A fresh breeze is always relaxing after a long morning of chores, and the sound of laughter and sight of smiles creates a shine that brightens the farm even on one of the more cloudy days of the week. Our four rockstar crew leaders Fatou, Jolie, Tara and Paula arrived on the farm this week to begin familiarizing themselves with their new positions for the summer, and I had the opportunity to meet all of them and learn how I can best support them. The crew leaders and staff spent the week running through the various types of morning chores, taking on new responsibilities and getting more and more excited for what this program will bring them. The staff’s continuous support for the program’s implementation can’t go unnoticed, from Lechandre’s delicious meals to Liz’s leadership on the field and everyone’s teamwork makes this year’s summer program another great start towards success for everyone whom the program interacts with.
Learning to Do
One of the biggest components for leadership training is learning the best way to engage with everyone, the land, and becoming comfortable with all of the responsibilities and the systems in place for this program to run smoothly. I’ve come to recognize the levels to learning at the Youth Farm Project, where some are more simple like recognizing all the food being grown in the different spots on the land or learning types of farm tools and practices, to others that require a bit more imagination, such as learning how to engage everyone on the farm so that they know how to enjoy themselves while still contributing to our mission. An aspect of this that I saw stood out was watching a leadership training exercise for our crew leaders, where they were given certain scenarios they might encounter on the job and had to figure out the best way to approach these situations. All of their responses came from a place of respect and in the best interest of everyone involved, demonstrating that our leaders understand their roles as mediators, listeners, and mentors, knowing that they will set the standard for positive and meaningful interactions with their fellow crew members and staff. As someone who is observing these interactions, I’m happy to report that I have 100% faith in our crew leaders in serving to the best of their ability, ensuring they are not overworking themselves while still managing to fulfill their duties as role models on the farm. I look forward to watching these lovely people grow into strong leaders for our program, and want to do everything I can to make sure all of their needs are met.
By Melissa Montejo