Youth Odyssey recently completed its’ 3rd Living Local Camp! The campers spent time on the beach and did a boatload of fun activities with our Coastal Bend partners . They learned a variety of new skills and gained new experiences in addition to the basic life skills our programs teach. The youth learned how to work as a team when they rode horses and went fishing. They also worked on leadership and communication while they cooked yummy meals, played with farm animals, learned how to compost, harvest crops, and helped local farmers at the Downtown Farmers Market.
The weather was perfect for camping on the beach at Mustang Island State Park. The campers were excited to be out near the water; and wanted to be in or near the water every chance they had. During the week it was great to see the different interactions in the group. Some of the campers attended Delta Camp the previous week, and already developed friendships. However, it did not take long for the Living Local group to bond as well. The campers continuously were helping each other, laughing and having fun together, and creating memories! Their teamwork really blossomed when they cooked together and helped with camp chores (so we could have more time for activities). The campers also showed us how to play a fun game called ‘The Floor is Lava!”; we played it just about anywhere we went!
“I want to thank you (my sponsor) for helping me come to this fun camp. This is my third year here, and I love helping the others learn new experiences. This camp gets better every year. I love how this camp is so close to the water, how we get to play with animals, and learn about healthy cooking.”14 year old female
To begin the week, we headed to River Ranch for the first set of activities. There we rode horses, and super fun barn games with Independence Equine. Some of us even braided the horse’s hair! Later in the day, we went fishing at the ponds located in River Ranch owned by James, of Gourley Contracting. There the group caught large catfish; and for some, it was their first fish catch ever! It was so awesome to be there for their first catch! We took pictures with the fish so we could save those memories!
The next day was jam-packed full of fun! We spent the day at the Grow Local Learning Garden. We got our hands dirty by harvested crops and prepping crops for the Corpus Christi Downtown Farmers Market. Our favorite crop was moringa because of its’ flavor, versatility, nutritional value, and of course its’ awesomeness. After the Learning Garden, we prepped our own meal at the Corpus Christi Food Bank. We made delicious baked flaked chicken along with northwest apple salad. We enjoyed making it, but enjoyed eating even more! To end the day, we spent a few hours helping different distributors at the Farmers Market. The youth met some awesome local farmers, and did some really cool things such as making freshly squeezed lemonades!
The following day we spent several hours at Freedom Harvest Farms. At the farm we learned about owning a small farm. We were able to pet and feed donkeys, chickens, and pigs! The pigs would eat literally anything! We fed two pigs about twenty small pears each, and they still wanted more! To finish the last day of activities, we had to spend a whole day at the beach! We buried each other in the sand, made sand castles, ate snow cones, and of course rode the waves!
“The hobby farm was so interesting, we ate homemade ice cream and it was completely organic. Wow, I just had so much fun this week.”13 year old female
To conclude camp, we held a graduation where campers received completion certificates and honorary camp name awards. We felt the awards were not enough so we also had a cookout! We ate burgers, and we performed a grand skit for the parents talking about the fun week! Graduation was full of memories, laughter, and good times! “It was such an awesome week. I went horseback riding, fishing, helped at the farmers market, and ate homemade ice cream. I really enjoyed this camp, and will come again.” – 12 year old female
Living Local: the Tradition Continues:
Every year Youth Odyssey strives to make a difference in the lives of youth through this camp. The impact is seen by the interactions between the youth, the community, and their desire to be apart of our camps! The goal of this Living Local Camp is to help youth learn vital skills for living a healthier life within their communities. Many of our partners helped teach and educate the youth on the impact of supporting local organizations and businesses, and how this helps grow the local economy. Our community provides opportunities for campers that their families are not able to do so themselves.
Without the help from our community through sponsorships, our youth will not have these great experiences. The continued support from our community and sponsors helps us make a bigger and more lasting impact on youth in the Coastal Bend!