by Jessica Sheppard
One of the beautiful things about Muskoka, beyond its striking natural environment, is the array of opportunities it offers residents and guests to develop their talents and interests. The area is quaint and quiet enough to provide a serene escape from a busy lifestyle, but accessible enough not to seem isolated. On one hand, opportunities for community engagement, recreation and socialization are readily accessible; on the other, reflection, peacefulness and mindfulness can be found. In many ways, it is the Renaissance Person’s paradise.
The concept of the Renaissance Person is based upon the ideal of education as a means of civic engagement. Historically, Renaissance People were gifted intellectually, physically, and artistically; they were well-rounded in their talents. The root was the belief – in the words of Leon Battista Alberti – that “man can do all things if he will.” It was felt that allowing citizens the agency to explore and develop their interests and talents led to a richer, more moral, society.
Although the idea of the Renaissance Person has existed for centuries, it is still relevant today. Research suggests that well-rounded individuals tend to be more successful in school and the work force. They possess responsibility, resilience, and resourcefulness: characteristics that allow them to contribute meaningfully to society and live happy, fulfilling, lives.
It is difficult to experience Muskoka without being captivated by what it has to offer. Whether one is exploring the lakes and forests, learning about local history, enjoying the solitude of nature, or seeking an artistic or vocational muse, life’s richness somehow seems more evident in this place. Those fortunate enough to spend time in Muskoka have the opportunity to embrace their inner Renaissance People, thereby enriching their lives and their communities.
Jessica Sheppard hopes to inspire future generations of Renaissance People through her work as Co-Curricular Lead at Rosseau Lake College.