A Parent's perspective on the SCA experience
Parker Davis is a four-time alumnus of SCA’s Seattle community crew program. When an SCA staff member saw the announcement of Parker’s college graduation in June 2015, he sent a note Kit Lewis, Parker’s mother. Kit’s response was powerful and poignant, and as you’ll see she’s authorized SCA to share it.
Thanks so much for the kind words, and for the parental congratulations! College was a rocky road for this lad, and we are all celebrating his victorious accomplishment! It is most certainly a big milestone for Parker, and the confidence he gained from all of his many SCA experiences created a foundation for his astounding success in a rigorous college environment.
Make no mistake: SCA was a pivotal factor in Parker’s drive toward college and a promising future, because it showed Parker that the world is full of limitless possibility. His experiences in the vast natural world taught him that a small person on a big planet can make a positive difference, and he was suddenly open to exploring his own important role in working for the greater good.
Parker wanted to continue with SCA during college, and he even did a college Alternative Spring Break week in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, calling it his “best crew ever.” He took several college courses in Environmental Studies, but soon realized that his true academic passion was Film Studies, and how film can be used as both a mirror and a catalyst for societal structures all over the world. And if SCA taught him anything, it was to be true to himself and follow his passion.
Parker’s college major at Western Washington University was Interdisciplinary Studies: Society on Film. He cobbled together a comprehensive course of study in various departments that brought together History, Sociology, Psychology, Environmental Studies, English, Film Analysis and filmmaking courses into the single theme of Society on Film. His academic journey was fascinating, as were his ever-growing intellectual explorations.
He has matured so much, and often brings up SCA as some of the most important experiences of his life. The confidence and power he took away from his SCA years were evident in his college life. In SCA, he discovered that he could take an impenetrable forest and make a path through it, not only for himself, but for others, too; he can make the world better. So in college, far from being intimidated by spirited seminar discussions, field trips to unknown places, or reaching further in his own theories on film analysis, he embraced those challenges and more, learning from them and trying his best to contribute to the greater good; for the group project, for the class’ understanding of material, for the campus culture in general.
I believe that SCA helped Parker to develop his own sense of self, by taking him out of his urban teen pressures and plunking him into nature, where there is no judgment; only appreciation of the enormous beauty there and the realization that everything is connected. His SCA crews out-of-state were the most liberating for him; times when he could reﬂect, away from family and peers at home, and get to know himself, pondering his place in this world. He was able to truly be himself outdoors with SCA, and his SCA crews were safe places for his sensitive soul. He found himself ultimately worthy of the natural world, and took power and confidence from it. That gave him all he needed to propel himself forward in his life.
I hate to sound so melodramatic, but I really do believe that SCA did for Parker what only the very best teen programs can do: took him away from his parents, away from his high school, and into a brand new world with beauty, accountability, hard work, fun times and kind, supportive mentors. I can’t tell you how important that has been for Parker, and for this mom. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Our family is so grateful for SCA’s positive effect on our son, but also on ALL the young people in the program. I envision a different kind of graduate every spring, a graduate from SCA: I picture a row of dirty, sweaty, smiling, tired and accomplished planet crusaders, marching out of the woods and back into their lives, renewed, invigorated and on a trajectory of living for the greater good.
As a matter of fact, when Parker graduated from high school, we gave him his very own Pulaski, complete with a bow. I’ve never seen him so delighted. As far as we know, he’s never used it, but it remains in his room, propped against the wall, a symbol of those SCA years and a big part of who he is and who he’s becoming. I envision many Pulaskis in many kids’ rooms across the country, and that makes me smile. On behalf of the Village That Raises Children, thank you so much for continuing SCA’s outreach and mentoring.
Please feel free to share whatever I said more broadly. If you need me to sign something, I would happily do so. Other parents need to know about SCA, and how it can take the most shy, withdrawn high schooler and turn him into a laughing, social, hard-working contributor to a new, nurturing social group. It did wonders for my son. He’s now a college graduate!!
Thanks again forever,
Kit Lewis (Parker Davis’ mom)