Storytelling festival supports wilderness program

The free, family-friendly event takes place on Jan. 26 at the Vashon Theater.

Islander Steffon Moody holds the crowd at a past storytelling festival, presented by Vashon Wilderness Program (Courtesy Photo).

Islander Steffon Moody holds the crowd at a past storytelling festival, presented by Vashon Wilderness Program (Courtesy Photo).

Island storytellers both tall and small will take to the stage for Vashon Wilderness Program’s 12th Annual Storytelling Festival, at noon Saturday, Jan. 26, at Vashon Theatre.

According to organizers, the free event is “for the community, by the community.” It will feature nature-based stories — including personal, mythic and ancestral tales — told by Vashon Wilderness Program’s seasoned staff and audience members alike. Islanders of all ages are invited to bring a prepared five-minute story, spin a yarn in the “One-Minute Story-thon” or join in interactive group storytelling improv games.

Vashon Wilderness Program provides nature immersion programs for people for all ages from Vashon and surrounding communities, with the aim of helping participants connect with themselves, each other and nature through mentoring programs, camps, workshops and trainings.

Storytelling, said Vashon Wilderness Program’s Executive Director Stacy Hinden, is at the core of the nonprofit’s work.

“Our staff have told hundreds of stories over the years to children of all ages,” she said, describing how oral traditions can cultivate a learning community that values each person’s life story. Wilderness program students, she said, also share stories on a daily basis, to “deepen their learning journey and discover their authentic voice.”

Hinden said she looked forward to welcoming hundreds of people from Vashon and beyond to this year’s Storytelling Festival. The purpose of the event, she added, is more important than ever.

“At a time when there is so much divisive energy in our nation, sharing stories is a powerful and joyful way to unite and heal communities,” she said.

The Storytelling Festival is best suited for ages 4 and older. Festival-goers are encouraged to arrive early to purchase snacks, and sign up for a storytelling spot.

For more information about Vashon Wilderness Program and the festival, visit vashonwildernessprogram.org.

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