Over thirty children gathered around the bison farmer as they stretched their necks to see a creature most of them had never seen before. The children listened intently as the farmer explained his role in raising and maintaining the bison herd.
This is just a snippet of the great experiences the children from Encompass and CCHO had through the Summer Farm Camp. Through the generous support of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation through the Youth Pathways Grant for Careers in Agriculture, around 100 children (grades 1-12) learned about the agricultural and farming community.
Many of the children who were participants of the summer farm camp (clients of Encompass & CCHO) had been exposed to trauma and emotional hardships. Because of this, their future wasn't something that necessarily looked bright. Most of these youth didn't have the tools or the capacity to look past their current circumstances to even think about their future careers.
However, the Summer Farm Camp broadened the horizon for these kids. Their eyes were open to the possibility that their future could be more. Many of the kids graduated from the program with an excitement about the farming and agricultural field as a possible career and interest path for their future.
Forrest Lang, director of the farm camp and instructor at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, taught four classroom sessions. Children were divided into three different grade levels with topics surrounding dairy farming, livestock farming, beekeeping and technology in agriculture. The children visited several farms in the area including a dairy farm, a bison farm, Ohio State ATI, the Ohio Beekeepers Association and Certified Angus Beef.
Around 100 youth graduated from the Summer Farm Camp at their graduation ceremony at Certified Angus Beef. We are beyond grateful for all of the contributing partners to make this program a success and the Ohio Farm Bureau for their generous grant. Without all of these people and organizations, this program would not have been possible!