Belonging. Bridging. Becoming.

ILALI Pilot Residency

January 23- March 19, 2023

Wayfinders is a powerful journey. It’s an eight week immersive residency where young adults from the same region live, learn, work, and play together. Held in beautiful retreat settings, Wayfinders provides participants the time, space, and skills to create better futures for themselves and others.

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Join Us!

Sometimes we hear a call to embark on a journey. That call can be an inner whisper telling us there is more to know. We might recognize it as a yearning for something new to discover and realize for ourselves.

Sometimes that call feels like it comes from something much larger than ourselves, and we are pulled toward some unknown yet essential adventure.

Wayfinders is an invitation, a doorway to the possible. To what’s next. To your future. To our future. Do you enter?

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Who can apply?

We seek young adults in their twenties from the greater Seattle area who are curious, open to learning in a cohort, willing to consider different perspectives and worldviews, and, of course, ready for an adventure! We want a cohort that is made up of people from different backgrounds, including economic, political, racial, status, gender, ability, religion, and sexuality, among others.

When and where?

The first pilot will be held at the Whidbey Institute in Clinton, Washington from January 23 to March 19, 2023 for young adults residing in the Seattle area.

A second pilot is scheduled to be offered later in 2023 at the Watershed Center in Millerton, New York serving young adults residing in the Hudson Valley area of New York.

What You Will Experience and Learn

Wayfinders is a uniquely immersive experience that integrates a wide range of learning opportunities with community living and service. Over four months, we will explore:

Re-orienting to life, work and play

Learn as a cohort, in small teams, and on your own - guided by facilitators, advisors, peers, and nature. Learn by doing. In the garden or by creating hiking trails. Through woodwork and artwork. Music and dance. Storytelling. Cooking and cleaning together. Through stillness and rest.

Communication and bridge-building

Learn to communicate more clearly, effectively, and compassionately. Grow your capacity to consider multiple perspectives, work through tension and conflict, and find common ground.

Values, purpose and pathways forward

Learn by contemplating what matters most: your values, purpose, relationships, and how you want to live your life. Contemplate big questions on your own and in community. Explore a personal passion project or discover new passions. Reflect upon and track your growth.

Cultivating vitality and well-being

Learn simple, proven tools for healthier bodies, minds, spirits, and relationships. Explore these practices and exercises regularly as a cohort, guided by facilitators and teachers.

Practical skills and tools for the future

Learn transferable skills that can be utilized for vocation, community-building, an entrepreneurial vision, social change endeavors - and “adulting.” Think skills and tools for visioning, planning, finances, facilitation, networking, and adapting to change.

The power of place, nature and service

Learn by being immersed in nature. Learn by contributing to the care and stewardship of the land and retreat center and through service projects that support the surrounding community

ILALI is committed to ensuring this program is fully funded.

As such, Wayfinders will be offered at no charge to participants accepted on the program.

ILALI’s financial commitment to participants includes:

Accommodation at the Whidbey Institute from January 23- March 19, 2023.

Organic and nutritious meals prepared with fresh ingredients throughout the program.

Full tuition for facilitation, staffing and instruction

Key program materials and transportation assistance for designated  group activities

Cost of living stipend based on need for those who continue and complete the program.

Course completion certificate for all participants at conclusion of program.

The following costs are the responsibility of Participants:

$35 application fee

Active health insurance coverage during the program term.

Transportation to/from the Whidbey Institute

*If any of the costs above are a barrier to participating, please contact ILALI for assistance with any of these costs.

To meet candidates’ needs and to fulfill our own vision, ILALI will:

Cover the full costs of participation for every member of the Wayfinders pilot cohort.

Provide a cost of living stipend for those participants who need to offset the loss in wages and financial responsibilities (bills, rent, etc.) they continue to pay during their program

Work directly with accepted candidates to allay concerns about additional program related costs for equipment or supplies.

Work  with colleges and universities to allow participants to receive course credit for completing the Wayfinders program.


How much does the program cost?

While the real cost of actually participating in Wayfinders is approximately $22,000 for each participant, ILALI intends to cover all of the costs associated with participation, room, and board for all members of the pilot cohorts. The reason for this is to engage a cohort that is broad but also allows participants to focus on their investment of time and personal commitment rather than the financial burden of this unique opportunity. We also recognize that a program of this length requires a loss in wages for many. As such, ILALI will provide  a cost of living stipend for those continuing and completing the program.

ILALI is working with diverse foundations to cover the costs of Wayfinders, and will also partner with applicants and members of your community network to offset these costs. This may be through sponsorships, scholarships, or other contributions.

Why is ILALI covering the costs of the program?

ILALI is built on our commitment to create the space, conditions and community where any adult can develop to their potential despite the circumstances that keep most people from investing the time and resources to do so. We also know the time commitment involved with participating in Wayfinders means significant time away from your life and work.

I am not from the area where this program is being offered, Can I still apply?

ILALI is piloting the Wayfinders program in the Seattle area and the Hudson Valley of New York in 2023. A key component of the vision for this program is that participants living in or from the same region who possess a multitude of worldviews can find common ground and co-create together. For this reason we will consider applicants who reside in one of these areas for each of our first two pilot programs. Should additional regions be added, we will update our program offerings and reach out to those who have expressed interest.

Can I get course credit for completing the program?

ILALI is working to enable course credit from certain institutions for the completion of this tailored integrative curriculum. In addition to this, we are happy to share details of the program with your current institution to help you receive credits for the completion of Wayfinders.

What are the criteria for acceptance to the program?

