When it was late June in 2011 and I still had no summer job, I was just getting tired of filling out applications, but my parents were actually concerned about my lack of employment. When a friend told me about the Youth Farm Project, it sounded perfect. It was the first job I'd applied for that I actually really wanted. When I got there, it was better than I'd imagined. The sense of community is prevalent with this project on many levels: within Ithaca, as our neighbors are provided with the produce we grow locally; in the barn through team building games and a mutual sense of accomplishment; and within our crews, because of the strength of bonds built by good, hard work.
Every day, as we give ourselves a final round of applause and the dust jolted off our hands floats toward the ceiling, the feeling of pride and accomplishment between all of us is enormous and empowering. At 1:45, it's hard to remember toiling in the fields, smearing tired hands across our sweaty foreheads, stretching our aching backs, and counting down the minutes until break. But every moment spent pulling weeds and pushing a trowel into the hot, hard dirt was worth it because each day, we can see what we've accomplished.
It's hard to believe that this group hasn't been together for even a full week yet--- but also not, because it's easy to see that we've already seen what we're capable of, and motivated ourselves to keep working. I'm looking forward to where we'll go from here.