VVS Wilderness First Aid Course

Verde Valley School is offering a Wilderness Medical Institute Wilderness First Aid Certification Course August 10-11th.

DATES: August 10-11, 2019

COST: $265 WFA

LOCATION: 3511 Verde Valley School Road, Sedona, AZ. 86351

Whether spending time in the backcountry is your passion or your profession, you should never have to ask, “What do I do now?” Prepare for the unexpected with this fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine.

If you like to take short trips relatively close to medical resources, work at camps or lead wilderness trips, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, or recreate outdoors, this course is for you.

You’ll learn the Patient Assessment System, how to provide effective first aid treatments for injuries and illnesses common in the outdoors, how to manage environmental emergencies, and how to make appropriate evacuation decisions. You will spend half your time practicing skills and participating in realistic scenarios.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine course is approved by such organizations as the American Camp Association, the United States Coast Guard, and other state as well as federal agencies.

Upon successful course completion, you will earn the following NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications: Wilderness First Aid, and Epinephrine Auto-injector.

More information on this course can be found here:

Click here to register for this course!

Please reach out to John Kelley with any questions at johnk@vvsaz.org

2019 Hunger Banquet


Now in its 10th year, Verde Valley School’s Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a provocative, informative and entertaining evening that brings to life the inequalities in our world and challenges us to evaluate how our decisions affect others around the globe.

Upon arrival at VVS, you will draw a ticket that will randomly assign you to the high, middle or low income tier in the percentages occurring in today’s world. Your tier will determine whether you dine amongst the wealthy with a lavish 4 course meal or as a pauper with a frugal meal of beans and rice, or somewhere in between. This is a metaphor for real life, where some of us are born into relative prosperity while others are born into abject poverty through no fault of their own.

As you eat, you’ll be entertained by moving vignettes created and performed by VVS theater students about hunger, poverty and the inequitable distribution of resources. These heartfelt performances are followed by fun, interactive breakout sessions that come up with solutions on how you can make that much needed difference in the world, in your local community, or within your own household.

Another highlight of the evening are the raffle prizes. Local businesses generously support this event with thousands of dollars worth of donations! You don’t have to be present to win, so be sure to click on the “Register or buy Raffle Tickets Now!” link below to pre-purchase.

Come along to participate or observe, but know that you will go away changed! We look forward to having you join us on this very special occasion.

To register/buy raffle tickets for the 2019 Hunger Banquet click here! 

To view all of the amazing raffle prizes scroll below!

2019 Hunger Banquet  Raffle Prizes

$2400 – 3 night Airbnb Sedona house for 10 people – Elle Williams

$250 – Yoga Hike for 2 – Vita Pura Yoga and Hiking

$200 – Golf for 2 – Sedona Golf Resort

$200 – Golf for 2 – Sedona Golf Resort

$200 – Golf for 2 – Oak Creek Country Club

$200 – Golf for 2 – Oak Creek Country Club

$175 – New patient evaluation, adjustment and therapy – Red Rock Chiropractic

$175 – IPL Photo Facial – The Spa of Sedona (Anita Marcus)

$175 – 5 hours of Handyman services – Amber Shatkus

$175- 5 hours of Handyman services – Amber Shatkus

$175 – New patient evaluation and adjustment – Red Rock Chiropractic

$150 – Horse Painting/Horse Therapy Session – Y0Unicorn Way

$150 – 1 hour Taro Reading and Palmistry with Marla McNeill

$125 – Full Set Eyelash Extensions – Sedona Lash Bar

$110 – Full day, full-suspension Bike Rental for two – Sedona Trail Zen

$110 – New Patient evaluation and adjustment – Oak Creek Chiropractic

$110 – New Patient evaluation and adjustment – Oak Creek Chiropractic

$110 – New Patient evaluation and adjustment – Oak Creek Chiropractic

$100 – Corner Table Restaurant

$90 – Haircut – The Spa of Sedona (Darla Bren)

