For over a year, some of us involved in the Shakti’s School of the Lost Arts have been tossing around the idea of a Shakti Badge program. You know, like the Girl Scouts or Boys Scouts, but cooler. ;) After months of thinking about it, a group of us met last week to start hashing out a program. We are in the middle of sorting out the details and building the infrastructure, however, I am happy to report that we plan to launch by this fall. Woot!
Why a Shakti Badge program, you may ask? To find out the why as well as to get a sneak peek at what badges to expect. Our intrepid Shakti reporter, Luna McFeisty, sat down with Kim over tea to get the deets.
LM: Thank you, Kim, for agreeing to meet with me today. I am going to start off with the question at the forefront of everyone’s mind: Why did Shakti in the Mountains want to develop a badge program?
KBM: Hi Luna! It is my pleasure to sit down with you and talk about the new Shakti Badge program. This badge program is something that I have wanted to see at Shakti for a long time. Back in 2014, we attempted to get a Shakti Scouts program up and running, but unfortunately did not have the bandwidth to sustain the idea. As with all things, it just wasn’t the right time. We currently have the people and the resources available to make it happen, which is very exciting.
Okay, now to answer your question about why.
As you know, Luna, part of Shakti’s mission is to provide a supportive environment where people feel empowered to take action which contributes to their and the community’s wellbeing. One way to empower people is to give them tools that foster creativity, teach problem-solving, and encourage self-sufficiency. In a nutshell, we are talking about skill-building: a goal which requires practice and mentorship. The purpose of the Shakti Badge Program is to make skill building, and sharing, fun.
LM: What kind of fun are we talking about here?
Thank you Ellen for a wonderful workshop last week! We made microgreen containers during the Kitchen Gardening workshop and we got to try three different types of sprouts.
KBM: Nerd-fun! I define nerd-fun as the type of fun that gives you permission to explore new ideas that take you down unexpected rabbit holes. I also think nerd-fun implicitly implies that it is okay to ask a lot of questions. I don’t know about your experience, Luna, but when I was in school, it was not cool to be the kid who raised their hand “too much.” I hope that people who want to participate in the Shakti Badge program feel super comfortable with not only asking questions but also asking to design a badge.
LM: How much work will it take to earn one badge?
KBM: I don’t have an exact time commitment but what I can tell you is there is no deadline for completing badge requirements. Everyone is encouraged to work at their own pace. We want the program to be enjoyable – not arduous. Would it be helpful to know what the Badge team has outlined for badge requirements?
LM: Very much so!
KBM: There will be three components for each badge: Learning, Experience and Sharing. Another way to say that is training, practicing and applying. Each category will have 1 to 4 criteria and some of the criteria are designed so you can pick what activity appeals to you most. We want folks to feel like they have options and can choose the best way for them to learn or practice or apply a new skill. Because Shakti in the Mountains is all about fostering interdependence, each badge provides an opportunity to reduce your environmental impact as well as an opportunity to give back to the community.
The Shakti Badge meeting included delicious food. We are off to a good start.
LM: Can you share some of the badges your team is cooking up for this fall?
KBM: I can’t give specific badge names out yet. (We have a meeting this week to get those details.) But I can tell you some of the topics we know we want to cover. Definitely there will be an opportunity to build skills in the fiber arts. Other broad topics are herbalism, body movement, writing, cooking/preserving food, magical life, first aid, music, and mindfulness. We also are open to suggestions. If you have an idea, then we would like to hear it!
LM: Fun! Last question, for now: Will there really be physical badges for people to earn?
KBM: There really will. We are designing badges that folks can put on a sash or a hat or a jean jacket or whatever. We also plan on having a ceremony each season recognizing badge earners as well as an excuse to eat delicious food together.
LM: Thank you, Kim, for sitting down with me and giving our readers a sneak peek about your new program.
KBM: Thank you, Luna, for wanting to spread the word and promote Shakti in the Mountains’ newest adventure. Hope to see you at our next Makerspace Open Hours (2-5 pm) this Friday!
LM: Will there be food?
KBM: Most definitely! In fact we are having a community potluck dinner immediately following Makerspace at 5 pm.
LM: I’m there!
Wishing everyone a wonderful week!
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where people could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Kim is a licensed professional counselor and a yoga teacher. She completed the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy program as well as the Shake Your Soul Yoga Dance program. Kim is very interested in somatic expressive therapy, archetypal psychology, gardening, herbalism, astrology, wisdom traditions, and regenerative economics.
Kim continues to build and to support inclusive, vibrant communities. She spends most of her time mentoring leaders, guiding healing programs, and providing mental health counseling.
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