Getting it together

This past Tuesday at the McLeod garden was our most challenging day so far, to put it nicely. Last week our bottomless energy got us through not only a day-long downpour that forced us to do our Three Sisters Soup in a hot, sticky, and mildly depressing school cafeteria, but the absences of our fantastic WATCH kids and the re-appearance of about seven campers on Thursday (without warning) in need of a repeat of our Tuesday lesson. Maybe all of that drained us a bit, because on our first day of this week we were unfocused, unorganized, and lackadaisical. Something as basic as not getting our dishwashing station running well turned around and bit us in the butts, because we ended up with a trainwreck to clean up at the end of the day.

I took it hard and wasn’t looking forward to Thursday’s lesson. In addition to being disappointed with how camp went on Tuesday, I became preoccupied with stresses from my personal life and was not optimistic going to work on Thursday. In addition, I was running late, and Lisa was late…and I took the L train without her, so we couldn’t chat and pump each other up on the ride over.

Luckily, I was greeted by Hector and Shamika, our WATCH helpers, standing outside the garden. After scolding me for making them wait (as per usual, since for some reason Hector insists on getting to the garden about an hour before we ask him to be there), they immediately presented me with their plans for the day’s new, improved dish washing station and a list of all the things they were going to start preparing as soon as Lisa got there with the keys. Their enthusiasm was totally contagious, and it infected both me and Lisa, when she arrived a few minutes later.

It was simple. We decided we were going to do the same lesson as Tuesday, but a hundred times better. We were all completely focused while cutting up fruits and veggies and setting out toothpicks and dip for the beginning of camp creature-making snack, getting journals together, preparing ingredients and supplies for the World Foods cooking activity (Lisa’s group made Vietnamese summer rolls with peanut sauce, Hector and Shamika’s group made Italian pesto pasta and raw zucchini salad, and my group made Mexican chicken fajitas with homemade corn tortillas), and of course, setting up the dish washing station.

Needless to say, the day went spectacularly. The only hiccups were a hectic and difficult cleanup after cooking at the end of the day, and the strong breeze blowing out the flame on our propane stove, making it almost impossible to fry the tortillas (although I think I was the only one who got frustrated by this). All in all the day went incredibly smoothly. We were so happy that we actually had a big group-hug as soon as the campers left.

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