Growing our Summer Camp Program

Posted by on Aug 21, 2019 | Comments Off on Growing our Summer Camp Program

Growing our Summer Camp Program

This summer, we hosted summer 8 weeks of summer camp with elementary school students as we have for years, but what an amazing expansion of reach we had this summer. With gardens in full bloom and ready for harvest, it has always been a push of ours to get the harvests into the hands of the community and it became so much easier with visits of over 170 CCS students coming through our elementary gardens each week. We had the wonderful opportunity of strengthening our programming with growing support from Charlottesville Parks and Recreation. We used to host around 30 kids a week at the CSG gardens through the Parks and Rec camp, Greenstone on 5th students, and Southwood Boys and Girls Club but this year, Parks and Rec relocated their programming to schools, which gave 170+ students the opportunity to come and get their hands dirty, eat delicious food and prepare the gardens for an exciting school year! Now that’s what you call a garden evolution!

 Every week was filled with new, hands-on experiences for the students. The programming had some staple activities mixed with new and exciting experiments that were so exciting. One of our exciting new lessons was a way to highlight the amazing apple tree in the Greenbrier courtyard. Sarah and Traci Martin (PE Teacher at Venable) worked together to make a delicious apple jelly from the ripe green apples which was spread onto crackers and tasted by the students.

Another popular activity was the preparation and tasting of a cucumber lemonade. There was an abundance of cucumbers growing at Jackson-Via elementary school where there was no summer programming so we filled our bags and brought them to camp where we blended the cucumbers, juiced some lemons and added a touch of honey that created the most refreshing lemonade that helped beat the heat in the summer sun.  

Between jams and cucumber lemonades, we had time for so many exploration activities and growing activities. Some of the other opportunities we had were bug scavenger hunts, weeding beds to prepare for the Three Sisters crops, watering plants, making mud homes with the dirt and last but certainly not least we harvested yummy, nutritious foods to cook and eat! Other fan favorite recipes was the quick pickle recipe and hashbrowns. The pickles highlighted the garden grown cucumbers, dill, garlic and other herbs which we stored in vinegar filled jars overnight and devoured the next day. We also harvested potatoes from the garden in summer, sauteed fresh potatoes on the skillet to make hash browns.

It’s safe to say this summer has been fun-filled with a chance to explore and continue student excitement through the summer into this school year.