Summer brought a gardening adventure for the youth of Walton County Boys & Girls Club. All summer long, Club youth spent time daily tending to their garden in partnership with the Walton County Master Gardeners Club. Youth learned the importance of eating healthy by actively participating in growing their own food for the summer months.
They recently celebrated their accomplishments with an awards ceremony presented by the Master Gardening Club.
“The Junior Master Gardeners Club were able to see the fruits of their labor at this celebration and were recognized for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the Club over the seven-week program,” Lynn E. Hill, Walton County Boys & Girls Club Director, shared. “Members of the Master Gardening Club, alongside House Representative Bruce Williamson, joined our youth to salute their efforts with a feast from their summer grown vegetables.”
Club members worked alongside Master Gardener mentors to make salsa and chop vegetables for a veggie platter to serve those gathered at the celebration.
“It was so wonderful to hear each name of our Junior Master Gardeners have their names called during the award ceremony and to see their smiling faces light up,” Hill shared. “They were beaming with pride at their accomplishment and that’s exactly what we desire – for them to have pride in all they do in life.”
Ellen Wainwright of the Walton County Master Gardeners Club shared how impactful their time with the youth has been for her.
“The Club youth were always so enthusiastic and engage in every project we brought to them this summer,” she shared. “We worked with the children teaching them about gardening, planting and growing their own vegetables. We harvested our own vegetables and talked about preparing healthy meals. They had the opportunity to make smoothies, salsa, eggplant pizzas, energy bites and burritos out of the vegetables they grew.”
Wainwright added “watching the youth learn about not only vegetables but what makes a garden successful and sustainable for our environment was such a treat.”
“They learned how a cucumber becomes a pickle,” she shared. “They got to taste different types of peppers and learned about pollinators and their importance in gardening. We even had some beekeepers come and talk. They got to see some bees and how honey is harvested and even tasted the honey.”
For Mr. Hill, this is what the Club is all about – engaging the youth with community members so we can teach together.
“The kids that participated in the Junior Master Gardeners Club have been observed smiling, laughing, working as a team and learning something new,” he shared. “It is very important for young people to learn where their food comes from, how to take pride in their community and why it is so important to always strive for comradery, which is why teamwork was a number one factor in them completing their projects this summer.”
Those projects were beautifying the exterior grounds of the Club with flowers and a garden, sprucing up the area surrounding the mailbox and flagpole and cultivating their vegetables from the garden.
“In total, over $4,000 in donated plants and supplies were used from our local community to make this summer program possible,” Hill shared. “We are so grateful to the Walton County Master Gardeners Club for giving their time and treasures to teach our youth the art of gardening.”
To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclub or call 770-207-6279.