Growing as People
Another exciting week at the Youth Farm continues to bring smiling faces and a determined attitude across the fields and sweeping into the farm at 8:30am sharp. As the crews continue to learn how to work best within their groups, everyone has been able to grow more comfortable with the responsibilities they have and purposes they serve. Revisiting why we have certain aspects of our farm such as opening the U-Pick garden to BIPOC folks and to low income folks in the Ithaca community to why we have the goats this summer helps the teens learn more about all the details that go into the hardworking life of farmers. More importantly, the groups have been able to contribute significantly and make great progress on the farm while also developing their skills. The rotation of jobs such as washing the harvest of the week, trellising tomatoes, weeding, and cooking with our program chef all contribute to a well rounded understanding of very distinct and crucial knowledge for all that involves the growing and preparation of the food provided by the farm.
Supporting Personal Development
But another important part of this program deserves its shoutout, and that’s the program’s dedication to developing the intrapersonal skills of the crew members. Learning how to be comfortable with themselves, their expression of their personalities and identities, is an important lesson and the teens were guided in this conversation by presenters who gave an insightful presentation on Gender and Sexuality. Another workshop, the Boundaries workshop led by farm assistant Leila Kiraz, also detailed ways to respect others and understand how to be mindful of their peers’ boundaries. These skills plus more are shaping the teens to be mindful of themselves and others, exercising healthy relationships with those around them and with themselves, all while they continue working hard on the day to day tasks that each new day brings them. And as many of our teens balance other jobs in the community, their regular farm work also helps develop skills essential for the workforce. Time management is one of the most important skills to work on for anyone, and sticking to the schedule as there is so much to do in a day is necessary for all of the members to understand. Communication and organization skills follow as these will allow all of the daily tasks to get done in an efficient and timely manner, allowing for the teens to learn how to work best with each other and move on to the next task at hand. All of this and more has allowed the group to become strong workers on the farm, who bring excitement and dedication to their work as they continue to learn about themselves, their peers, and the wonders of working with the land.
By Melissa Montejo