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Morning Reflection Paddle


with Alexia Springer

Calendar Jun 25, 2021 at 7 am

Friday, June 25, 2021
7:00 AM - 9:00 AM 

Tuition: $25  Materials: $10

In this class we will canoe in silence as a group on Miners Lake. The goal is to be present, silently communicative with your boat partner, and reflective - whatever the morning brings you. The peace, stillness, and magic of the early morning hours speaks for itself.

You will also learn canoe terminology and basic strokes for maneuvering around a lake. As John Hayes and Alex Wilson write in their book Quiet Water: New Hampshire and Vermont, “The peaceful solitude of out-of-the-way lakes and ponds lures us to quiet-water paddling. … With quiet-water paddling, you can focus on being there instead of getting there."

Students should meet at the boat landing for Miners Lake at 7:00 AM, ready to go with a bag of necessities: snack, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, etc. We will do a brief hello and introduction to each other and about the canoe before launching. Once in our canoes, we will huddle for a poetry reading and proceed to paddle around the lake silently. At some point, we will stop for brief reflections, followed by practicing and/or learning basic canoe strokes.

EFS Volunteers are donating clean canoes, paddles, and PFDs for this class. If you have your own gear, please bring it to ensure proper fit and comfort. You are welcome to bring your own canoe or kayak, so long as it is properly licensed. 

This class is being held outdoors. The Ely Folk School encourages students to receive a vaccine for the coronavirus prior to attending class, but it is not required. 

About the Instructor: Alexia Springer has a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism from Radford University and has worked as an outdoor educator at various camps and universities, most notably Earlham College as the Outdoor Education Coordinator.

"One of my favorite activities on canoe expeditions is taking what we would call a "voyageur start" which meant waking up early, breaking down camp, and setting out into our canoes for the day in the early morning hours. Somewhere along the way I started incorporating a poem reading followed by silent paddling," Alexia says. 

Painting Watercolor Notecards


with Holly Meeker Rom

Calendar Jul 15, 2021 at 1 pm

Thursday, July 15, 2021
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 

Tuition: $36  Materials: $14

Have you ever wanted to create your own cards for that special occasion? You will learn about color mixing and watercolor techniques with brush, paint, and paper and will explore a variety of subject ideas. You will create individual, original notecards on paper and envelopes supplied in class.

Materials will be provided, but feel free to bring your favorite brushes or other watercolor supplies if you have them.

About the instructor: Holly Meeker Rom has worked in the watercolor medium professionally since 1980, and has taught drawing, watercolor and color theory for 40 years. Holly enjoys teaching and guiding students at all levels in the adventure of watercolor painting. She is inspired by the landscape of the lakes and forests of Ely, MN.

She has taught locally at the Ely Folk School, the Miner's Dry and the Art Corner. Holly's work can be viewed on her website,

She has an MFA in painting from American University in Washington, DC, and an MA in Art Education from California State Univ. in Sacramento. She is a signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society and The Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club. She led art historical tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC for 17 years in School programs. She has been a part-time resident of Ely, MN for 20 years. 

Writing With Your Child, For Your Child


with John Kopp

Calendar Jul 21, 2021 at 6:30 pm, runs for 6 weeks

Wednesdays, July 21 & 28, August 4, 11, 18, & 25, 2021
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Tuition: $60  Materials: $20

This class takes place over the course of 6 Wednesdays. By the end of class, you and your elementary schooler will have written and illustrated your own book! 

This 6 week class (one session per week) was designed for parent & child pairs. The intention is for each pair to write their own personalized children’s book. There are no prerequisites or level of skill necessary. In recognition that attending all 6 consecutive sessions can be challenging, the class is designed to accommodate the occasional missing of a session.  

The story line for your book will reflect values you identify as those your family hold dear. This allows your child to learn more about what is important in your family. The main characters will be identified/selected by your child because they are looked up to, superheroes or other popular characters. The writing and illustrating will occur during class sessions and at home between classes.

A tangible outcome is intended to be a 16 to 32 page illustrated children’s book. The instructor will use one he has written, “Asking Willow”, as a model for teaching, but individual creativity will be encouraged. The original version of you and your child’s book (manuscript) will make a great family keep sake. A photocopy of the manuscript can be easily bound and made into a wonderfully personalized gift for someone important in your child’s life, such as a grandparent.  

The class was developed for children 8 years of age, but it is applicable for a couple years either younger or older. It was also developed from the idea that by working in a group setting, learning can occur that is well beyond what any of us can anticipate. It leads us on a journey in the experience and development of community, a sense we are there for each other.

A small group allows from participation and support from the instructor.  The selected class size is eight parent-child pairs. So, while still a small group, it is large enough to generate a wealth of creative energy.

The class presentations and activities are designed to be individualized for each parent child pair. While specific techniques are demonstrated, and specific activities are set up, you are the expert on your child’s preferred modes of learning.  

During the first session, parents receive a handout that serves as a reference to important points covered during the class and why various activities are selected. Materials for writing and illustrating will also be handed out. They are presented as a gift addressed to your child and you. It is a way to help your child understand just how much their involvement in the class is appreciated.  

The class philosophy comes from an understanding that if it is made enjoyable, your creativity will flourish. The criteria for determining if the class was worthwhile are intangible. Did you and your child enjoy the class? Does your child know more about values your family hold dear? Do you feel you and your child learned to create at a higher level? Do your feel your child has had some seeds planted that will help in making good choices? Did you and your child feel inspired and supported by the group?  

Contact information is listed below. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions you would like to discuss before deciding whether or not to sign up.  

Questions on the class can be directed to:
John Kopp, class instructor

Only one registration per parent-child pair is necessary. 

About the Instructor: John Kopp has had a career of experiences working withparents and children of all abilities. After graduating from NDSU with a master’s degree in psychology, he spent the next 37 years working with families and caregivers in the development and implementation of positive ways to work with challenging behavior. He knows firsthand the importance of families connecting around important values and having fun in the process. While living in Eastern North Dakota he and his wife regularly brought their children to Minnesota to camp, hike, and canoe. Some of his favorite memories with his family were visits to Ely, and now he has moved here to enjoy it every day. He likes to boast that his kids are jealous that he gets to live up here in the Northwoods. John is a member of the local Writers Group and you can see his and other group members writings in a collection entitled Just Breathe in the Ely Summer Times 2021.

Nature Writing for Women: Honor Autumn: Live Online


with DyAnne Korda

Calendar Oct 9, 2021 at 10 am

Saturday, October 9, 2021
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 

Tuition: $26

As autumn’s colorful landscapes peak, we pause to appreciate summer’s bounty and embrace the season to come. Set aside one Saturday morning to discover the richness of your inner harvest through nature writing. This session is designed to celebrate the strong bond between women and the natural world. You will generate written pieces through free-flowing writing exercises and discussion within a supportive circle of women. Time permitting, you’ll also have the opportunity to share a piece of writing that you find especially inspiring.

About the Instructor: Dyanne Korda is a poet and experienced writing instructor. Her work has been published in many journals including The Wisconsin Academy Review. She is author of several poetry and story collections including This Earth Woman, Path of Belonging, and Finding the Lost Woman.

Korda was awarded her second Individual Artist Grant through the Donald G. Gardener Humanities Trust and an Artist Access Grant through the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council to complete her most recent book, The Shore’s Absolute Edge.

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