So this particular week we had the resiliency camp for the teenagers. Since VEJ is located in Brightmoor, we decided to hold the teen camp at Detroit Community High School. This school is really exceptional and hosts several vocational options like woodworking, gardening, screen printing, and tricycle fabrication. In fact, several benches at Hope House were made by the students from Detroit Community High. We focused on identifying wild edibles, tool usage, and food preparation. Being that the students had access to such vocational options, I wasn’t sure if they knew this stuff already. Turns out, the students knew a little of this and a little of that so it was always someone learning. For the identification of wild edibles, we walked around the school campus and pointed out various plants. Tool usage involved making birdhouses; the students were most knowledgeable in that area. Food prep involved making a rocket stove, grilled cheese sandwiches, and salad from the vegetables in the garden.
The young men and women surprised me by their interest in the things we were trying to teach. None of us really knew what to expect from a bunch of teenagers. There were concerns about whether they’d be entranced by their phones or just flat out disengaged. On the contrary, they were enthusiastic and not a phone was in sight. It was such a great experience for me to get some hands-on practice with facilitating youth programs. After talking with some of the teachers that run the vocational programs at the school I was welcomed to come back and collaborate on some of the gardening. I’m definitely looking forward to working with them in the future.