Longstanding Woolman Semester program in Nevada City suspended for fall

Editor’s note: I received this email. I hope this 12-year-old program can be restarted, at least in some form. Over the years, 307 alumni have enjoyed the benefits of the program. Woolman is a nonprofit educational community originally founded in 1963 as a Quaker high school. Woolman has been offering a high school semester program, summer camp, community activities, and it has an organic farm. John Woolman, an 18th century Quaker human rights activist, inspired the name for the school. We enjoyed visiting Woolman for a farm-to-table dinner in 2013, where the students were involved.

“Dear Friends of The Woolman Semester School and Sierra Friends Center,

“It is with a heavy heart that we write to inform you that earlier this month the Board of the College Park Friends Educational Association decided not to go forward with offering the Woolman Semester program in the fall of 2016.

“This choice was made for a number of reasons: some longstanding and others that came to light just recently. Faced with a very real question of whether we could live up to our vision and commitments for the Woolman Semester program, the Board accepted the staff’s recommendation not to go forward at this time. This was an extremely difficult decision.

“The Board and staff are currently considering scenarios that can continue to realize the mission and programs of Sierra Friends Center, including the Woolman Semester. We expect in the coming months to work on our infrastructure, develop and implement plans to achieve financial sustainability, and live more fully into our mission and values.

“Our mission is to steward diverse learning communities and educational programs that weave together spirituality, peace, sustainability and social action. Our lives and work embody a vision for peace and justice achieved through learning and service.

“We would like to express enormous gratitude to those of you who have supported the Woolman Semester in countless ways over the past 12 years. Thanks to your help, and the contribution from teachers, staff, and interns, 307 alumni enjoyed the benefits of the program and are carrying a little piece of Woolman out into the world.

“During our planning process, we will be renting our facilities to like-minded groups for workshops and retreats. One of our visions is to develop programs for a variety of audiences that build on the strengths of the Woolman Semester curriculum, Camp Woolman, and our organic garden. Please contact the Sierra Friends Center office at (530) 273-3183 if you would like to rent our facilities or offer a workshop.

“Peace and blessings,

“Gray Horwitz, Head of School, Sierra Friends Center
Sandra Schwartz, Clerk of the Board of the College Park Friends Educational Association”

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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