Meet the All in the Circle Staff
A note from the camp creators
We were first inspired by the richness of our own childhoods that were filled with play in the natural world. It was easy to see that these experiences for children were disappearing. We could not imagine our lives without growing up in the world we grew up in. Then our eyes fell upon the work of Geoffrey and Renate Caine, David Sobell, Richard Louv, and Bill Plotkin.
Their work fully supported our vision to reimagine the world where children once again have the rich experiences in nature that are essential to the growth of healthy lives. Children who experience a world of play and nature will become advocates of the Earth, and develop a sense of being included in a vibrant Earth community. Such a community is where one’s imagination has legitimate power to co-create a healthy world.
We are passionate that these are elements we need for this human existence to turn towards resiliency and alignment with what is needed to be healthy and whole citizens of this planet and eager for your children and community to join us.
~ Erin and AJ Pratt
All in the Circle Camp Staff
Camp Classes are facilitated by professionals in their fields who bring decades of expertise and wisdom, making this an unparalleled camp experience. Meet the incredible camp staff who will take your campers soaring this summer! Then register today!
AJ Pratt, Artistic Director and Founder
All in the Circle sprang forth from AJ Pratt’s vast experience as an educator and program director over the last 30 years. She holds a deep interest in exploring what elements are critical in nurturing the developmental growth of children. How do children benefit from play and exploration in nature? What passions do children naturally have that feed their growth as a healthy member of the earth community? How do the arts and music speak to the hearts of children? What is needed to assist children in experiencing their spiritual selves? How can the children be helped to understand that they belong and are an important part of the whole earth community? She put all of these questions into one pot. Mixed in talented professionals and children and out came All in the Circle!
Erin Pratt, Camp Co-Director, Nature Instructor, and Youth Counselor Director
Erin Pratt, LPC, i s the M NIPL Program Director where she designs, coordinates, and facilitates programming for MNIPL and individual faith communities. She is a professional counselor and a wilderness therapist with a background working with adolescents, families and groups. She was a psychology fellow at the UMN Healthy Youth Development and brings these researched based principles into her program design and delivery. She is director and youth counselor supervisor for All in the Circle: Creative Arts and Nature which is launching in a second location this summer. This camp focuses on environmental education and the development of empathy, connection with and stewardship of the natural world. Erin piloted the YBTS program originally and it was so successful at St Luke that this church and MNIPL was featured in an international documentary produced by Climate Reality that featured the carbon reduction actions (e.g. solar, lighting overhauls, rain gardens) inspired by the youth. Erin has led the design and implementation of the “Youth be the Spark” programming for the past two years and has been on the ground with youth as they have brought their stories and passion for action on climate change back to their communities.
Sara Lukkasson, Music Co-Director
Sara Lukkasson has been the Director of lower school Music at the Blake School for the past 6 years. She is trained in many forms of music instruction including the highest levels of Orff Instruction. She brings a dynamic, attuned, and effective approach to working with children in a way that brings out their fullest musical expression.
Fatawu Sayibu, Drum and Dance
Fatawu Sayibu, Master Dancer and Drummer, is the founder and choreographer of Tiyumba Dance Company. Fatawu is from the Northern Region of Ghana and comes from a drumming family; his traditional dances and use of the talking drum tell the stories of his culture, country, and people. In Tamale, Ghana Fatawu has founded a cultural school M’Bangba for the children and youth to study their traditional drum and dance and to support them in pursuing their academic schooling. Fatawu is a performer, a teacher, a choreographer and a mentor to the children in his community, as well as his students here in the U.S. His students learn that West African music and dance brings joy, creates peace, love and unity!
Bob Klanderud, Cultural Elder
Bob Klanderud, of Dakota and Lakota heritage, is a Native Elder who brings the wisdom and stories of Native Spirituality to our camp. Bob will be leading prayers, teaching dances, and sharing wisdom from the First Nations Peoples of Minnesota. Bob also is a volunteer with Healing Minnesota Stories who also advocates for Native Father’s groups and works with the Department of Corrections providing spiritual services for Native inmates.
Muhammad Jiwa, Nature Assistant
Muhammad works with MNIPL as an organizer in the Muslim community. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife, Whole System Healing, and Sustainability Studies. Muhammad is active in his community working to end discrimination against Muslims all over the world. When not at MNIPL, Muhammad works for Greater Midwest Realty as an Eco-Real Estate Agent. He hopes to continue his work helping mosques in Minnesota become some of the greenest in the nation.
Mary Helen Solomon, Music Co-Director & Founding Music Director
Mary Helen is an author and Orff specialist who directs children and adults in vocal/choral, theatre, and Orff music study. She served as Director of Choral and Orff Studies for many years at Episcopal School of Jacksonville in Florida, teaching students in grades 6-12. She also taught elementary and pre-school students for 25 years prior to that position. Mary Helen has been a teacher of theory and pedagogy for Orff Levels 2 and 3 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY since 1991. In 1998 she received the Gladys Prior Award for Career Teaching from the University of North Florida.