School of Lost Borders

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"The tradition of the School of Lost Borders began in the late 1960’s when Dr. Steven Foster was teaching romantic poetry in the Humanities Depart. at San Francisco State University... After spending much of a year alone in the deserts of Nevada, he returned with a deep commitment to bring meaningful wilderness rites of passage to the young marking entrance into adulthood. He met Edward Beggs who ran the youth component of a federally funded Marin Open House, and began an innovative dialogue with Robert Greenway, Tom Pinkson and Vern Muhr. This led to the first of many youth wilderness rite of passage ceremonies that Steven would guide over the next two years, forming the basis for what is now offered to both youth and adults at the School, and around the world...

"Significant teachers appeared including Heyemoyosts Storm, Sun Bear, Grandpa Raymond, and Virginia Hine. With Virginia Hine, cultural anthropologist (and god-mother to Meredith) they explored the bare bones of the ceremony that appeared to be shared across cultures and traditions around the world... Rites of Passage, Inc., after years of focusing on offering Vision Fast and wilderness rite of passage experiences for youth, began offering the Vision Fast to adults who came asking for meaningful ways to mark the many natural and significant transitions throughout life. They developed a 2-year training component called the Raccoon Lodge, meeting weekly and participating in the preparation of monthly Vision Fast groups. From this training component emerged a staff to handle the growing interest and need, including Marilyn Riley, Jack Crimmins, Jennifer Massey, Drew Pratt, and Linda Gregory.

"In 1980 Steven authored the first of many books on the subject of their work. The Book of the Vision Quest was published by Island Press, and continues to this day in a revised form by Simon & Schuster. In 1981 Steven and Meredith founded the School of Lost Borders, and after carefully giving Rites of Passage, Inc. away to Jennifer Massey and Drew Pratt (later transferred to Mike Bodkin who continues to run his own successful programs) and a committed Board of Directors, took their family and moved closer to the wild lands of their heart in the Eastern Sierra and the high desert...

"The School of Lost Borders was conceived as the first training facility in the methods and dynamics of pan-cultural passage rites in the wilderness. Over the next two decades to address the growing demand, exemplary trainees with their own rich experience and backgrounds, were invited to the School as staff. Originally this consisted of Virginia (Gigi) Coyle, Em North, Joseph Lazenka, and Silvia Talavera. Today that number has grown, representing a diverse and committed staff and assistant staff with a wide range of background and expertise." [1]


Accessed June 2013: [2]


School Guide

Guest Guide

Board of Directors



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. School of Lost Borders History, organizational web page, accessed June 17, 2013.
  2. School of Lost Borders Staff, organizational web page, accessed June 17, 2013.