Founder of Creative Bridges, and Facilitator specializing in art (any kind of freedom of expression), nature, personal growth and development.
Well, this is me. On almost any given day, I look something like this. On this particual day, the kids thought it would be fun to use the old projector and color people, so of course I got to stand up there too. And yes, they all laughed when they could color purple wings and a halo on me. Wait, maybe they see me as an angel? What a nice thought huh?
My name is Emilie Hilgers and I own and operate this very ENTHUSIASTIC self-directed learning center known as Creative Bridges. Every day brings a new adventure, laughter, tears, drama and love that leaves me in awe of daily life and what we each go through and still keep learning and developing our own personal growth. I show up because I can't not show up. This is my calling; it's not a job, or even a profession. But it didn't start out that way.
My education is in Early Childhood Specail Education and I have taught for 20+ years in traditional ed which gave me a solid background in the developmental stages of children, and the processes through which they learn. I developed polices and procedures, interacted with various licensing officials, state and county officials, and managed classrooms of 20 children, and then on to managing the teachers. That is where I thought I would stay.
But the world had a different idea. And that is when the road got a bit bumpy, exciting, scary, and exhilarting. I caught a glimpse of non-traditional ed while teaching and directing a preschool farm program in Longmont, and while there, I was able to interact with parents and kids as I had always dreamed, but never had the time for, or it wasn't acceptable. I was able to make quality connections, slow down, and really listen to what the kids and families needed. I knew I could never return to traditional ed.
Then I moved to Evergreen and opened up a tiny cabin and hung the sign out front and waited for the kids to come. And they did.
I am 49 years of age and have had my fair share of life happen. Lots of absolutly beautiful moments, and lots of heart wrenching times; both life and death.
I know that a calling is something that is given to you, and what you have to do is show up for life, listen, and hold a grateful heart. I am a Master Graduate of Rapport Leadership International which taught me that life is game to be played with integrity, heart, enthusiasm, joy, focus, compassion and soul. Anthing short of that is not living your truth. When we give; we gain. When we focus; we can acheive, and when we open our hearts; we can love.
I picked the name Creative Bridges many years ago, not really knowing why I was filling out an LLC form, or what I was doing, only that I thought I may need it some day.
I simply liked the name Bridges, and I always wanted to be creative (at the time I thought I wasn't, but now I know I am), and so I put the two together. After my dad passed away (in 2007) I found a poem that he had written about me in 1971. It was called, "Bridges." It was about a girl in kindergarten (me) who dared to cross a bridge over a wide chasm all by herself alone in the woods. And, by her doing so, she would forge the path for others to cross. I had no idea he'd written that. That is the calling I'm referring to. It certainly feels true today.
Parent of two Creative Bridges learners, and Facilitator specializing in writing, reading, elementary math, nature, organization, and time management.
Wow! Why do I do this?
I am the mother of 4, step parent of 2 (ages ranging from 8 years old to 25), I have a dog, I have a degree in psychology and education, I just moved to the mountains from Denver in 2016 , I like feeding the hummingbirds, tending my herbs, and talking to the deer that occasion our yard. I like my yoga in the morning, working out with my husband, Ken, and coaxing our two youngest boys, David and Elliot, to take a hike with us. Our older kids are independent and well on their paths of exploring life. I'm in the second half of my life and it's pretty smooth. Why am I NOT sitting in my big green rocking chair on my deck, drinking my coffee and letting the next stage of life (grandparent?) slide into place?
I'll tell you why.
When I am with my kids (without thinking about what chores they have not done) they say and do really cool things! They inspire me, they teach me and we connect. Then, when I am among other kids, I am again inspired, taught and connected. THEN, when I sit back and watch them with each other, I see them inspire, teach and connect with each other. This process fascinates me! So it causes me to think about what we truly need to be successful and happy in life.
Relating is important and necessary in our modern world. There are so many possibilities and opportunities today. But we can remain stagnant in our process without the ability to be open, relate, connect, teach, learn and address challenges. I used to teach in a classroom. I found it challenging, but uninspiring. I was told what to teach and I told them what to learn. Not much relating was going on nor was there much growth in them or myself. I now work alongside the children and adults in Creative Bridges. I ﬁnd it challenging because everyday can be different. Everyday is open to something new. Everyday can lead to a new possibility. Everyday supports an opportunity for growth in the children and in myself.
But what about growth? Growth! It has been on my mind so much since becoming involved with Emilie and the families of Creative Bridges. I have been thinking about the growth of the children, the growth of the program and the growth of myself. I ﬁnd it fascinating how integrated all these areas are within my life.
We tend to focus on the growth of the children for obvious reasons. However, since my children have begun Creative Bridges, I have a more expansive view of their accomplishments. They are learning so much about themselves, how to navigate their world, how to use what they know and expand on that knowledge and their skills, how to work outside of their comfort zones, and how to manage their emotions. As I write this, I realize it is the same thing that is happening to the program and to myself. The program vision has expanded because of what is being observed in our society and how the children are showing us they thrive. I am tapping into this along with my past training in psychology, education and work with traumatic brain injury. I am further applying it to my more recent research and experiences about education, child development, learning, and success. I quickly learned while in a masters program for school psychology that I did not want to be testing and giving advice from the "outside." That's how I ended up in the classroom. But now, because of my upbringing and past education and training, philosophies of alternative and self directed education often cause me to stretch beyond my comfort zones and work with the emotions that come with that. So we are not just asking the children of Creative Bridges to learn and grow. We are experiencing it right along
side of them! We are all growing, learning and managing this change together. And this REALLY excites me (even when it's scary)!!
So, Wow! How can I NOT do this?
Friend of Creative Bridges, Anna's oldest son, and brother of Anna's two younger children who attend Creative Bridges. He specializes in facilitating anything outdoors (hiking, back packing, rock climbing, bouldering) and also is quite curious about what we are doing and how to be involved. Oliver is currently assisting on Fridays and will lead our back packing and summer camps. He is very intuitive at building relationships, and has a heart that can relate to almost anyone.
He has traveled extensively and volunteered in Yellowstone, backpacked through Thailand, and taught conservation in Indonesia. He will attend Colorado State University in fall 2017 to study wild life conservation.
29997 Buffalo Park Road
Evergreen, CO 80439 firstname.lastname@example.org