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August 18, 2023 | Education

Summer Stories: Youth Development Program, Week 8

The final week of Seed Crew came full-circle as the students did their last harvesting, tried a new recipe, and gave presentations about what they learned this summer.

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.

This was our last week of Youth Development! We cannot believe how fast this summer went by.

On Monday, we started in the farmhouse to shred zucchini and make zucchini bread. Some students harvested carrots and beans, and a few students continued cleaning up the edging around the farm to make it look nice! After lunch, we all worked on our Transamerica presentation. The Transamerica Foundation helps to fund our Youth Development Program, so at the end of the summer the students present on topics they’ve learned about and give samples of food and treats they’ve made.

Tuesday was the big day! The morning was spent getting our farm ready and looking nice for our visitors. The students made posters to showcase ideas for their presentations and did one last practice run. The representatives from Transamerica were great guests and they got to talk directly with the students about their experiences. It was so fun and rewarding to see. In the afternoon, we made bags for our huge loads of onions and then filled them up. Some students weighed tomatillos, and another group cleaned up the farmhouse from all the baking we did.

On Wednesday morning, we bagged the rest of the onions and worked on cleaning up the farm for a big event on Saturday. We leveled some gravel, did trash pickup, and weeded a few areas. It was looking spotless by the time lunch came around! After lunch we headed over to the office to listen to a presentation on mushrooms from a Green Iowa AmeriCorps member. It was super interesting and tested everyone’s biology knowledge.

Thursday was their last day. The morning was full of baking and cooking. We tested out a new recipe for carrot cake, and it turned out amazing! We also made salsa, and those two value-added products were both sold at the market that evening. They sold out super fast! For lunch we did a taco bar and everyone got to build their own tacos. After lunch, we played some minute-to-win-it games in teams with a cool prize at stake – a blue Cultivate Hope Youth Development shirt. After the games, everyone got cupcakes and cookies, and we all said our goodbyes until next summer.

We had a blast this summer and we loved having all of the students help out around the farm. We can truly see how much each of them has grown, and we can’t wait to see them again next summer!