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July 1, 2024 | Education

Summer Stories: Youth Development Program, Week 1

The summer session of our Cultivate Hope Youth Development program started Monday, June 24, and we’ve done so much already!

YDP Orientation

This year’s Youth Development Program started on Monday, June 24th, with orientation, and a tour of the Urban Farm. This program is a paid opportunity for high-school-age students to develop and hone various skills in preparation for life beyond the classroom. For the six returning students this was all review, but our nine new students were able to see and hear it all for the first time. This year’s group is similar to past years with students coming from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and varying races. All students are from area high schools, age 14-17. This year we are lucky to have 1 full time staff member, 1 intern, and 1 volunteer work with the 15 students daily. This is a huge increase in support compared to previous years.

As we moved into Day 2 the farm work began. Students were treated to a day in the 90’s with a heat index over 100. Even with many breaks for water and shade, it was obvious this would be a challenging day. Four students elected to leave early,YDP farm work but the students who remained were able to accomplish a significant amount of farm tasks. The staff was very proud of the work completed.

By Day 3 they hit their stride on completing work as a team, and moving through their first few workshops. This first week was focused on setting our standards and norms, consequences, and working on effective communication.

When we arrived at YDP preparing veggies Day 4, Thursday, it was all prep for the Cultivate Hope Mega Market. Students set up tents and tables as well as harvested, washed, weighed, and packed produce to be used in the CSA shares and sold at market. They also cleaned, picked up trash, and assisted on some neighboring Transform projects. At times, it was a bit chaotic, with some students taking the opportunity to hide to avoid more work, but this was quickly corrected.

We were able to accomplish a lot this first week, and we are looking forward to a short holiday week up next.