This week marked the beginning of a summer of new experiences for 25 teenagers who set out to find a job. Here at the Youth Farm Project they ended up with something different than they might have expected. From endless beds of weeding, to bagels with cilantro pesto, to running through the Tunnel of Love, a summer at the Youth Farm is an experience you won’t find anywhere else.
This summer was my first time leading a crew, bringing me more challenges and rewards than my summer here last year. In this first week I watched everyone meet the farm and learn about what their next seven weeks would look like. Monday and Tuesday were crew leader training days. The other crew leaders and I refreshed our bean planting and carrot weeding skills, and we discussed the responsibilities and goals involved in leading a crew. I learned a lot of new things about the workings of the farm during these two days that had been mysteries to me last summer. Being a crew leader comes with a lot of responsibility, but it also is a lot of fun; sometimes you get to be in on what game you’re about to play, when it’s a big secret to everyone else.
On Wednesday all the young people arrived for their first day. Wednesday and Thursday were orientation days, we gave a tour of the farm, met the chickens, discussed work expectations, and played a bunch of name games. One of the biggest surprises, in my opinion, of working on the Youth Farm is all the game playing we do. Games are one of my favorite parts of the work day, something I don’t think most people can say about their job. Another surprise of the Youth Farm is how quickly you can get to know your co-workers. For me meeting people on the farm is different from meeting people at school or another job; I think it’s easier to connect with people when you have to work together to untangle the “human knot”, or to pound a field of tomato-trellising stakes into the ground. In addition to games and orientation on the first two days, everyone was also introduced to farm work, we jumped right in to weeding all of the garlic so it would soon be ready for a big harvest.
Week one was a busy start to a busy summer, and I think all of us can say we learned something new.
-Corrine Hill-James, 2015 Crew Leader