Whenever we are asked how this project is going, we always try to answer that although the current day (camp, planning, regroup, whatever) is a challenge, we’re sure that tomorrow or next time will be the best one yet. This week was, indeed, the best camp yet and we see that success coming from a few key factors.
First, as we’ve learned from our past two camp sessions, kids (especially kids in the summer) have a lot of energy. During our first camp session, we didn’t schedule any time for breaks or for play. Last week, we tried out some ice breaker games to allow our campers to blow off some steam. This week, we had even more success with the camp games generously sent to us by the Centerville Washington Park District, the city parks service in Shannon’s hometown. We loved watching our campers play, and we loved playing with them.
This week, we also added to our education component with materials from another community partner: Shannon’s middle school health teacher, Kate Godzik. Mrs. Godzik lent us teaching materials to visually depict the amount of sugar or fat or salt in food common to the American diet. We enjoyed seeing the shock and disgust on our campers’ faces as they hoisted test tubes with near-hyperbolic amounts of sugar and fat. Mrs. Godzik’s teaching tools helped us emphasize the importance of a balanced diet: it’s okay to have a cheeseburger or a glass of soda every once in a while, but nobody would want to put the amount of fat or sugar we can see in the test tubes in their body every day.
This week, we learned that success comes from partnership. The mission of Four Seasons City Farm is to renew the Olde Towne East neighborhood through urban gardening, and part of that mission includes strengthening bonds between community institutions. This week, although the people and organizations we reached out to were geographically out of the borders of Olde Towne East, we feel like we upheld City Farm’s mission well.