When people hear the words new school, they probably think of a nervous child taking their first steps into a new environment, surrounded by people they don’t know and buildings they don’t recognise.
The New Boy
This was me two weeks ago, though I wasn’t a new child, I was a new case worker joining the Running Deer family and similarly to a kid starting at a brand new school I had a cocktail of feelings to contend with, including apprehension, nervousness and excitement. To me this was a new situation and I had no idea what to really expect, all I knew was that this was a new challenge I was ready to face head on. I was The New Boy!
The moment you walk through that wooden gate in the morning you immediately appreciate that Running Deer isn’t your typical school. Instead of concrete buildings and asphalt playgrounds you’re surrounded by trees, fresh air and dogs greeting staff and students alike. As you venture further into Wulf camp the smell of burning logs greets you whilst the staff stand around discussing the upcoming day and the challenges that come with it.
As a new member of staff walking into the camp I was immediately greeted and welcomed by all with handshakes, warm smiles and friendly words and immediately you know that you’re welcome here. Being the new boy also means you have absolutely no idea where anything is and you spend the majority of your first day asking for clarity or help with instructions, to some people this would be irritating though at no point was I made to feel a burden and no question was ignored or unanswered.
When the young people arrive it’s not like watching students at school walking through a big metal gate all wearing the same uniform. At Running Deer individuality is allowed to flourish with elaborate hats on display and outfits intended to keep the wearer warm in the woods. Even the classrooms for the lessons have a vibe that belongs to Running Deer, with Harry the education dog ready to greet students inside and Wulf and Willow lounging outside.
To conclude Running Deer is obviously its own incredible entity, that belongs to the students who are able to realise and develop their massive amounts of potential in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable. Alongside the team of case workers, teachers and other staff who all genuinely care and will go miles out of their way to help any student who needs it – as well as new staff.
Whilst I was the new boy I certainly didn’t feel like it!