It all began with a vision...
Seasons was founded in 1984 by Kelly Lee Kist. After twenty years of operating her beloved Seasons Program, Kelly was ready to share her knowledge and experience with a much wider audience, and so in 2004, established The Seasons Way Non-Profit. In 2007, The Seasons Way Board wrote a Mission Statement which includes the support of our Flagship Seasons Programs as well as supporting the Directors, Annie Whitney and Christie Macias, in training professionals who are interested in opening Sister Programs. These programs provide the community with more access to education in line with the philosophy of The Seasons Ways. In May 2007, Kelly moved from Santa Barbara, and left her beloved Seasons to the care of a wonderful parent community, The Seasons Way Non-Profit, and her lead counselor, Annie Whitney. A new Board of Directors was established which has helped to stabilize the flagship program, and we had begun promoting our principles to a wider audience by opening multiple programss as well as supporting Annie Whitney in providing Empathy Training, Nutrition Workshops and outreach in the larger Santa Barbara Community.
Seasons’ signature methods have been evolving over the last 37 years and have served to inspire many local schools and programs to begin offering organic foods, green environments, outdoor classrooms and peaceful conflict resolution skills as part of their philosophy. As the Director of Seasons, Annie Whitney has lead a parent co-op, designed six outdoor schools, created a Seasons infant program, hosted parenting workshops, and mentored the director of multiple local Sister Programs, including Seasons Child Program and Seasons Path Mission Canyon run by Christie Macias. Annie and Christie additionally offer outreach to the community through mentoring and offering workshops to parents and teachers on Empathy Training and Non-Violent Communication.
In 2010 Christie Macias opened Seasons Child, the second Seasons Program in Santa Barbara. Then in 2015 Christie and Annie collaborated on creating the Seasons Path Programs. Christie took the lead, piloting the program. Both Annie and Christie, as well as the families enrolled, were overjoyed with the positive outcomes and benefits reported and observed in the Seasons Path program. Projecting into the 2017-2018 school year Seasons Path enrollment has grown rapidly enough that Seasons Path had to expand into two school sites and increased our need of school vans from 1 van to 4 vans being needed.
During her tenure as Director of Seasons Montecito, Annie Whitney had become a valued member of the Santa Barbara Family Childcare Association and is the Past-President of the Board of Directors. Annie has been a member of the planning council for the Annual Child Development Conference, a member of the Santa Barbara Family Care Center Advisory Council, as well as becoming a recognized network member of the Steps to Quality Program. Annie recently received an award from the Community Action Commission and the Childcare Planning Council of Santa Barbara County for “Outstanding Leadership in Family Childcare.” Seasons is proud to be Green Care Certified and assists other providers in meeting the Green Care commitment.
While running Seasons Child Preschool, Christie served as the Board President of the Westside Boys and Girls Club for 4 years while simultaneously sitting as a board member of the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara. Christie was able to successfully train the club staff in peaceful communication and healthy emotional development for children ages 5-18, with a focus on teen youth. With this model of work with the youth, the teen center grew from 8 teens to over 80 teen youth being served daily by directors and support staff. Youth who attended regularly, reported that they felt comfortable and excited about their participation because only when they were at the club, they felt heard and respected. They reported that they felt their thoughts and feelings were safe to be expressed without fear of negative reactions or judgements.
In 2017 Christie lead the project of launching The Seasons Path 501(c)(3). The Seasons Path has successfully provided services and trainings to over 200 youth and adults and 2 large local non-profit minority serving agencies in it's first quarter. The Seasons Path is excited for the ability to provide support to the Santa Barbara community as well as creating a model that can be replicated across the nation.
Christie and Annie are currently launching a new outreach program through local low power radio broadcasting. Christie and Annie are fueled by the Seasons philosophy, the population they serve and the impact they have seen through their work. Through this, they are continually driven to spread their knowledge through any outlet that can reach parents or childcare professionals in need of support and growth in best practices.
Reports from early attendees of our programs who are now attending college are that their earliest learning experiences at Seasons supported them throughout their school years in being conscious people who understand that they play an active role in creating the world they live in. The communication skills and peaceful problem solving techniques mastered early on stayed with them and served them well in a variety of post-early childhood program environments. Children will often return to Seasons during their later educational years to attend Summer Camp, complete work experience, volunteer work and we currently have a counselor on staff who attended Seasons as a child. Additionally, parents report that their exposure to Seasons encouraged and supported them in taking active initiative in their child’s school communities after long term enrollment at Seasons .
Seasons Path is committed to creating emotionally aware communities dedicated to the use of non-violent communication and having a universal commitment to the safety of all living beings.