Since the summer of 2019, Fit-2-Serve has partnered with the Mattoon Family YMCA to provide programming for their Summer Youth Camp. Utilizing the garden as a classroom, youth walk from the YMCA to our garden for interactive activities to learn.
Weekly lesson plans are created that include a rotation of stations where youth learn the basics of gardening, including weeding, planting, & harvesting. The campers learn how to use gardening tools such as hand shovels, mini wheelbarrows, mini garden hoes, hand rakes, watering cans, & much more!
Summer AmeriCorps VISTAs are instrumental in leading & facilitating the programming that nurtures relationships while participating in the service-learning activities. This is a prime example of a vibrant collaborative community partnership!
Check out some of the summer activities we do!
The kids got to make a fruit kabob using watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple & strawberries. They then got to "taste test" different Mexican seasonings & sauces such as Chamoy, & Tajin!
The kids got to dissect a pea pod with a toothpick when it was too hot to be in the garden. They learned the different parts of the pea plant & how they grow above ground!
Pea Pod Craft
The kids LOVED making their own "pea pod family"!
The kids learned how to scoop & move mulch using hand scoops & wheelbarrows!
The kids have been planting all kinds of fruits & veggies this summer! They learned how certain seeds have to be planted differently depending on how it grows.
The kids learned how to water plants properly using a watering can.
The very first Inspiration Station was held at Sunrise Apartments in July 2017 & was inspired by a teacher's desire to maintain contact with students over the summer months. Over the years, the success of the program proved invaluable & was incorporated into the F2S mission. The name was changed to Inspire-2-Grow with a focus on an 8-week STEAM curriculum that was developed & facilitated by a team of local teachers.
Teachers follow the Salvation Army's Summer Food Truck schedule, meeting the students & families in their neighborhood & eating lunch with them, followed by an hour-long STEAM activity. In 2021, we partnered with the Mattoon Family YMCA Summer Youth Campers to provide activities at our facility. For 8 weeks each summer, youth are engaged in creating & building robots, Ferris wheels, & other projects that provide fun, experiential learning opportunities. On a weekly basis, approximately 75-80 youth participate at one of the locations.
Take a look at some of the activities!
The kids from the YMCA designed & built their own car!
The kids from the YMCA built & designed a rocket. Using water & Alka-Seltzer tablets they watched them shoot into the air!
The campers from the YMCA designed & built their own tree house!
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