Life on the Dry Side

Culture, Curiosity and Character
about the Oregon East of the Cascade Mountain Range

Paths make me anxious

But the unknown draws me

I feel fear for the comfort I leave behind

And then my attention spies another path

I cannot go back, the journey has become a part of me.

One of the aims of Caldera is to work with school counselors from eight selected schools.  Personal interviews and cousultation with teachers determine who will be able to attend these seven and ten day programs.

As we ended our day at Caldera I sat with the campers while we enjoyed our communal meal.    Sitting next to me was a  Gresham Student with a camp name Tub, I asked what she felt was the biggest take-away of the week was.  "Confronting my Fear" she said, "In the canoe I faced my fear of water."


That hot  summer day next to the lake it was easy to see how this setting fulfills the unique blend of arts and nature programming.

The students are called "Campers", and adressed by their chosen camp name.  The day starts with breakfast, followed up with the Community Circle.

From there they break into their chosen classes, the first group we dropped in was working at composing rhythms based in a Western African drumming style.  Their smiles tell their stories.

At the Campbell Studio, creative painting classes have them working both individually and collectively to explore their artist voices.

They have a great creative photography program, led by Portland's own Julie Keefe.  She was in between two class units, and we got a chance to talk for a bit.  The assignment for the students was based on the theme of air.


Julie, who was Portland's first Creative Laurette not only teaches at Caldera, but at several schools affiliated with the Caldera program.

Redmond, Madras, Bend, Terrebonne and Warm Springs schools all participate hosting teaching artists from Caldera

Campers get a chance to live out their inner Ninja at the ropes camps  It gave me a cringe just thinking about it.  But when I was their age I remember playing tree-tag in the vine maples....loved it then.

A challenging way to face your fears !

It's fun sleeping in a tipi, except when it rains.  "Then we have to make sure we have everything off the floor" one of the campers told me.

This has been only a part of what Caldera is all about.

As the sun followed it's path to the Cascades, I knew I had to come back.  During the winter, January through March, Caldera becomes a colony of artists in residense.  The quiet, the closeness to nature, and communion with creative thought, in a setting like no other. 

I'll be back !