Earth Skills

Could you survive an unexpected period of time in the wild?

Rites of Passage

Do you find yourself living a life that lacks meaning and purpose?

Nature Awareness

When was the last time you actually took time to play?


Do you know that storytelling can heal or transform a person?


Ancient Arts Way is a combination of principle activities and processes fundamental to creating genuine community that were known and practiced by tribal cultures all over the world. Ancient Arts Way is a return to this tribal wisdom. Some of these foundational components include artistic expression and skill building through mentorship, storytelling, music making and singing, ceremony and learning through play.

Ancient Arts Way beckons for a return to the origins of education. The root definition of education comes from the Latin “educare,” which means to “lead it out.”  The old understanding of education was that the young people already carried an inner genius and purpose within them and simply needed support and guidance in accessing it so that it could be expressed properly in the world.

Our vision is to provide young people with the resources and opportunities to co-create genuine community while exploring their particular gifts in a supportive and stimulating environment.  Our programs are aimed at celebrating young people as valuable contributors to the making of culture.



Can be 2 hours to weekend long events customized for your group.

Wilderness Therapy

Jon can customize programs to fit any agency’s needs.

School Programs

In-School Field Trips, After School, Artist in Residence

Special Occasions

Birthdays, Mitzvahs, Initiation, Gatherings, Reunions


The Ancient Arts Way presents an alternative educational experience. We believe people learn best when utilizing multiple senses and actively engaging the natural world. Integration of new concepts is enhanced when all the sensory systems are brought “on-line” in the learning process. Experience is truly the best teacher.

In a world where speed, entertainment and firepower are emphasized, the human imagination is at risk. Jon is convinced we must return to those activities and processes practiced by our ancestors in order to stay oriented to our inner genius and innate creativity. Whether it be storytelling, traditional crafts, wilderness skills, plant knowledge, drumming, nature awareness techniques or rites of passage; they all help us remember our place and birthright in the family of earth. Jon has combined these skills with the intention of helping people slow down long enough for them to touch or be touched by old, perennial truths already inside them.



  • We believe every person has an inner genius that needs acknowledgement and nurturing.
  • We are all uniquely gifted.
  • We all require help in becoming an authentic individual.
  • We come to better understand ourselves in the context of genuine community.
  • Every young person longs for a rite of passage that gives meaning to the difficult transition from childhood into adulthood.
  • The youth need more of a voice in our culture.
  • The young people are carrying the seeds of the future.


Jon has been facilitating groups for nearly twenty years in a wide variety of settings. His professional experience includes leading wilderness expedition programs for schools and summer camps to directing team building workshops with corporate groups. In 1998, Jon founded Appalachian Wilderness Experience, a non-profit therapeutic wilderness organization that served at-risk teens. He was also program manager for two residential mental health facilities for youth at Eliada Homes. Jon earned a Masters in Social Work at the University of Georgia.

This diverse work experience has allowed Jon to develop an adaptive and unique style of genuinely connecting with a wide variety of group populations. Jon uses drumming, singing, storytelling, ancient earth skills, nature awareness activities, indigenous wisdom and his knowledge of the natural world to engage and inspire the groups he works with.


Jon also works with Journeymen Asheville, non-profit mentoring organization for teenage boys. He has led rites of passage ceremonies through this organization and sees the return of such formal coming of age experiences as a necessity for orienting and guiding young people through the unavoidable challenges of adolescence in modern times.

In the early and mid 1990’s Jon traveled to the Hopi and Northern Cheyenne reservations in Arizona and Montana, living with traditional-based families and was invited to share in their rich traditions and ceremonies. Those journeys marked the beginning of a personal quest for rediscovering the fundamental, but often forgotten value of indigenous cosmologies and traditions.

Jon is committed to assisting others on their path of personal healing and the reclamation of their original purpose in this life.


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