Hi, this is Marsha Morris Sanders from Project WORTH/Grow Appalachia Gardening Project in Means, KY. This past week, June 8-10, the Grow Appalachia team, conducted the Grow Appalachia Gardening Youth Camp. We had approximately 23 kids each day with ages ranging from 4-16. The children enjoyed making several garden related crafts and activities. They were served a balanced breakfast and lunch through the Federal summer lunch program. A representative from the Menifee County Extension Service did a healthy snacks activity with the campers on two of the three days. The children seemed to enjoy the camp and learned a lot about different types of gardening. Here are the activities we did each day.
On Monday, we allowed the children to paint clay flower pots with acrylic paints. Most of the pots were very pretty. Each child put soil in their pot to take home. We had some talented artists at our camp. Afterward, I talked to them about how Native Americans made clay pots thousands of years ago. I told them about doing archeological digs in area rock houses as a young girl and finding pot shards in them. Then we talked about using walking sticks for hiking in the woods. I showed them two home-made ones that belong to my husband and the story behind one that had belonged to my father. The kids were then given 2 inch dowel rods to paint to make their own walking sticks. These can also be uses as tomato stakes for the tomato plant they took home. I read them 2 books about sandwiches. Then they had to create one on paper with at least 3 items from their gardens on it. After lunch, the campers made doughnut seeds (Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks). I explained these were mad from wheat and corn.
Tuesday, we had a nature scavenger hunt. They looked for a rock, leaf, clover leaf, seed, stick, dandelion, and some dirt. We gave a first and second place prize for the winners in each of the 2 groups of children. After that, they took the items they found and painted pictures with them. The campers were allowed to pan for gold. They dug through sand in a box looking for treasures we had buried in the sand. This was not only a sensory activity but also went along with the archeological reference from the day before. They also loved the small trinkets we put in for them to find. The extension representative showed them how to make strawberry and banana smoothies. They really liked the smoothies. I talked to the kids about top vegetables and fruits and root vegetables. The campers were given seed catalogs and each made a collage labeling the fruits and veggies they chose as top or bottom ones. The last activity, of the day, they went to the Project Worth Outreach garden where they were shown the different vegetables and how to harvest and prepare them.
On Wednesday, the last day of camp, the kids made tie dye shirts. I told them about how people used fruits, vegetables, bark, wood, etc. to make dyes thousands of years ago. I also told the children that some people still use natural dyes today. The extension representative made fruit pizzas with the campers. A representative from KHEAA came and talked to them about careers and played a game called career charades with them. She gave each child a coloring book about college attendance and a key chain. After lunch, we took group pictures.
The campers had a great time at camp. They learned a lot about plants, gardening, healthy food preparation and nature. I learned that it takes a lot of hard work, planning, and activities to keep 25 children busy for 3 hours. Happy Gardening!!