When Woolman Semester students arrive on campus they may be welcomed by a gregarious toddler, a 4 year-old on a bicycle, a 12 year-old in the office reading the newspaper's comics, the Admissions Director, or another Woolman faculty. All of them are members of the Sierra Friends Center community. Sharing meals and dish crews in the Dining Hall, music on the DH deck, or a game of Capture the Flag after dark are all activities of community life. These activities vary depending on the interests of each student body: one semester there were two fiddle players, two mandolin players, a banjo player and one who played the spoons among the student and staff musicians. During another semester, coffee houses and dance parties were the favored events. In addition to the human community, students become deeply connected to this land and the non-human community. Woolman is home to many species of plants and animals that students come to know and feel connected to long after they leave here. Cows, sheep, chickens, wild turkeys, deer, quail, frogs, and salamanders are all our neighbors here. Visiting the Mother Madrone, Olga’s meadow or Mel’s pond, not to mention helping Jerome with the cows, allows students to expand their sense of home and who inhabits it. What community activities do you imagine instigating when you come?
Semester after semester, students tell us that Woolman quickly becomes their second home. They leave with lasting friendships and a long-term connection with this land and this community. Student life on campus is integrated with that of the community. At weekly community meetings students and staff explore issues that affect everyone and make decisions using Quaker consensus practices. Living with others from different walks of life offers abundant opportunities for students to learn to how listen deeply and develop conflict resolution skills that they can bring to their relationships with family, friends, and to their roles in the wider community.