Twin Valleys School is returning to Wardsville on Saturday, June 19th, for a reunion on the occasion of the town’s 200th Anniversary Celebration.
Twin Valleys School was an alternative educational community founded in 1971 by George and Pat Bullied. It ran until 1983. Twin Valleys was an alternative to training schools and group homes for hard-to-serve teenagers. It provided them a home and community environment where they were accepted unconditionally. In addition to learning life skills and a host of job skills like basic carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, farming, animal husbandry (the school was also a fully functional farm) and kitchen skills (try cooking three meals a day for 300 people), they learned about their own uniqueness and self-worth.
The students also received a high school education in a setting that they did not find threatening given the small classroom size. Learning was based on “the 7R’s of life”: Rules, Roles, Relationships, Responsibilities, Respect, Resources and Returning Cycles. In essence, the school prepared them for a different kind of life than the one they had known before.
One lesson that has stuck with almost everyone who heard it was one of George’s favourites. It was the story of the “empty roll of toilet paper,” that true spiritual expression was “replacing that roll of toilet paper and not leaving it empty for the next guy.” It was all about doing what was right and what was needed in the moment. So many people who lived at Twin Valleys have told that story because it has continued to remind them to do what is right in the moment, not to wait for someone else to come along and do it.
Those who lived there were profoundly impacted by the closeness, the challenges, the triumphs and the spirituality. Thus the community lives on!” – Ben Goerner, former student.
There will be a public multimedia presentation on the history of Twin Valleys at 2 o’clock on Saturday at the United Church, 207 Church Street, in Wardsville. Don Nisbett, Reeve of Wardsville and old friend of Twin Valleys, will introduce George Bullied, the former director of the school.
The public is invited to come learn about a special time and place in Wardsville history and perhaps to meet some of the returning residents of Twin Valleys, who love to share their experience.
– 30 –
Hal Jenner, Reunion Organizer