Positive Youth Development Institute – Husson University (Summer 2012, 2013 & 2014)
GOT Farms was invited to participate in the Positive Youth Development Institute conference at Husson University in the summer of 2012. One GOT Farms student worked with Mrs. Prescott, other youth leaders, and adult advisors to create a plenary presentation for all the conference attendees. This is the video that we helped to produce, and that was presented at the 2012 PYDI conference as part of our collaborative plenary presentation:
PYDI 2012 – Youth Plenary collaborative film project –
In the summer of 2013, GOT Farms was invited back to the PYDI conference to participate in the collaborative youth plenary again, as well as to present our own workshop, “Sustaining Youth Engagement with a School Garden Program”. This workshop was planned by GOT Farms youth working in collaboration with adult advisors and was presented to a large group of of education professionals, including teachers, administrators, social workers, and youth program leaders. Two adult advisors and three youth participants were involved in the 2013 PYDI conference, and we were also invited back for a third year. In July 2014, four youth participated in the planning and presentation of another educational workshop for adults and we collaborated again with other youth leaders from around the state on the youth plenary presentation.
Citizenship Washington Focus Trip – June 29 – July 6, 2013
Because of our association with the 4H UMaine organization, GOT Farms was able to bring two students and program advisor, Melissa Prescott, to the week-long Citizenship Washington Focus Conference in Washington D.C. at no charge to the students’ families. This was the trip of a lifetime for everyone involved. A full description of the CWF program can be found here: http://www.4hcenter.org/youth-conference-center-overview/educational-programs/citizenship-washington-focus/about/
CWF 2013 photos:
Troy Howard Middle School – September 2013
On this trip, students learned about the projects and practices of this extremely successful school garden project, and gained valuable inspiration for GOT Farms projects and goals for the 2013-14 school year.
The garden project at Troy Howard Middle School was started in 2001 as an addition to the curriculum, and now produces several thousand pounds of organic vegetables, herbs and flowers annually. The crops are used in the school cafeteria, sold to the community at the student-run farm stand and at the Belfast Coop, and they are also donated to the Belfast Food Kitchen.
Garden tasks and projects integrate into school subjects across disciplines and learning styles, encouraging active learning and healthy living. Garden coordinator Jon Thurston provides steady and enthusiastic guidance, working with students to learn about food history and origin, the best science practices for growing, harvesting and processing vegetables, and experimenting with unusual crops. We were very inspired by what we saw during this trip and we hope to try out some new ideas from this garden at our school.
Preble Street Resource Center – February 2014
GOT Farms students from Telstar Middle and High School went on a field trip to the Preble Street Soup Kitchen in Portland, Maine. They volunteered their time to help prepare food for the lunchtime meal service. Students helped serve salad, sandwiches, soup, and desserts. They also talked to Preble Street’s volunteer coordinator, Elise Boyson, and the head of the soup kitchen, Sou Ellen Whitmore. From these conversations, students learned a great deal about the issues of hunger and homelessness in Maine’s largest city.
Unfortunately, there are more than 500 people who are currently experiencing homelessness in Portland. People can experience homelessness for a variety of reasons: they could be laid off from their job, they could experience a tragedy, or they might also come from another country and not have any family to rely on in hard times. Students learned to use more sensitive language, such as, “people who experience food insecurity,” rather than, “the hungry” or “the needy.” Students also learned that Preble Street receives donations of food from local stores and restaurants. For example, the sandwiches that students made for the lunch used bread donated by Trader Joe’s that was one day past it’s sell-by date, but still perfectly good to eat. Preble Street also helps people care for their pets when they are struggling with feeding and housing them.
Students left with some great ideas and inspiration for ways that they can help people who experience food insecurity in the Bethel community. Here are a few GOT Farms student reflections from the experience:
“I was sad to see how many people aren’t able to get food.” – Victoria, age 12
“I enjoyed volunteering at Preble Street because it was an amazing feeling knowing that you were helping so many people.” – Cassidy, age 12
“It’s amazing to know that we can make a difference.” – Tim – age 13
“I want to go back to Bethel and incorporate more dinners at Bethel Alliance Church with our youth group.” – Koley, age 12
To learn more about the Preble Street Resource Center, visit their website: www.preblestreet.org