Welcome 8 Shields Institute and California Art of Mentoring Friends

We hope you can join us in Montana!


Featuring  Master Facilitators

Jon Young and Melanie DeMore

Music, Nature, and Storytelling Event Details

September 23-29, 2018

Click or Tap Below for Details

Are You Ready?
  • to immerse in a village experience steeped in powerful connection mentoring?
  • to find your own song and story, grounded in deep connection to nature and self?
  • for a break from social media?
  • for a reset that nourishes you to the bone?
  • for a place to respectfully experience music, movement, and stories from around the world?
  • to invest in your health and spirit as an individual or family?
  • to learn nature connection routines and traditional skills and craft that are both useful and inspiring?
  • to let go of stress, connect through your senses, strengthen your intuition, and fall in love with music and story like never before?


Event Origins and Key Staff

We welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, lineages, and orientations to gather for this family-friendly experience in honor and celebration of our collective story and song on the land — as one human family. 

This first Montana Music, Nature, and Storytelling event has deep roots and a wide canopy. Six years ago, Jon Young and his family, along with many others in the 8 Shields Nature Connection network gathered in Montana for a special event to support local efforts for nature connection mentoring and community here in Montana, as well as gather nature connection leaders from all over the world to strengthen our global network.

This quote from Jon illuminates the baseline we’ll be cultivating through our connections with nature…

“…when we “lose our mind” and “come to our senses” in the fullest possible way, the chattering, texting, e-mailing, twittering mind will eventually quiet down and almost silence itself. This is a sacred and connected silence…It’s like a deep, still pond reflecting the stars of the night sky. I believe this is the baseline for human consciousness, and I’m convinced that the birds are the best mentors in the natural world for bringing us to it.” -Jon Young, What the Robin Knows

At that event six years ago Jon and Ravenwood director, Brett Holmquist, set an intention to gather again in Montana someday to focus on the unique power of music, storytelling, and nature to create deeper connections and awareness across the entire relationship spectrum, healing and lifting our spirits as individuals and as a community.

…and now the time has come!

We are absolutely THRILLED to announce Melanie DeMore as a Keynote Facilitator for this special event. Read Melanie’s bio here and get ready for an electrifying experience as we learn the tradition and art of Stick Pounding and spend the entire week learning from this master teacher.

Our dear friend and grammy award winning musician, Victor Wooten (creator of Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature), also inspired us to further explore the special connection between nature and music and the telling of our own individual and community stories through art.

Regretfully, Victor couldn’t be with us in person for this first event but he’ll be with us in spirit and we’re hoping we can connect via live video call with him sometime during the week. Here’s a gem from the bass master himself to get you in the mood for this incredible experience…

“If you stopped playing notes, Music would still exist.” -Victor Wooten, The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music

We’re in conversation with several other powerful mentors and instructors and will post their stories here as they confirm. So, check back often and get fired up for September in Montana!

Our Site

The event takes place on a small lake in the forested hills of ancient glacial till at the base of the Swan Mountains, just minutes from Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park, and the 1.5 million+ acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. We’ll be gathering at Grizzly Base Boy Scout Camp which rests on the occupied ancestral homelands of the Ktunaxa (Kootenai) Nation and the northeastern most reach of the Ql’ispé (Pend d’Oreille or Kalispel) and Séliš (Salish or Flathead).

We extend our gratitude and support to these proud nations as well as the Montana Council of Boys Scouts of America. A percentage of registration fees will be offered to support wellness initiatives among our local tribal communities. If you’d like to offer an additional gift or donation individually, please let us know and we’ll help facilitate.

Expect some moderate exercise moving around the site as hills dominate the landscape. There are well established trails and roads throughout and off trail travel is welcome and encouraged as well.

The land and waters are still wild and fully alive here in Montana. Come experience sharing space with grizzlies, elk, wolves, mountain lions, wolverine, lynx…all the original species (plus a few newcomers!) are here with so much to teach if we prepare ourselves to learn. What song, what teaching, what story can we hear when we listen fully and with heart?

What happens when we share these songs and stories with each other? How will this help us to live in a good way and be of service to others? Let’s find out, together!

What To Expect

We’re so excited to be with you for a week of immersion in nature connection and mentoring practices, catching songs and stories, celebrating, dancing, reflecting, community building, and healing. The gathering will be facilitated by a veteran team of expert mentors with a commitment to balancing masculine and feminine and representing a variety of life stages.

Youth (ages 6-12) and Teen (ages 13-17) programs will run concurrently with Adult sessions during the day with evenings and most meals all together. Parents of young children (ages 5 and under) will be encouraged to create cooperative support among your cohort to allow a balance between adult sessions and time with your little ones.

As the week unfolds and relationships are built, you’ll experience a tremendous spirit of village life and support as a parent and we welcome your feedback and expressed needs to help us support you in any way we can. Plan to allow that process to develop naturally with more time self-supporting at the beginning of the week and more community support as the week moves along.

