Saturday, July 2, 2011

Week 1 is in the (reusable) bag!

Yes, I can scarcely believe it, but the first week of the summer program is already well behind us! The week wrapped up with a warm, sunny Friday that the kids spent having a fun Field Day outdoors at the school. The program is set up so that each Friday is a field trip or other fun activity, so no curriculum (other than, of course, the education gained from positive, fun activities).

While the students splashed around outside, we stayed busy in the kitchen. Our Friday meals are all planned to be easily taken in a to-go format - no messy frittatas or stir-fries today. On the menu this week were Veggie Roll-ups, fresh flour tortillas into which we put a medley of vegetables, fresh Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, grated cheese, and a creamy all-natural dressing. We tossed in a few baby carrots for good measure and an applesauce cup into each student's brown bag.

This setup, of course, posed some environmental questions. A main goal of this camp is Zero Waste! (if you say it aloud, you will realize it's a double entendre) and so far we have been succeeding with flying colors. At each meal, we have a system of many tubs set up, where students dispose of any uneaten food, mugs, plates, silverware, etc. On Friday, we added a few extra bins, leaving one for paper bags, for applesauce cups, and on down, so again, there was very little actual trash left at the end of the meal. We suspect some staff member will be able to find an art project to do with the applesauce cups, and we'll reuse the brown bags next week.

The morning started out with a bangin' success, as well. On the menu for breakfast: fresh fruit smoothies and whole-grain muffins made with locally-milled spelt flour (more about that in a future post), currants, and walnuts. Many of the kids were initially unimpressed by the word "smoothie," but nearly everybody drank down the entire thing - and who wouldn't? Erin, another VISTA, blended together frozen bananas with organic yogurt, Snowville milk, and plenty of peaches and blueberries - most of which we received as donations at the farmers' market through CFI's Donation Station.

All in all, it was a busy yet extremely rewarding week. It was amazing to watch as, each day, the kids grew more and more comfortable with being at the camp and the things they were learning. It was quite a remarkable journey from the first morning, where very few of the campers finished their oatmeal, let alone tried it, to the last, where only four children did not finish their muffins, and everyone tried a taste. I nearly jumped for joy! It has also been marvelous to watch them in the kitchen; they are enthusiastic about it all, even (or especially!) washing dishes! I hope that next week, they will get to be involved even more with the food preparation, as we can really see the positive effects of engaging them in the food-prep process. The students' eyes twinkle when I announce who helped make which components of the meal. We're giving them ownership over their food. It's the first step, at least!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited to hear that the first week went so well. Cooking with my students was one of my favorite activities when I was a teacher, and one that stuck with them for a long, long time. You will all definitely leave a mark on these kids!