18 Reasons ran our first ever youth camp this July, and it was one of the real highlights of the summer for us. Over the course of one week, our eleven campers took care of sheep and chickens in the mornings and in the afternoons learned to make pizza from scratch. From milling their own flour that they later kneaded into dough, to pulling mozzarella and making tomato sauce, the kids made everything we needed to throw the best pizza party ever on Friday afternoon.
Teaching kids proved phenomenally rewarding for us; it allowed us to fulfill our mission in whole new, rich, and powerful ways. “Deepening our relationship to food and each other” is our calling, and watching these 9-11 year-olds master new cooking skills, care for animals, and get excited about food allowed us to help them do just what our mission prescribes. It was rad! So much so, that we are doing a lot of youth programming, starting this fall with Peanut Butter and the Pen, a creative food writing after school program on Wednesdays. Students will tackle letter writing, autobiography, fiction, and basic grammar skills all while writing about (and tasting) food. We’re also developing some camp ideas for school vacation weeks; we’ll keep you posted!
As part of our efforts to expand our youth programming, 18 Reasons is also reaching out to the garden coordinators, teachers, nutrition counselors, and parents who teach our children. We’ve worked with the Green Schoolyard Alliance and the Nutrition Education Project to identify needs in the education community that 18 Reasons is equipped to address. As a result, we’ve planned two new programs: First, we’ll be holding furlough day workshops on how to cook and teach in edible school gardens; these classes will help facilitate teacher comfort using outdoor classrooms to teach all sorts of skills and subjects. Second, 18 Reasons is hosting quarterly support and community building sessions for garden coordinators working in San Francisco schools. We’ve got the space to bring people together, and we cannot think of a better group of people to get in the same room and share skills than those who are teaching the City’s kids.
As always, thank you for your support of 18 Reasons as our programming evolves. Your ticket sales and membership dues support all of this exciting new work, and we honestly couldn’t do it without you.