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June 30, 2023 | Education

Summer Stories: Youth Development Program, Week 1

The summer session of our Cultivate Hope Youth Development program started Monday, June 26, and we’ve done so much already!

The Youth Development Program is a paid opportunity for high-school-age students to develop and hone various skills in preparation for life beyond the classroom. The summer session is called the Seed Crew, and is 8 weeks of working, learning, and connecting as a team.

My name is Julia, and I’m the Education Leader for our Green Iowa AmeriCorps team. This summer, I’m working with the Youth Development Program, and I’ll be sharing recaps of each week of this program.

On Monday, we met the crew and had an overview of the program, including what the students can expect this summer. We started with some team building games to help everyone get to know each other and build some connections. Everyone went on a tour of the Cultivate Hope Urban Farm, and the crew picked some cherries together to end the day.

Tuesday morning was spent on the playground de-weeding the thistles and covering the area with mulch. The group spent some time talking about tool safety and how to be aware of your surroundings to keep each other safe. After lunch we spent some time writing down goals we have for the summer, the next year, and the next ten years.

On Wednesday we were over at the Matthew 25 office to do some indoor activities. Seed Crew was split into groups and had the entire morning to think about what would make their perfect community. After talking with each other and creating a list, they got to draw and color a map of what they thought would be the best community. They even had the chance to present their ideas to everyone! In the afternoon, everyone got together to bake zucchini bread and pit the cherries we picked on Monday. The zucchini bread they make will be sold at our weekly Farmers Market and at the Cultivate Hope Corner Store.

Thursday we were back at the office to clean the hydroponic system. Our hydroponic system supplies lettuce and herbs to Groundswell Cafe and the Corner Store all winter long, but they were ready to be packed up for the summer while we focus on farming outdoors. We had a few members working on that while others packaged up the zucchini bread or sorted seeds. After lunch we headed to the farm to harvest some vegetables for the Mega Market. The crew also assisted with setting up tables, tents, and chairs, and some stayed to work at the produce booth.

It was a great week and we can’t wait to be back next week!