Philosophy





Many people attend LOTS classes to achieve a high level of proficiency in survival techniques, outdoor knowledge, martial art, or living Appalachian history. Our goal as a school is something deeper, and a little more sublime!

Our mission is building a relationship with and appreciation of the natural world through hands on learning. In addition, students build social skills through teamwork practice and peer teaching.  Traditional martial arts practice develops respect, discipline, courage and perseverance.

If someone built a fire by friction and asked, "So did I get what you wanted to teach me?" I'd say maybe. But if someone took a few extra minutes by the river to listen to the insects, laid in the rain to feel the cold seep in and pass through them, decided to live each moment fully and in deep gratitude for their family, friends, and our planet, or dedicated their life to teaching about and preserving our greatest natural resources, I'd say "Right on!"

- Spencer

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LOTSWIld Code of Ethics

Land of the Sky Wilderness School is a challenge based program.  Our goal is to use progressive learning and experiences to build competent adventurers, outdoors folks, and a deep natural awareness through the study of primitive and modern skills.  The following ethics code is designed to ensure the safety and respect for all participants and provide a vision for how we do things.  The Code is read aloud to every participant and is covered in greater detail with staff members.

1.      Challenges are voluntary.  While we encourage participation in every aspect of camp and instruction we also recognize different backgrounds and needs and do not force people into uncomfortable or potentially hazardous situations.
2.       We accept students regardless of beliefs or opinions on political or religious matters, barring only the communication of violence or a consistent lack of respect.  Camp starts and ends with a prayer by the director.  Students are encouraged to use meal circles as a time to share personal thanks, gratitude, songs, poems, or expressions of their own faith.  Respectful debate is always a welcome part of camp and part of our vision for learning and communicating.
3.       LOTSWild supports different types of family or home units and does not tolerate harassment toward alternative or unusual parent situations or housing.
4.       We accept various gender and sexual preferences.  We expect mutual respect for all participants to include recognition of space, language, and gesture as ways to convey said respect.
5.       Parent approved or doctor prescribed medications will not be used as a basis for teasing or hostility.
6.       We welcome different personality types including folks with personal challenges, disorders or dysfunctions that do not pose a threat to the safety of others.  Certain activities may be modified on a case by case basis by staff to ensure safe learning.
7.       Various diets will be accommodated to the best of our ability.  Parents can assist by helping us with ideas or foods for unique situations.
8.       No isolation between any staff and participants/students; personal conferences are conducted within view of another member or with two staff when feasible.
9.       Scaring others through surprise or sounds is not part of our training method.  We recognize that the history of each person is different and unknown, we strive to create an atmosphere that widens our comfort zones and ability to move freely in the world.  This is an incremental process and one not done through shock or intimidation.
10.   Pranking as an honorable art form must be overseen and approved by staff.  Improper sneaking or observation of others outside of prescribed game time is not allowed.  We respect privacy and personal space.
11.    No romantic, personal or affectionate relationships can be expressed within the camp unless participants are adults and have a pre-existing relationship as such.
12.   Language toward and around others is uplifting as much as possible.  Degrading comments or remarks will be addressed on a case by case basis and can lead to disciplinary action.

13.   Electronic devices may not be used to record anyone without their permission.  This includes audio, video, or pictures.  Staff may keep devices for the duration of any camp starting at any time.  No staff member will attempt to open or unlock personal devices.