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Field Academy Community Jam


The Field Academy Community Jam

Aug 1-5 –  Earthdance, Plainfield, MA


Seven years ago, the first group of students from the Field Academy took up the adventure of helping create a new kind of school and  since then, our community has grown and changed in so many incredible ways. To celebrate this, to deepen our connection and commitment to each other, and to help imagine and envision what comes next, we are BEYOND excited to invite you to the first-ever Field Academy Community Jam!


So… Are you thinking: YES! I’m IN, but… uh, guys, what’s a JAM??  ;)

A Jam is a gathering of people who come together to explore a series of questions, and to create, together, a space that helps people learn about themselves, about each other, and about making change in our broader context, systems, and communities.


Kind of like when musicians come together to jam, the content of each jam is different because its co-created by the people who are there.  Jen and Heather have been working with an organization named YES! that helps facilitate jams all over the world. Since 2013, there have been four Education Transformation Jams.  Our Field Academy Jam will be one of over 20 jams happening this year, you can read more about them here!


**For anyone who knows about Jams, but is new to the Field Academy – what is the Field Academy!?

The Field Academy is a traveling high school community that is made up of incredible students, teachers, and community partners across the U.S.  We bring together a learning community for 5-7 weeks each summer to deeply explore critical issues in a region of the United States and we focus on learning from and with the places, people, communities in that region. You can read more about our values, programs, and vision  here.


How will the Field Academy Community Jam work?

First, you apply.  That application is a chance for you to share some of the big questions, ideas, challenges, hopes, dreams, fears, and experiences that are really alive and important to you right now.  We’ll gather all of these amazing applications and create a flow for our time together. Then, we’ll all gather at Earthdance, a retreat center in Western, MA, for FIVE DAYS and spend the time hanging out, reconnecting, learning new tools and ideas, and envisioning what we want for the future of this community.  We’ll have a team Field Academy folks and YES! Facilitators to help guide us as we co-create our time together. 


Is everyone coming? Who is coming!?

We have 30 spots total for this program and they are open to alumni, teachers, partners, supporters, advisors, and others who have been part of this community.  We are definitely prioritizing spots for alumni and have some donated funds to support transportation for folks coming from far away (see below for more detail).  We’d also like to extend five of these spots to past participants from YES!’s Education Transformation Jams who are interested in learning from/with the Field Academy.  Over the past few years, we’ve had a number of Field Academy graduates attend the Education Transformation Jam and we feel like lots of connection, cross-pollination, and inspiration might come from inviting some new perspectives and experiences into the room!  In the end, we’re hoping that everyone who wants to be there, can be – let us know what you need to make it possible for you to be there!


Why a Field Academy Community Jam now?

We are in a moment, politically, socially, environmentally, economically where individuals, communities, and systems are shifting.  After a year of sabbatical and exploration, we can feel, too, that the Field Academy is in a moment of transition… leaning into how we can best help nurture a healing and just world through the kind of educational community we’re building.


Over the last seven years,  the Field Academy has created and nurtured relationships, culture, traditions, practices, inquiry, tools, and skills that are simultaneously ancient and new. We have built something dynamic and stretchy that allows us to care for each other and also take risks as we explore and learn about ourselves, each other, and the country we live in.  What have we learned? How can we best put that in service of the bold movements for change and justice? What’s next for the Field Academy?


Here are some of the questions we’re inviting us all to explore:

  • What is alive for me in my education or my learning journey right now?
  • What is the purpose of my education at this moment?
  • What is the significance of the Field Academy community at this moment in the United States?
  • What is the type of world I want to live in? How can I help to make that real?
  • How can the Field Academy support our wildest hopes, dreams and questions for the world we want to live in?


Why you?

Because you are an incredible part of the web that is the Field Academy. You bring unique perspectives and experiences – both of your time with the Field Academy and in your life before and since. You have, each of you in different ways, helped to create what the Field Academy is today.  We want to invite you to be a part of helping to dream what it can emerge into.


Also, did we mention that we want to hang out with you? And for each of you to hang out with each other!? This community of people is amazing and stretches across this entire country.  We can’t wait to be together. Can’t. Wait.


Who is putting this on?

As we said above, we’re working with an amazing organization called YES! to help create this jam.  YES! supports personal, interpersonal, and systemic changemaking around the globe and was started by two teenagers in 1990.  We are also grateful to have the support of Invoking the Pause – a foundation that supports “pauses” or retreats that help bring forth bold solutions to the climate crisis.  The combination of these organizational partners feels really powerful and exciting to us. We also know, as with everything the Field Academy has ever done, it will be a co-creation with all of you.  As you’re filling out your application (here!) let us know what you are excited to bring to our time together because that is what’s going to make it awesome.


Dates, Venue, & Cost

The Field Academy Community Jam will take place from August 1-5 at Earthdance in Plainfield, MA.  With the support of Invoking the Pause, we are able to cover much of the cost of this gathering (woohoo!).  We are asking folks, if you are able, to consider contributing to help cover some basic food and lodging costs at a level that you are able.  A guideline for thinking about this is:

$400 – covers all food/lodging (if you’re fully employed and/or able to contribute)

$250 – covers $50/day for food & lodging

$100 – covers $20/day towards food

$25-50 – helps cover a couple of meals ( if you’re a current student, between jobs, or on a tight/fixed budget, contributing at whatever level works for you is great!)


But please know, as always, that our number one priority is that you can be here and present for the time and that we value the contributions of your time, energy, wisdom, creativity, and kindness over all else.  If you’re worrying about the cost of this, please give us a shout. We definitely don’t want anyone to stress and are happy to help think through how to make it work!


Also, will you need financial support for traveling from far away? Trying to figure out how you’ll get to MA? We can help! Please note that on your application and we’ll be in touch.


Other questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out.  You can email jen@fieldacademy.org or heather@fieldacademy.org . And you can be sure that we will be psyyyyyched to hear from you!