$90 – Dog Grooming – Classy Critters

$90 – 1 hour in home massage – Isabella Gannon

$90 – 1 hour in home massage – Isabella Gannon

$90 – 1 hour in home massage – Isabella Gannon

$90 – 45 minute Psychic Reading by Chaya – Chaya Mueller Bronstein

$90 – 45 minute massage by Chaya – Chaya Mueller Bronstein, LMT

$85 – 60 minute acupuncture session – Village Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

$75 – Mystical Bazaar

$75 – ShadowRock Tap + Table

$75 – 60 min custom massage – The Spa of Sedona

$70 – Alignment – Big O Tires

$60 – 30 min Reiki energy session – Light of Sedona

$59 – Deluxe Manicure and Pedicure – CK Nails

$50 – Clark’s

$50 – Home Depot

$50 – Oregano’s

$50 – Hideaway House Restaurant

$50 – Harkins Theater

$50 – Feathers and Fur

$48 – Stained Glass art piece – Barbie Townsend

$40 – Ionic Foot Detox Bath – The Spa of Sedona

$40 – Oil change – Sedona Oil and Lube

$40 – Red Chopstick

$37 – Oil Change – Big O Tires

$30 – Baskin Robbins

$25 – Coffee Pot Restaurant

$25 – Moon Dog Pizza

$25 – Local Juicery

$20 – Lee Ann’s Nails

$20 – Synergy Lounge and Kitchen


Dream Run 2019 – New date March 2nd

Join us for the third annual Dream Run, a non-competitive, 5K and 10k fun run open to runners of all levels. Those who simply wish to walk and admire the iconic Cathedral Rock views, and pets on a leash, are also welcome.

The 2019 VVS Dream Run will begin and end on the school campus, taking runners through the stunning red rock scenery of Coconino National Forest that surrounds the campus towards the richly diverse Oak Creek riparian zone and back again.

Continue Reading…

Dream Run Sponsorship

Please fill out the form below to sponsor our Verde Valley School Dream Run event! With just a $250 (or more, if you wish) sponsorship you will be featured on the back of our iconic Dream Run t-shirts and recognition in our marketing! Thank you for your support of our Native American Scholarship Fund.

After completing the Sponsorship Information form please return to this page to complete payment transaction through the PayPal Button below!

Click Here to Complete Sponsorship Information

Verde Valley School Farm to Table

2018 Farm to Table Feast

With the arrival of Fall and its harvest offerings, Verde Valley School is preparing to celebrate its fourth annual Farm to Table Feast on Saturday, October 20 between 3:00-7:00 pm. The menu features foods sourced from the organic Verde Valley School Farm as well as local Arizona farmers, vintners, and brewers, and each year local chefs are invited to design, prepare and present the meal, including VVS’s very own Chef Michael Briggs. The VVS Farm to Table Feast is truly a locavore event and is especially significant this year as all proceeds will provide Weekend Meal Packs to food insecure children in the Verde Valley.

We are thrilled to share that the 2018 Farm to Table Feast will be prepared by Sedona’s very own celebrity, Chef Lisa Dahl. Here’s what Chef Lisa has to say about the occasion:

By having the opportunity to be a voice in the community, one inherits a social conscience.  Even in our somewhat affluent Verde Valley area, many kids go home to their families on the weekends, hungry. As a Chef, this hits home and is painful to hear. Although the Verde Valley means “green valley,” many of these children don’t have the pleasure of receiving the proper nutrition from meals served at home. This Farm to Table Feast event means so much more than just putting on a Chef coat and cooking. When I found out it supports the “Backpacks for Kids” program, which provides food for kids over the weekend in a backpack, I was all in. 

Being invited as the featured Chef has brought me so much joy because it allows me to do one of the things I love most – crafting a menu featuring local ingredients. The cherry on top is that some ingredients will come straight from the Verde Valley School Farm; it doesn’t get more local than that! 

To all 75 attendees that purchase a ticket for this unforgettable experience, please know that I will cook every meal with love and passion. Your taste buds will be filled with delight, and your hearts will dance with satisfaction. 

Fueled by the inspiration of my recent travels to Provence and through the collaboration with the Verde Valley School and their farm manager, Michael Spielman, we will be bringing you a plant-based dining and drinking extravaganza that you will all remember for years to come.

