Gerard “Gerry” has been a practicing outdoor educator for over ten years, mostly in the form of primitive skills and nature awareness as well as being a practicing martial artist for over 20 years. As his search for creative education led him from after school programs to wilderness therapy, Oliverian drew him with its alternative approach and beautiful location closely set in nature and within a small and supportive community.
Gerry draws upon his teachings of martial arts, Taoism, and meditation to find the compassion to ease the struggles of others, which has come in use during his own travels and with his work in other organizations. Having graduated from a small rural college with a degree in Outdoor Education: Sterling College, he feels comfortable in places more inhabited with wildlife than and is happy to share that passion with others!
Drawing upon countless outdoor trips while living in small groups of people, Gerry is familiar with the dynamics that may arise in such situations and has gained skills to sustain group and individual harmony. Gerry is likely to be spotted among the berry patches on an animal tracking walk, or out practicing yoga in the early morning. Perhaps he may be heard playing his Berimbau, an African instrument used in the martial art of Capoeira, or walking with his wife, Laura, and talking about gardening.
What do you love most about Oliverian?
I have been most struck by the resiliency and diversity of all things at Oliverian. Although being out in the countryside, it is clear to me that Oliverian’s students and faculty bring much to the table from life experiences to places they call home and amazing classes that are offered. The trips and events that are planned are all so interesting and different, it is hard to imagine things could ever be boring here. The smiling faces of the faculty members and the good vibes of the students make me feel like this is a place I could spend a long time!
What motivates you to work with kids?
Having had my own struggles in high school, I found the light at the end of the tunnel through outdoor skills and a passion for nature and culture which inspired me to share what has brought me to happiness with younger generations. One day, when I am an old man, I hope to be able to look around me and see a younger generation caring for our fragile planet that has been nurtured by compassion and love and much accumulated wisdom of environmental and humane stewardship that is bringing humanity in a positive direction.