Christian Community Action to Defend & Restore our Environment & Economy
n. /ˈkadrē,ˈkädˌrā/ 1. A small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose. 2. A group of activists in a revolutionary organization. Synonyms: body, team, nucleus, core.
Overview: CADRE is an innovative “young adults in service” model designed for this watershed moment in history, in which we face unprecedented challenges—and opportunities—in our ecosystems, our economy, and our churches. At the crossroads of nature and scripture, CADRE is designed to incubate a cohort of eco-faith change agents whose actions and examples will deeply impact the larger world for years to come. Centered around a community-living model, CADRE integrates science and spirituality, reflection and action, social reform and personal formation, community building and bioregional resiliency, policy activism and individual life-change.
CADRE is an initiative of TiLT, the Taos Initiative for Life Together. CADRE operates out of the TiLT House, a sprawling ten-room hand-built adobe hacienda in the center of town. TiLT, an innovative “lifestyle laboratory” located at 7000' in the high desert mountain environment of Taos, NM, seeks to be an incubator of intentional life change: to build transformative capacity within our own community of Taos, even as we offer programs to outside participants who come to TiLT seeking to transform their own lives.
CADRE is an alternative to urban “service year” immersive experiences that exhort their participants to “see the face of God in the city.” CADRE, in contrast, is situated in “a place apart,” in the rural mountain Southwest, and calls its participants to “find yourself in the wilderness” in the tradition of Jesus, John the Baptist, and the prophets.
CADRE plunges a small group of young people aged 21-30 into a year of formation, service and community capacity building. Participants work three days a week in placements with Taos County organizations working toward environmental and economic justice and community capacity-building: examples include innovative public schools, regional food networks, sustainable agriculture projects, affordable adobe housing, renewable energy initiatives, racial reconciliation, church renewal, eco-faith movement building, and coalitions for watershed health.
In addition to working in service to increase the resiliency of the Taos community, CADRE participants immerse in desert spirituality, community living, watershed discipleship, and personal formation. Wilderness treks, overnight solos, nature-based liturgies, community disciplines, transformative readings, sustainable building projects, off-the-grid living and homesteading in the high desert provide “a place apart” where participants can gain deep knowledge of God, self, and society.
Who Can Apply: CADRE is a residential 9-month experience of service and formation designed for six individuals at a time. Our target demographic at this point is a diverse cohort of participants aged 21-30, individuals seeking a deeper level of experiential training who are unmarried and without children. Our ideal participants are people who are seeking a deeper purpose and wanting something more transformative than business-as-usual or school-as-usual. Some might be 20-somethings seeking an “gap year” from their normal routines; others might be uncertain college students finding their way who want a year of spiritual discernment and experiential immersion in between academic semesters; while still others may be recent college graduates or people in the workforce searching for fulfilling service work surrounded by a community of like-minded practitioners. For those seeking specialization related to their studies and training, we will have placements in the fields of education, outdoor recreation, conservation, sustainable agriculture, community development, social work, field biology, environmental studies, accounting and bookkeeping, non-profit management, business development, and Spanish.
The life of a CADRE participant will revolve around five ongoing themes:
Public Service: Each participant is placed with an organization 24 hrs/week—such as a school, crisis shelter, watershed protection group, local food network, renewable energy initiative, etc.
Sustainability Projects Tasks, and Trainings: Each participant would also be involved 16 hrs/week in sustainability projects—permaculture landscaping, earth building, water harvesting, food production, etc.
Nature-Based Spiritual Formation: Wilderness backpacking treks, whitewater expeditions, desert solos, harvest and solstice observations, nature immersion across the seasons
Community Life & Rhythms: Meals, education, trainings, and work within our own households and congregation
Events & Advocacy: Joining in public festivals, interfaith events, political advocacy, community education and weekend events to promote an earth-honoring, people-dignifying spirit-led way of life