This summer I was lucky enough to be asked to run a week-long Cooking Camp through our town’s Park and Recreation Department. I had never run a camp before, especially a week full of cooking with 14 children by myself so I was pretty nervous.
Each day we had a special recipe to make and I tried my best to tie in associated circle time songs, games, crafts, books and activities.
The children ranged in age from 4 years old to 6 years old and also my three girls were there to assist. Keira was a HUGE help and lead storytime and many of the crafts for me while I was setting up.
We all made our own special aprons to wear throughout the week and as the days passed by we became like a little family. I started to get to know each child and their individual personalities and they began to trust me and their friends and open up more.
We made five different recipes including homemade individual pizzas, apple turnovers,
homemade ice cream in a bag, homemade bread and banana surprise muffins. I was SO lucky that each day the recipes came out great and the only problem we had was on the very last day my timing was a bit off and the parents had to wait an extra 15 minutes for the muffins to finish baking.
The children LOVED cleaning up. Isn’t it so amazing that children actually really enjoy these activities when we present it to them in a way that makes them feel capable and responsible? They were all such wonderful kids and I miss them already.
After that week of working with this age group in a class environment, I realized how much I loved it. Yes, it was hard getting up each morning and being organized enough to have my supplies and my girls in the car on time. And after camp ended each day, I was tired and did look forward to a break. But I really did love it.
I know that working and advocating for children is what I am meant to be doing. And something I will be doing more of in the future.
Now that our public middle school has decided to eliminate Home Economics from the curriculum and replace it with a 21st Century Internet Skills class, I am considering running an after-school cooking and sewing class so kids still have a way to learn how to cook their own meal and sew on a button after they’ve mastered searching the Internet and programming websites for the 21st Century (yes you are sensing some major sarcasm).
And I also hope to help run Cooking Camp again next summer and maybe even add on a week or two if I have the time now that I know what to expect.
Seeing how proud the children were of themselves was so fulfilling to me. I love that I am helping them discover how amazing they are and all that they can create in this world.
And, in the meantime, they are helping me find myself again.
Truly a win win.