8 Shields

Jon Young and 8 shields

Our Philosophy…
The “8 Handshakes”

The core values of the 8 Shields Institute and the emerging 8 Shields cultural mentoring movement rest on the “8 Handshakes,” a set of agreements that define not only how we relate to each other, but also articulate how we conduct ourselves in the world at large.

These eight practices illustrate our approach for working with ourselves, our partners and those we serve.

These commitments enhance and strengthen the work of deep nature connection, culture repair, cultural mentoring and community resilience.

Observance and adherence to these principles drive our interactions in Unity, Peace and Understanding. The Handshakes are essential connective practices that support health and resiliency.

Our History…
The story of the 8 Shields Institute – and its founder Jon Young – represents a journey spanning over three decades of research, and weaves together the diverse threads of deep nature connection, mentoring, and peacemaking traditions. These experiential tools have been distilled into life-changing programs that have touched people across the globe.

What started as the mundane walk of a 10 year old boy coming home from the woods with a snapping turtle in his hand, became the foundation of a movement that has changed lives.

Jon Young received a very special gift – of being mentored in an ages-old tradition of deep connection that enlivens individuals and communities – and has made it his life’s work to pass those teachings on to people of all ages.

Along the way a school was founded, and more schools emerged as the ideas spread. Now, over 30 years later, the 8 Shields Institute is leading the way in developing the programs and products that help people reclaim their own deep connection to nature and each other.

Sincere gratitude goes out to the many people who have contributed to this amazing work. Tom Brown, Jr. saw a kid on the side of the road with a turtle in his hand, and simply asked a question….and that started it all.

What question could you ask today that would change everything…

Learn more about how a boy and a snapping turtle can launch a movement.