We strive for a mix of participants from different backgrounds and ideologies. The most important criteria for acceptance is a willingness to be open to learning and living alongside others with different perspectives, an ongoing commitment to bridge your own worldview with that of all the others in your cohort, and to respect the community living standards the cohort co-creates.

I want to participate but am unable to commit to stay the full program term. Am I disqualified?

A critical element of Wayfinders is to build group belonging and bridging our differences so that we can transform and grow both individually and collectively. This will not be possible without a solid commitment by each and every member to stay and be a vital part of the community for the full duration of the program.

Are there any days off?

Program activities and curriculum will be delivered between Tuesday-Saturday each week, with Sundays and Mondays off for participants and staff. During these two days, you are free to return home, explore Whidbey Island, and always welcome to stay on the campus of the Whidbey Institute with the ability to prepare your own food from the communal pantry. During the first couple of weeks, there will be a particular effort to ensure immersion for all participants in the cohort. As such the weekly days off during this period may be adjusted slightly.  

What are the sleeping accommodations and living quarters like?

The Whidbey Institute offers a variety of accommodations, from houses with multiple bedrooms to individual cabins. Each member will have the chance to have their own private room for at least 3 of the 4 months. All participants will share a bathroom with some members of the cohort. Because each of the accommodations vary in size and configuration, the cohort and staff will change accommodation on a monthly basis to have the chance to experience each style. Staff will work with all participants to ensure their comfort level in terms of privacy and personal space to the best degree possible.There is chance that some participants may share a room with another member of the cohort for 1 month.

What is the food like? Are there any exceptions for dietary restrictions?

The Whidbey Institute has an incredible staff of cooks who take care to provide nourishing, organic, delicious food 5 days a week throughout your program. There are abundant vegetarian selections and often fish or chicken are served with dinner. Dietary restrictions will be accommodated for all members of the cohort. Aside from the meals prepared by the professional cooks, ILALI will provide additional food for the cohort to prepare together or on your own in the community pantry. Participants who choose to bring additional food for themselves may either label it or share it in the community pantry.

What is it like to live at a retreat center?

Most people comment that their mind and body feel lighter even as they drive down the long winding road to the Whidbey Institute. Although located on an island, you will have comforting amenities to keep you safe, warm, held, and heard throughout your time. There is a mix of connection, solitude, nature, and comfort that makes this environment ideal for Wayfinders.

What kinds of things will we be doing, learning?

ILALI has developed a multidisciplinary, integrative curriculum that is designed to spark personal and community development in a variety of ways. Including time learning as a full cohort, in a smaller group, with a mentor or advisor, and individually. Topics range from performing arts to digital arts, exploring a range of wisdom and spiritual traditions, permaculture, cooking, entrepreneurism, embodiment practices and more.

Will we be staying at the same location the whole time?

The majority of our time living and learning together will be on the land at the Whidbey Institute, however there will be a week where the group will stay together off-site, and occasional activities, service projects and excursions elsewhere on Whidbey Island or in the Seattle area. In order to allow every participant a similar experience, we will periodically switch housing and room assignments during the term of the program.

Can I leave the property whenever I want?

In order to cultivate an immersive and transformative experience for every member, participants are expected to adhere to the group and individual activities as scheduled in the curriculum. On designated days off, typically 2 days per week, participants are allowed to use their own transportation or coordinate with fellow cohort participants for a rides elsewhere on Whidbey Island. Staff can help coordinate rides to town or to the ferry at certain times for those participants who do not have their own means of transportation. Some designated trips to other parts of the island, beaches, hikes and into Seattle are also included in the program curriculum.

How many other participants and staff will be a part of the program?

We expect to welcome a cohort of anywhere between 16 and 24 participants from diverse backgrounds to be a part of the cohort learning and living together. In addition to these peers, there will be 3-4 ILALI program leaders directly supporting the cohort plus several staff members of the Whidbey Institute present throughout the program term. Additional visiting instructors, facilitators and staff will also be available to support the participants throughout the program.

Can I bring my car?

A limited number of parking spots will be available for staff and participants during the program, however having a vehicle during the program is not necessary. Some weeks, participants may only have the opportunity to use a vehicle during the Sunday and Mondays off each week. All are welcome to stay on the land at the Whidbey Institute for the full duration of the program if desired. Wayfinders staff will help to coordinate group activities and to explore the rest of Whidbey Island for any participants who do not bring or have access to a vehicle for the duration of the program.

What Covid-19 safety measures will be in place for those participating in the program?  

Participants and staff are expected to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 at least 2 weeks prior to arrival. Participants who are not vaccinated will be required to show proof of negative PCR test upon arrival to the Whidbey Institute after each weekend off. Subsequent testing may be required for all participants upon returning to the land from days off during the program. More details on other precautions or testing will be provided as the program dates approach.

What is there to do on days off?

There are many activities on and around Whidbey Island to enjoy on days off, including nearby beaches, shopping, hiking, movie theater and a vibrant creative community. We recommend checking out the Whidbey Institute’s web page (link) for information on the towns, beaches, hikes, local events and activities on Whidbey Island.

Can I have visitors?

Wayfinders is an immersive program designed for those living and learning together in the cohort. ILALI will designate certain days and times during the program term for personal time away, as well as one or two designated visitor days during the term. But for the most part, and especially during the first month, we will strive for a deep immersion with the cohort at the  Whidbey Institute where the group can deepen in belonging and connection.

Can I bring my own food?

You do not need to bring any additional food, and due to critters there are some places on the land where food and drink are prohibited, including in sleeping spaces. Beyond the meals prepared by the staff, additional food will be available for the cohort to prepare together or on your own in the community pantry. Participants who choose to bring additional food for themselves may either label it or share it in the community pantry.

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