Oh man did last week fly by! The first year of Living Local couldn’t have been more amazing. There were some hiccups along the way, but the smiling faces at graduation were the greatest proof of a job well done.
With so many adventures, it’s hard to list them all, but here are some highlights from each day:
Sunday started off at dawn with a sea turtle hatchling release before the youth visited Freedom Harvest Farm. There, Ms. Vicki surprised them with homemade fresh peach ice cream after feeding farm animals and harvesting sustainably grown peaches, figs, grapes, garlic, dill, and much much more. The youth also pickled their own cucumbers, assembling them from local ingredients! Freedom Harvest Farm was followed by fishing at the River Ranch with James Gourley and this crew. There, youth caught catfish and a baby alligator, before meeting Ms. Linda and Mr. Jim at Independent Equine. A long day created lots of sleepy campers.
Monday morning started off at Independent Equine, where they continued working on their riding skills, with drills such as the great egg race. Children decorated an egg and had to walk, trot, and canter without it falling off their spoon. Needless to say the local canine protectors had a delicious egg lunch. The youth also met Chef Dave for the first time, learning all about the importance of whole grains and how to make their own pizza!
Tuesday we saw a very unique beauty pageant. Ms. Linda challenged the youth to put on lipstick while racing around barrels. The results were hugely entertaining, and our contestants all earned high honors from the judges. Hungry campers arrived at Feeding America where Chef Dave taught them all about the amazing egg and nopal cactus, an edible cactus grown right here in Corpus!
Wednesday put the youth’s knowledge to the test. Through a partnership with Grow Local South Texas, youth had the chance to harvest produce at the Tom Graham Learning Garden before selling it at the Downtown Farmer’s Market. The youth shared what they had learned throughout the week at the Learning Garden, Information, and Kid’s Activity booth, spreading their love of local agriculture and food with those they met. Mid way through the market, their boss gave them a break from selling to sing some old timey country music, where they wowed the audience with their confidence and creativity. The last night turned into a challenging one when we arrived back at the Padre Island National Seashore to find a storm had blown through while we were away, leaving the tents flooded.
Thursday morning, the youth rallied and helped each other organize their stuff, wringing out clothes and packing up camp. Despite the unexpected flooding, the youth finished off the week with smiles and laughter around their favorite card game. Parents met happy but exhausted kids at graduation, where youth impressed their parents with their accomplishments and a remix from Disney’s Mulan, “We’ll Make Campers Out of You.”
Thank you to all who volunteered and collaborated with Youth Odyssey to make this week such a smashing success. We can’t wait to do it again next year!