The Farm to Table Feast is held on the VVS campus with its stunning views of Sedona’s red rocks, at a time of day when the setting sun casts its magical colors on the magnificent high desert landscape. As is the tradition, the evening starts with a tour of the school’s scenic “beyond organic” farm with Farm Manager Mike Spielman and his earth-loving team. Here you can wander around the gardens enjoying tasty small bites prepared by Chef Michael Briggs, refreshing beverages and entertainment by VVS music students. Guests will then proceed up to the Chapel patio for appetizers and then on to dinner at the Head of School’s house for dinner, both prepared by Chef Lisa Dahl.

Tickets, at $150 each, are limited to 75 guests this year and are available for purchase online by clicking HERE or calling Kris Fritz at 928-284-2272 ext 10 or emailing kfritz@vvsaz.org.

We hope you can join us for this nutritious and delicious celebration of all that exemplifies the very best in supporting and eating LOCAL!

Guatemala: Where it all began…

Hamilton Warren, the founder of Verde Valley School once said, “If my labor will serve you, I will not withhold it.” The quote aligns with several of the VVS guiding principles, including service to others, the value of physical labor, the value of world citizenship, and environmental stewardship – all important components of the experiential education at VVS.

One of the VVS programs that most actively embraces these guiding principles is Field Trips, held each November. Many schools offer field trips, but none do it in the inimitable VVS style. From the school’s beginnings in 1948, getting students out of their usual surroundings and engaged in a culture different than their own has been the guiding force behind our Field Trips.

This year, as part of our VVS Global Goals program which is already thriving in Malawi, we are introducing an international Field Trip to Guatemala. This seems most fitting as VVS Founders, Hamilton and Barbara Warren, first met in that country where Barbara’s parents owned a coffee plantation. Our students will be working there alongside an organization called Fotokids which was started by Nancy McGirr, a former Reuters news service photographer who covered the wars in Central America during the turbulent eighties. In 1991, she founded Fotokids, giving cameras to six children who lived in Guatemala City’s garbage dump.

Originally called Out of the Dump, Fotokids has served hundreds of at-risk children affected by poverty and violence by giving them a chance of a better life, using photography, graphic design, media technology and vocational training experience as tools for self-expression, creativity, leadership, and future employment.

Today, 27 years later, Fotokids has taught over a thousand children living in at-risk areas in Guatemala, Honduras, and California’s agricultural central valley. Creating a scholarship program early on for students from primary school through university and working with staff to design a 3-year vocational program for girls, Fotokids has helped graduates find employment in a disastrous job market.  More information can be found at www.fotokidsoriginal.org.

We are thrilled to have Nancy McGirr at Verde Valley School as a part of our Global Goals Speaker Program on Friday, August 31 at 6:30 pm in Brady Hall.  A warm welcome is extended to the greater Sedona community to attend.

Nancy McGirr has produced over 46 exhibits in 14 countries and has given interviews on BBC, Australian TV, ABC, Japanese and Dutch TV. She has given workshops and presentations in Algeria, Spain, Australia, Brazil, and at Harvard University, Boston Museum School, Konica in Tokyo, Photographers Gallery in London, PHotoEspaña in Madrid and was a TEDx speaker. She was the recipient of the prestigious Lucie Humanitarian Award in 2011.

Nancy has lived in Guatemala for the past twenty-nine years and has turned over the Executive Director position to Evelyn Mansilla who grew up in the dump. She now supports the project with fundraising, social media and producing the many exhibitions.

Diné Duo Sihasin Debut New Album at VVS



Verde Valley School is thrilled to announce that Sihasin’s new album, Fight Like A Woman, will have its debut on the campus, Saturday, May 26th at 7:00 pm in a concert also featuring the Jones Benally Family Dancers. Admission is by donation.

Multi-award winning musicians, Jeneda and Clayson Benally from the Dine’ (Navajo) Nation in Northern Arizona create a politically-charged explosive organic sound out of bass and drums, inspiring their listeners with a hard punk backbone, softened by folk, world and thumping by pop.   Jeneda is a Verde Valley School alumna, Class of 1992.

