Pre-Camp: We received 38 low-income urban and rural youth application. Six (6) applications were not completed. We were happily surprised that youth considered rural wanted to attend an Agriculture camp, but they did. Twenty-eight (28) youth were selected (15 girls and 13 boys). Twenty-one (21) were inner-city youth and seven (7) were considered rural. Youth attending were from New Mexico (3), Chicago (1), Texas (4), Missouri (2), and Kansas (18). Nineteen (19) were free lunch certified and the remainder received reduced or brought their lunches. Six (6) were in after school programs, which provided a snack and tutoring.
Day one: Camp began June 17th with registration concluding by 11:30 am. At noon the campers met with Coach Bill Snyder for lunch and a tour of the football facility on the KSU campus. At 1:30 they toured the KSU farms (crop and dairy) and Call Hall where they make our famous Purple Passion (among other flavors) ice cream. They met up with their student mentors (MANRRS students) and started the conservation/recycling unit developed by Anthony Meals, a MANRRS student and McNair Scholar (please see attached results of pre and post assessments). The campers divided into groups and completed a soil testing activity and went to the community garden. After ice cream they got back into their groups and developed their own recycling advertisements and worked on a skit. They presented the skits after dinner and MANRRS students made a PowerPoint presentation about the many majors and careers in Agriculture. John Deere (a co sponsor) provided hats and evening pizza.
Day two: Students were again divided into groups and they rotated between the community garden, Farmers Market (campers were given their camp reusable bags to shop for fruits and vegetables), rock climbing at the recreation center, and team building activities. They spent the later part of the morning discussing the vegetables in the garden and sharing the vegetables they selected at the farmers market and why it was selected. The camp voted 19 to 9 to incorporate eggplant into one of our meals.
Mr. Gary Alexander passed away, so Chef Willie Horne did the farmers’ market and garden tours. He also explained the vegetables and their many uses. It was his amazing presentation that “sold” the majority of the campers on trying eggplant. The afternoon was spent doing other activities.
Day three: We headed to Nicodemus, however, we were invited by the Osborn NRCS and Forever Pheasants to stop in Osborn, KS at the Boy Scouts camp to share in a half day of water resource conservation activities. The campers did everything from testing water, to electrocuting fish, to working with animal pelts native to Kansas. All enjoyed the activities and according to our survey it was the second most liked event!
Upon our arrival in Nicodemus, Mr. Gil Alexander met us on his farm and explained why they were not harvesting. He took the campers to the fields and they were able to explore his farm and farm equipment. He had a fun challenge for the campers, they were asked to figure out how much wheat he could expect from an acre, and how much he would earn an acre. The Reuse group won the challenge to the other group’s disappointment. The Reuse group were supposed to go first at the campfire with their s’mores, but the wind was much too strong, so we played baseball using 1890 rules and equipment instead. The Reuse group was first up to bat. Mr. Reggie Jordon came in his re-enactment baseball uniform, lectured, and played ball with the campers. The campers enjoyed ringing the bell after a homerun.
Day four: The campers went fishing and hiking at Webster State Park. At 11 am, Mr. Horne led a nutrition discussion and also talked about window herb gardens. Each camper was given an herb starter kit with planter. They had a choice between a window, patio or garden planter. After lunch they finished the discussion about the dinner “Dining @ the Farmer’s Table”, divided responsibilities and started on the eggplant dishes. They also spent part of the afternoon horseback riding, participating in the Jr. Ranger program at the National Park in Nicodemus and working on their skits for their parents.
We had 12 parents/guardians attend the dinner (however, four (4) were from the Graham County area), so we provided transportation for eight (8) parents/guardians to attend. Mr. Curtis Clark, not only supplied the horses and worked with the campers he supplied the pig roast. We were unable to eat on the farm because of the strong winds, so the “Farmers Table” was moved to the community center in Nicodemus, three miles south of the farm. Chef Horne and the campers developed three eggplant dishes (please see Appendix B) to serve to our guest. The campers ended the evening performing their recycling skits and horseback riding with their parents/guardians.
Day five: Raena’s Landscaping did not plant a tree this year; she said this is not the time of year to do so. She demonstrated putting their planters together and also how to make a vertical garden. She discussed and demonstrated tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables that can be kept in a planter even potatoes!!!!! She brought potatoes with her and the campers along with Chef Horne made potato chips for their lunch bag. Parents were given their camp reusable bags and campers received a $10 Price Choppers Grocery Card for those that live in Kansas City, KS and Missouri. All other campers from Kansas and Texas were given a $10 Kroger’s card and we provided the campers from Chicago and New Mexico with a $10 Visa Gift card and we encouraged them and their family to use it at a grocery to buy fresh produce. ALL were encouraged to buy fresh produce with their gift cards.
Post camp: Campers and their families were sent USB jump drives, with results of the pre and post assessments, fall newsletter andan invitation to join us at the State Fair in Hutchinson, KS. They were also invited to Pioneer Days, October 5, 2013 in Historic Nicodemus. The theme for the event was Kansas Farmers from 1877 to present. Also included on the jump drive were tips for the home gardens and locations to go to find a Farmers’ Market in their area. We had 100 USB jump drives donated by the Army reserves. We sent the jump drives to all the schools represented by our campers and Kansas State Board of Education Diversity Resource Library for further distribution. Funds provide for by Robert Brogden Auto Plaza allowed us to print 100 copies of the newsletter and distribute to key student groups such as, but not limited to, Boys and Girls Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, Parks and Recreation Centers and Ag or 4-H groups. Our Graham County Extension Agent also helped us distribute the newsletter to key agriculture organizations/offices.