Each day typically begins with a rolling breakfast followed by an all ages opening gathering with songs and stories to help us move into connection with the land and each other. Imagine children and elders dancing and singing in rhythm with smiles and laughter intertwined with the song of the land and the birds to start your day:)

From there we’ll sort into kid and adult groups for the heart of the day with age appropriate sessions for each group. Everyone will experience some version of the “Core Routines of Connection” to help us get in “tune” with nature and ourselves.

The key experience for the week will be a core routine called “sit spot,” in which you routinely visit a single location on the land and nurture a quiet mind so that music and creative expression can arise. We’ll weave lots of fun and meaningful adventures, music and story-making in with the foundation of sit spot and build toward a culmination celebration at the end of the week that will knock your socks right off!

Each afternoon we’ll follow nature’s flow and take some time to rest, wander, and release. Find solace by the lake, swim, sleep, whatever you (and your family) need for self care. We’ll gather again in the evening for a delicious and hearty meal followed by a very special campfire session each night for all to harvest and share the fruits of the day through story and song.

Let’s experience renewal together through music, nature, and story, you are welcome here!


Accommodations, Food, and Travel Info


The event takes place at Grizzly Base Boy Scout Camp near Bigfork, Montana.

Tent Camping and Meals included with participation fee.

RV Camping (pull campers and motor coaches) is available for $50 for the week. Only 12 spots available, by reservation, first come, first served.

Cabin rental (by reservation, first come, first served): $100 for the week. Each cabin has two bunk beds (four single beds total). No electricity or heat, just a simple, clean shelter.

 **RV Camping and Cabin Rentals are reserved during your online registration process



We’ll be serving lots of great local and organic food during the event. Here in Montana, the end of September is prime time for bringing in the harvest from the mountains with apples, chokecherries, and high altitude huckleberries at their peak along with loads of garden vegetables. We’ll have hunters donating venison and local farmers/ranchers providing as much of our animal protein as possible.

Be sure to include your food preferences and allergies when you register and we’ll do everything we can to provide you with what you need.


Verizon is the dominant cell carrier in our area and there is strong reception at the site if you are a Verizon customer. Other carriers are weak at best. There is no internet or wi-fi available at the site. Please plan to use your mobile devices as little as absolutely necessary. Switching to airplane mode is a great way to give yourself a break from the endless stream of information from the rest of the world so you can stay present with what is happening in the place where you are and still snap a few photos for the future generations:)

We’ll provide you with an emergency contact number in the orientation packet after you register.

Emergency Services:

We are just 10 minutes from two different EMS stations and about 25 minutes from the nearest hospital in Kalispell

Air and Train Travel:

Glacier International Airport is 25 minutes away from the site and connects daily with Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake City, Calgary, and several other major transportation hubs.

The Empire Builder Amtrak station in Whitefish is 40 minutes away from our site and connects daily with Seattle, Portland, and Chicago.

Uber and Lyft services are available in our area, though can be spotty during off peak hours.

Arrow Shuttle is our recommended shuttle/taxi service.

Fees, Deposits, and Cancellation Policy

Fee Schedule:   

                                     Early Bird (through 8/30/18)                       Standard

Elders                                   $545 US                                                     $595 US

Adults                                   $695 US                                                     $745 US

Teens (13-17)                       $445 US                                                     $495 US

Youth (6-12)                         $325 US                                                     $375 US

Children (0-5)                       $0                                                               $0


All Ravenwood programs have a 25% non-refundable deposit to secure registration. Final payment is due two weeks before the start of the program.

Cancellation Policy:

If Ravenwood is notified of a cancellation at least 7 full days before the start time of a program, then all but the deposit amount will be refunded.  If notified before 7 full days of the program start time, the entire non-refundable deposit is eligible to be transferred as credit for future programs only for the individual who was originally registered and only through the end of the calendar year following the original registration.  In order to be eligible for a deposit credit transfer, Ravenwood must be notified of this intent at the time of cancellation.

If cancellation notification is given within 7 full days of the program start time, no refund will be issued.  In this situation, we will offer a 50% credit of the non-refundable deposit amount toward a future program for the originally registered individual taking place before the end of the calendar year following the original registration. In order to be eligible for any deposit credit transfer, Ravenwood must be notified of this intent at the time of cancellation.


Click Here to Register


Frequently Asked Questions…

Q:  Are there showers available?

A:  Yes!  The site is a BOY scout camp so there are five showers in what they use a men’s room (with urinals) and only two in the ladies room. We can get creative and make sure to balance access to the showers, perhaps by switching up the rooms entirely if more ladies than men register or by making a switch halfway through the week so each has equal time with more shower access. It’s an on demand system so no worries about getting a hot shower either way:)


Q:  More questions and answers to come…check back later!











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Our Mentoring Lineage

Our Mentoring Lineage

The Family Tree

Click Here to learn about some very special mentors in our nature connection lineage!



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Phone: 406-260-8620