Update and Next Steps from the Academy for the Love of Learning

We are writing you, our program participants, friends, donors and supporters, with an important update on the next steps for the Academy for the Love of Learning. As I feel certain are each of you in your respective lives and work, we are aiming to operate, responsibly, in the new times that are upon us, while preparing ourselves for a future yet to be understood and imagined. The vision we are bringing to you now is undoubtedly a work in progress with months ahead for us of difficult decisions and further planning. We share it with you at this early stage in hopes that you can feel with us into our emerging future as an organization and be heartened by it, as are we.

The 30,000 ft view is that over the next months, the Academy will reorganize, to focus on the stewarding of the Academy’s intellectual property, for the purpose of communicating it in new ways and making it available for use by others, including via a robust online presence, and by creating a related regranting program that will support grassroots projects seeking to incorporate Learning as a Practice in their work in the Santa Fe community and beyond.

All of this work will be entered into with great care and a deep congruence with our values as an organization, and my personal ethic as a leader and member of the larger community that we serve. This care and commitment will be foremost in our minds as we make necessary staff changes essential to the Academy’s financial sustainability. The Academy envisions a smaller core staff to accomplish its work, thus, our team will undoubtedly change as we step into this new vision. This will mean loss and disorientation and we ask that you join with us all here at the Academy with your kind-hearted patience and support as we find our way through this change in the best ways possible.

We remain committed to the careful stewardship of the literal ground we stand upon and see our Seton Village campus continuing as our home base and revitalized by learning exchanges among the grassroots projects that will be incorporating Academy learning practices. Our commitment to the Seton Legacy is also unwavering and we will continue to find ways to bring the story of Seton’s transformation and conservation ethic forward.

Over the past 21+ years as an organization, and the last 9 years operating at our campus in Seton Village, we have planted many important seeds in the community. We are now entering into a new cultivation period. One where we must take a deep look at how those seeds can not only grow in the same way as before, but in new ways, in this new paradigm.

My sincere wish is that you will stay engaged in and support this revisioning. As I mentioned earlier, this is all still becoming clear and we have much still to learn about the nuts and bolts of this emerging vision.  Please know that we will be coming forward to communicate our progress to you regularly and will, when the time is right, offer clear invitations, and very likely some new pathways for how you can participate. We also understand that you may have more questions. If you do, please feel free to contact Jessica Smyser, Director of Relationships and Reciprocity.

As Auden wrote at the end of his eerily-pertinent-to-these-times poem, Sept 1st 1939:

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Sincere best wishes and prayers for your health and that of your families and friends,

Aaron Stern
Founder and President
Academy for the Love of Learning