I had the distinct pleasure of spending this week at our Vacation Garden School with 37 kids who were claiming their role as stewards of the earth. Loved it.
My favorite part came after lunch, when I headed out with the oldest kids, the middle schoolers, to do service work by gardening. These 13 wonderful young people spent the hottest week of the year toiling for others. They turned compost and built a trellis at a community garden. They planted seeds, weeded, and watered at the Lowell School garden. They improved the gardens of residents of Hall Street who are busy working and caring for young children. They potted plants and gave them away to delighted shoppers at the Watertown Farmers Market. They were like a joy SWAT team.
And here’s the most beautiful part: They loved doing it. They were glad to be taken seriously as useful, competent people. It revived their spirits to do something in the service of people in their community. Much as they love their minecraft realms and fan fiction writing, working together, in real time, with real live stuff, helped them awaken to their holy capacity. At a time in their lives when they are often told they are not ready, not trustworthy enough, not strong enough, they were thankful to be given meaningful tasks and trusted to do them.
VGS does not rely on any purchased curriculum. It relies on finding opportunities to connect, create, and celebrate with the people with whom we are in relationship. I am so thankful for the work the youth did this week and pray that they grow from strength to strength as they continue growing into the fullness of who they were created to be.