Volunteer Profile: Emma Wheeler
Not many people can say that they‘ve been coming to Spirit Rock since they were an infant, but Emma Wheeler, currently a senior at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, has been coming here since she was being pushed by her mom in a stroller. Since that time, Emma has attended many Family Days, the Monday Night Kids Class in the yurt, the Middle School Class, the Teen Class Series and four of our Teen Retreats (including the New Year’s Teen Retreat and the summer teen retreats at Abhayagiri Monastery).
“Retreat is magical,” she said. “You meet really cool, mindful people and it is way better than being at a party drunk. It feels like you are part of a revolution.”
In the past few years Emma began volunteering as a counselor at Family Days, doing skits and working with the younger children playing mindfulness games, singing and dancing. “I like hanging out with the little kids—it’s fun. It’s the same stuff that I did when I was little, like Metta tag. And it’s fun to work with some of the same teachers that knew me when I was younger.”
At Drake High, Emma is in the Communications Academy. When asked about her personal practice, Emma said, “I try to meditate a little bit every day, and I teach yoga. Even if I’m busy, I still have a mindfulness practice throughout my day. If I’m stressed out at school, I might do walking meditation as I walk down the hall. It’s just ingrained in me now. People know that I meditate so they are always asking me about it, especially when they’re stressed out. Right now I’m writing an article about the Teen Class as a feature article for my school newspaper.”
And what advice does Emma have for other kids and teens wanting to get more involved here at Spirit Rock? “Always know that this place is here for you, it is always a resource. I never regret time that I spend here. It reminds me of what is important to me and what I believe in. I am really, really grateful for Spirit Rock. It has always been part of my life and has partially made me the person I am today.”
It is very inspiring to know that people like Emma are the future of the Dharma. She plans to study Environmental Policy, hoping to use mindfulness as a means to get people to reconnect with nature and the environment.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting more involved with our Family Program as a volunteer, you can contact our Family Program Coordinator Dawn Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are often looking for people to help us with these programs. Here are our upcoming Family Program Events/Retreats: