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The Wayfinders Program is a 2 month, no-cost residency program for young adults seeking positive change in their communities, with an emphasis on connection, civic life and leadership.

Applications are Now Available

 A fully-funded, four-month immersive residency to improve physical and emotional well-being, expand your worldview, and learn practical skills for the future while connecting with others and the natural world.

Open to adults aged 21-29 living in the Greater Seattle and Puget Sound Region.

Beginning on January 23—March 18, 2023, participants will live, learn, work, and play together in the beautiful retreat setting of the Whidbey Institute.

Young people from the same region but of different economic, ideological, and cultural backgrounds will reside for several months to live, learn, serve, and grow together.



Participants will come to know themselves as the continuation of a historical legacy of creative and passionate young adults – instrumental to the energy and innovation of civic life.

Learn More…

What you will Experience and Learn

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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



Humanity and the planet are going through a rite of passage where we’re being compelled to learn to live in new ways and get a sense of what matters most to us.

—M. Rako Fabionar, Program Director, Innovative Living and Learning Institute


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 part of the 2 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 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.

Are you Ready?


More questions?

Reach out or see more detailed information HERE.