South Appalachia: Adventure, Crafts, and Sustainability

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About Program

Surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness, in the craft center of southeast, nestled in a homestead on a little river valley.

Challenge yourself to play hard and explore this earth, and, as a result, lead with character, clarity, and confidence. As a group, you choose how you play and grow. Maybe it's a day on the high ropes course or navigating a night paddle or climbing up a rockface.

Make your life: create practical items from raw materials. You decide what skills you would like to develop and we facilitate the workshops. These can range from soapmaking to woodworking, basket weaving to blacksmithing.

Take on tasks joyfully in the garden and in cooking homemade foods. Through building raised beds, planting seeds, weeding, watering, and harvesting the fruits and veggies of your labor, you can witness the value of the slow food movement and reap the rewards of eating the foods you grow.

Set yourself up for success and fulfillment in college, work, and life.

Program Highlights
  • Make things you would otherwise buy: handmade journal, natural soap, knitted hat, buckskin pouch, herbal teas and medicines, wooden spoon, and more
  • Grow your own organic food and take care of a flock of chickens
  • Explore the South Appalachian mountains by foot, mountain bike, canoe, and top rope,
  • Learn homesteading skills from farmers, fermenters, herbalists, natural builders, and more
  • Pursue an independent project of your choice, such as dyeing, spinning, and knitting a sweater, learning how to plan expeditions, growing food and cooking your favorite recipes, building a chicken coop, and more

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Program Reviews

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Yes, I recommend this program

The perfect first stop for my gap year adventure.

I completed my Pioneer Project experience in the fall of 2013. I was 18 and had just graduated High School and I was looking to fill my life with adventure and purpose. Pioneer Project helped me find out who I was meant to be and completely overfilled my needs for adventure. Over 12 weeks I developed many new skills including wilderness skills, cooking, craftsmanship, and gardening. Additional I became a better leader, planner, learned to work with a team and work with others that shared completely different view points. The staff was super supportive and I am still in contact with many of them today. I made life long friendships during my time at Pioneer, and the location was perfect. The southern Appalachian Mountains are always beautiful. I enjoyed the area so much that I spent my first two years of Undergraduate at a college 15 minutes away. As some one still benefiting from the lessons learned at Pioneer almost 7 years ago, I would recommend this program to gap year students looking to find themselves and be themselves in a supportive environment

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
As an unhealthy teenager living on fast food and in complete avoidance of vegetable the first night I was at Pioneer we had a very strong pesto, it was the first time I had pesto, and as my taste changed I realized it was a very good pesto. I had just never had something so seasoned before. Pioneer Project started my journey on eating healthier foods for people, animals, and the environment, but I'm still fairly cautious around pesto.
3 people found this review helpful.

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