Wilbur Hot Springs and Health Sanctuary Stewardship Transition

By James Alborough 6 months ago
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From the Miller Family, April 14, 2020

Back in February, Jessy Kate Shingler, Robbie Shingler, Richard and Jolee Miller, toast the Stewardship transition.

Dear Beloved Community,

Wilbur Hot Springs is proud to announce a momentous transition in the stewardship of Wilbur, the remarkable hot springs and hotel that thousands of annual guests and many staff call home. After 48 years of overseeing Wilbur Hot Springs, in February we passed the stewardship on to a group of leaders with extensive experience in community building, science and governance. This new consortium of stewards, headed up by Will Marshall, Jessy Kate Schingler, Robbie Schingler, and Creon Levit, are drawn to the rich history of Wilbur, its magnificent healing waters and long tradition as a place of respite for people from around the world. They feel deeply honored to be entrusted with Wilbur’s legacy.

The new stewards share core values held by the Miller family for decades at Wilbur, including health and wellness, environmental consciousness and care, kindness, safety, and security. While transitions can bring change we are confident that the entire community of Wilbur Hot Springs, from long-time guests, to first-timers, to staff, friends and family, will find the new stewards are as committed to the central values of Wilbur as we are, and that the space to soak in silence, shuffle around in your slippers and robe, hike in the nature preserve, sit in the quiet of the library, cook in the communal kitchen, practice yoga on the yoga deck, and enjoy all the other typical Wilbur activities, will be protected and even celebrated in the days, months and years to come.

A six-month vetting process and evaluation of many other suitors made it clear that this group was the perfect match for ensuring the sustainability of the land and its healing waters, and continuing the tradition of Wilbur as a healing ground for those in need of renewal, reflection and retreat. Guests will notice no immediate changes: the new stewards are committed to listening and learning in their first year, honoring time-worn Wilbur customs and ensuring a smooth stewardship transition. They are also excited, curious, and interested in getting to know this community, so feel welcome to say hello if you see them around, next time you’re at Wilbur. Sarana and Aaron will continue in their role as Caretakers, while Richard will remain involved as a senior advisor to the new Stewards, who value our family’s experience and wisdom and see us as an essential part of the future of Wilbur.

We embrace this exciting moment of transition,

— Richard Miller, Jolee Miller, Sarana Miller, and Aaron Davidman


From the new Stewards, April 14, 2020

Sarana Miller, Will Marshall, Jessy Kate Shingler, Robbie Shingler

Dear Community,

We wanted to share a note following the Millers’. Firstly, we want to say how truly honoured and excited we are to become more deeply involved in Wilbur in general, and to be taking on the Stewardship role in particular. Speaking from here at Wilbur, we are grateful to be part of this land, hot springs and community. We fell in love with Wilbur the first weekend we came here last summer. The healing waters, the beautiful nature in the preserve, the community, the atmosphere. And when we met Richard, Sarana, Jolee and Aaron, we knew this was meant to be.

In reading the history of Wilbur and seeing the pictures, back from its founding in 1865 through to today, it is clear that Wilbur is an institution. From Victorian springs with stagecoach and adjacent mining town, to a period where hot springs went out of fashion, to their revival in the late 20th century, to today. And we want to celebrate the incredible efforts that Richard, family and team have put into the property over the 48 years taken: from a rather run down state in 1972, to a beautiful and healing sanctuary today. They are who we can thank for what Wilbur is today — the facilities, the community, the serenity.  A miraculous place for us, it’s community, to slow down, rejuvenate and heal. It is in this context that we feel honoured we are to be helping to take Wilbur into its next phase. We are thrilled to be part of the team that continues this trajectory, building on this strong foundation.

Let us say a few words on us, so that you know who we are. We are scientists by profession — particularly space scientists, formerly having worked at NASA. We are passionate about space, for sure. But it is with a different hat that we approach Wilbur: community. We care a lot about establishing caring, loving and supportive communities — having set up and lived in over a dozen intentional communities in San Francisco and in many locations around the world. We have been doing this for half our lives. We also have a passion for nature — and the preserve on the property with it’s wildflowers, wind-chimes, wild ponies, bats, geyser and myriad other gems, are of great meaning to us, and something we intend to protect and enhance. And we love sustainability, a theme we hope to bring a little more of to Wilbur, in time.

Finally, let us tell you a little about our goals when it comes to Wilbur. Our first goal as new Stewards is to continue Wilbur largely as is — to do no harm!  We want to learn how Wilbur runs and ensure a smooth stewardship transition. Notwithstanding the unusual shutdown due to Coronavirus, we aim to get back to operating Wilbur as you’ve normally enjoyed as soon as it’s safe. Wilbur’s staff and entire team will continue in their roles, ensuring Wilbur’s on-going service to its year-round guest clientele. The Millers will remain here too — both Richard and Jolee, and Sarana and Aaron, will continue to be part of the project, with Richard serving as a consultant and trusted advisor to us, and Sarana and Aaron continuing as Caretakers following Richard’s transition of that role to them last summer. Our second goal is to meet you, the community who love Wilbur, to understand what Wilbur means to you. Thirdly, and in time, we may make changes — hopefully only improvements from your perspective! When we do so, we would love to involve you as we think about possible changes. One thematic focus we will consider is in the area of sustainability, such as soil health, wildlife health and energy — but that is all for the future.

We do not think of ourselves as owners but at best Stewards — helping humans get their healing, hopefully in synergy with the community, and the land and nature preserve flourish, hopefully in symbiosis with it. With that in mind, we would love to involve you as we help steward Wilbur and especially as we think about possible changes. We do not know what that would look like yet but will try. It is in our core values that this is run by the community for the community.

For now, we embrace this exciting moment of transition and look forward to meeting you, and joining your second home and this community in the months, years and decades to come.

Stay safe,

— Will, Jessy, Robbie & Creon

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