As brother and sister, they grew up protesting the environmental degradation and inhumane acts of cultural genocide against their traditional way of life.  As teenagers, the siblings were the backbone of the award-winning punk band Blackfire for over twenty years, who performed with legendary rockers like Joey Ramone and Maynard James Keenan.  In 2012, they formed Sihasin, the Navajo word for “hope”, releasing their Ed Stasium-produced debut album, Never Surrender, in 2012 to critical acclaim and numerous awards on the American Indian Music scene, and received the honor of being called the “#1 Freedom Fighting Band to Get You Through the Trump Years” by “The Huffington Post” in Dec 2016.  They also collaborated on the song “Sister Moon and Brother Sun” for the 2017 Grammy-nominated album by roots children’s duo The Okee Dokee Brothers. Following the inclusion of their punk rock version of the Christmas classic, “Winter Wonderland”, last holiday season in an ad campaign for Hyundai’s annual Holidays Sales Event, in which Jeneda said, “We are excited to further open the doors for Native American artists.”, Sihasin are happy to announce the release of their self-released sophomore album, Fight Like A Woman, on May 25.  “I hope that the vulnerability of these songs is relatable and the listener can feel empowered in knowing that ‘hey, you are not alone’”, she says.      

  “The process that we took in the creation of Fight Like a Woman was completely different than any other recording project that we’ve done thus far”, Clayson says.  “It was very organic, most of the melodies and themes where from dreams. I’d wake up and try to hold onto the melodies, usually only a sliver of the song, and I’d share it with Jeneda later on in the day. To my surprise, she would have the complimenting and completing element. It was like the universe was gifting us these songs.”

The duo believes in creating positive change each and every day and Fight Like A Woman, working again with legendary producer Ed Stasium (The Ramones, Talking Heads, Mick Jagger, Living Colour, Soul Asylum), is an incredible personal journey.  Clayson says, “Out of the blue Ed called us saying ‘It’s time to get back into the studio’. The state of the political climate, depression of the nation, and the need to work on something from the heart was desperately needed.  After hearing the tracks Ed was like ‘we can’t rush this album. We’re going to let the songs speak to us. It deserves all the time it takes’”. He continues, “We are so blessed to have Ed as part of Sihasin.”

Another of Sihasin’s guides and mentors was Jackson Browne, the driving force behind the Verde Valley Music Festival held on the VVS campus back in the 1990s. Browne fell in love with VVS because it was founded to bring together people of different races and cultures. The concerts, which attracted big names like Neil  Young, Bruce Cockburn, Keb Mo, The Indigo Girls, and Nancy Griffin, raised money for the VVS Native American Scholarship Fund.

The first single from Fight Like A Woman is the track “Strong Together”.  “The song was inspired by the fact that we are a force when we find our commonality rather than our differences.  With the movements and hashtag societies, we are changing the isolation of injustice. This song is a call for unity to create healthy and respectful communities”, Jeneda says.    

In her words, the title track of the album “aims to occupy every stereotype about being a woman in Western society. It’s about how we are constantly being defined by what the masculine decides who we should be.  This song is about finding your own power to be your own definition.”

Another highlight of the new album, the opening song “Child of Fire”, “pays recognition to the fact that we are biologically made of all elements.  It is a remembrance that we are children of our Mother Earth.  Simply, we cannot live without her so, why then do we destroy her?  It also pays homage to our first band Blackfire.”

The track “Shine” Jeneda says, “Is a song of empowerment.  I hope that when people listen that they will feel a sense that they are potential and possibility.”  “See You” is a love song.  “We have always written love songs about justice, equality, and freedom. This is the first time that we’ve recorded a love song of the heart.  It’s incredibly personal.”

Originally from Black Mesa on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, Jeneda and Clayson were born into the heart of a political land dispute between a coal mining company and the Navajo and Hopi tribes, separating them by a fence from traditional homeland and family. They grew up protesting the environmental degradation and inhumane acts of cultural genocide, and became known for creating music that reflects hope for equality, healthy and respectful communities, and social and environmental justice.  When they formed Blackfire as teens, Clayson told Laurel Morales from “NPR” in 2015, “There was a lot of anger,” Clayson recalls. “Starting the band and performing was a way of channeling that anger and frustration and putting it into something positive, as well.”

