to the next thing I'm feeling called to create with my skills and experience. I can't do both.
Unschoolers have many opportunities to gather. New events pop up every year and some are big formal affairs like this one was and some are small casual get togethers at a campground or water park. They all have their merits and I love that we have so many choices. Many of these events are run by friends and I wholeheartedly support them, as always. Unschoolers are well supported and have many resources and networks available to thrive.
I wonder about all the families who don't have such support. What about the ones who come to this site and would love to attend but "oh, we're not unschoolers"? I feel pulled to create a brand new experience that applies to all families, not just unschooling ones. The principles and practices that I hold most dear do not belong to an educational philosophy. The universal desires to build strong relationships with our kids while also honoring ourselves will be the heart of my new endeavors. I don't know of many opportunities for moms to go on retreat with their kids; to have a chance to fill their own social and creative needs while still taking the time to connect with and learn more about their own kids. So I'm creating small and intimate retreats focused on connection. Time for moms to chat and play, time for kids to chat and play and time for both to come together in meaningful and memorable ways. I hope to move Wide Sky Days around the country increasing the opportunity for more families to attend by reducing the time and expense of travel. The details are still forming and I'm excited about the possibilities. My heart is in this.
Yours may not be and I understand. Wide Sky Days is no longer about unschooling. It is no longer a large production with all the bells and whistles. These changes are not made with the intention to abandon my current and past attendees and yet I know that this event no longer works for or appeals to many of you. Please know that I want you to devote your vacation time and budget to what your family needs. If you want to attend an unschooling conference, I recommend Life is Good in Vancouver, WA and the Northeast Unschooling Conference in Salem, MA.
I've been changed by all of this, by all of you. The most profound gratitude fills me when I think about what we've done together. The things that I have learned! Event production, website management, community, relationships, conflict, perception, assumptions, ego, me. What I can do and where I have absolutely no control. It's been an adventure with surprises around every corner and the certainty of success. There are no regrets about any of it and I hold so many moments in the deepest parts of my heart. Each person who has supported this conference and each lovely person who has attended is so very cherished. You are all amazing and my family's life has been incredibly blessed to have your friendship. We look forward to many more times together as our paths continue to cross.
I also look very much forward to what Wide Sky Days will become, yet again, and all of those with whom I will share the experience. Please stay in touch and be well. I love you all. And to all of you I have yet to meet, hello.
Peace and light,
Flo Gascon, Director of Events