As I dive into my college adventure I cannot help but reflect upon the importance experience has added to my life, credentials, and knowledge. Being part of the LEFDP Leader In Training program for five years now has not only extended my love of organic, wholesome farming but also enhanced what it means to teach, learn, and collaborate in an educational environment. In 2010 I joined the team for the annual LEFDP farm camps for children and since then I have come back every summer to watch the program and camps grow.
I believe the collaboration between student and teacher is key to an effective learning experience and the LIT program bridges the gap, allowing for teens to teach and learn from both the child and program leader. An LIT learns to be attentive, follow and give instructions, work with leaders, aid children, and plan/make each camp day happen.
In early summer, before the camps start, all the LITs meet and have an orientation day to learn about their roles in the program, plan camp activities and lessons (which they will then lead, themselves), learn about how to work with the children, and brainstorm community building and problem solving techniques.
Every day one leader is chosen to overlook the team and keep everyone on task, making sure dishes get done, floors swept, children helped, and food/activities prepped. Learning the process and steps it takes to have the farm camp program is really important- as is learning the importance of a sturdy foundation and behind-the-scenes team (that’s us!)
I’ve shared so many memories and laughs with the team. Letting out giggles as the kids hula their hips around the fire pit, chanting “sticks below hips!” when talking about marshmellow roasting safety. Leading “toasts” to encourage the kids to hydrate as we hike around the farm and harvest fruits and veggies. Rubbing my stomach as I describe the effects of “Berry Belly” to the kids as they feast in rows of ripe strawberries and golden raspberries for an afternoon snack.
So as the LIT program grows I urge all teens (13+) to experience this special opportunity that LEFDP has provided for the community. It is also a great community service or service learning opportunity, looks amazing on college applications (they love leadership positions) and on a resume for future job and volunteering experiences, and is the perfect setting for some fun summertime leadership learning. Come join the team- LITs rock!
By Krista Young, 5th year LIT