   Sihasin is a rare band who does more than just perform.  They leave their audience with an exhilarating feeling of Get Up, Stand Up, and Do!  They have performed at SXSW (playing at and helping organize a Native American showcase), WorldFest, Grassroots, Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, Native American Music Awards, The Woody Guthrie Center, Globalquerque, TanzFest, among many others.  They have toured in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and across the US, and the siblings are also known by their internationally acclaimed traditional Dine’ (Navajo) family Dance Troupe “The Jones Benally Family”. The duo also gives presentations and workshops on Native American, environmental, and social justice issues, and are dedicated to bringing that hopeful message to schools all over Indian Country, which have disproportionately low graduation rates with youth at high risk of suicide, where they teach Native American youth how to write their own songs. Jeneda says that she’s helped teens in times of desperation find the right words in a song.  

With driving music, transcending labels and rooted in Native, Rock, Punk and World music and vocal harmonies including Dine (Navajo) singing, Clayson says, “The meaning, energy, and intention behind each song speaks to the love and commitment to producing music with a substance.”  As Jeneda told KNAU radio, “We want to make music that makes people feel good and that they can do something—that they can create positive change in their community and that’s kind of the spirit behind Sihasin.”

More information at:


VVS Dream Run start

A Dream of a Day for a Run!

The second annual VVS Dream Run 5K Fun Run on March 3rd was held under perfect running conditions: a bright, sunny and crisp morning that accentuated the gorgeous scenery and made for comfortable running.

Check out all the photos on our Galleries Page …

Runners were greeted upon their early morning arrival on campus to a warm fire crackling in the big fieldstone fireplace outside Brady Hall, Holly’s delicious Trail Run Cookies and Morning Glory Muffins, and cheery registration volunteers from the Sedona Rotary Club as well as VVS students. And to top it all off, runners all received a free t-shirt sporting the iconic Dream Run logo with their registration fee. Serious trail runners, families with children, and friends with dogs set off at 9:00am from Brady Hall and ran the 5K trail across Coconino National Forest land towards Oak Creek. VVS students and faculty were posted along the trail to make sure no one got lost and to pass out drinking water and encouragement.

First male across the finish line was Peter Baxter, who was also last year’s winner. Fastest female was 14 year old Ari Bradford from Cottonwood, and we’re happy to share that Ari will be a VVS freshman next year!
First VVS girl was Emmy Smith and boy, Mike Amadei. The group prize went to “faculty brats” Vella, Josie, Po, Juni S., Lucy, chaperoned by Meg Haesloop and Bill Carter. Prizes included the popular VVS branded clothing, water bottles and caps. The faculty brats were treated to an ice cream party at Walter’s in the Village of Oak Creek.

Dream Run organizer Leigh Carter, VVS Social Sciences Chair and Tribal Coordinator shared that a race highlight for her was Jerry Curmow, a 75 year old Rotary volunteer, who decided to register for the run a minute before it started. “He ran the course in a button down shirt, long work pants, and walking shoes”, said Leigh. Talk about life goals! Afterwards, he said, “I mean, it was only a few miles, so why not?” Jerry won the prize for oldest runner and 5-year old Vella Guelinas won for youngest.

This year’s Dream Run raised $4,290 and while the number of registrants decreased from last year, the number of sponsors grew. A big thanks to these generous sponsors!:

Sedona Golf Resort
Tourist Home All Day Cafe’
SUBY Construction
Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association
Yavapai-Apache Nation
Together We Can
Randy Crewse – Tewa Holiday Project
Jeremy and Bridget Broomfield
Sylvia Thompson
Pit Crew Rescue
The Carters

Dream Run 5K Fun Run is a fundraiser with 100% of proceeds going toward tuition fees for Native American students at Verde Valley School. For more information on how you can sponsor or participate in next year’s Dream Run, contact Leigh Carter, VVS Social Sciences Chair & Tribal Coordinator, at lcarter@vvsaz.org.

Check out all the photos on our Galleries Page …