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Published August 07, 2010, 11:47 AM

Growing for the fun of it

During their summer vacation, young kids can be found having fun just about everywhere in sight and the garden is no exception. As part of the YMCA’s Summer Uproar camp, fifth- through eighth-graders spend at least one day a week working in the garden behind the building.

By: By Jordan Willi, Hudson Star-Observer

During their summer vacation, young kids can be found having fun just about everywhere in sight and the garden is no exception.

“Some of the kids love to come and work in the garden every day. A few even pick gardening over basketball,” Trevor Kodesh, a Youth Development staff member, said. “I think that their parents like to see that they are here learning about gardening too.”

As part of the YMCA’s Summer Uproar camp, fifth- through eighth-graders spend at least one day a week working in the garden behind the building.

“The kids rotate through the different activities and everyone helps with the garden at least once a week,” Kodesh said. “There are about 50 kids in the camp every week and they all get a chance to help out.”

The idea to build the gardens at the YMCA started with the belief that it would be beneficial for the kids to learn about vegetables and how to grow them.

“We thought it would be a good thing to teach the kids,” Kodesh said. “We felt learning about gardening would get them ahead of the game for the future.”

The YMCA got volunteers to help build the beds in the vacant corner of the skate park. They used recycled wood and materials from some old ramps and jumps, which had recently been torn down.

“We received a grant from the St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners to help pay for stuff we needed to make the garden happen,” Kodesh said. “Home Depot helped out by donating some of the seeds and supplies.”

The Y started planting the garden early this spring with the help from the children in their pre-school since the older kids were still in school.

“The kids pulled weeds, watered the plants and picked the vegetables when they were ready,” Kodesh said. “Then we have them wash the veggies and we sell them in the lobby to help raise money for our Y partners groups.”

The community looks for the vegetables when they come to the Y, Kodesh said.

“There was one time that we didn’t have anything to sell because we didn’t get the chance to pick anything due to rain, and people were asking where the vegetables were,” Kodesh said. “A lot of seniors come in and buy them because we sell them pretty cheap.”

Before the kids were allowed to help in the garden the staff at the Y taught them about the different varieties of plants and how to take care of and grow them.

“Now that they have learned about the vegetables we have them come out here and work,” Kodesh said. “We are growing tons of different plants, including green beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onions and a lot more. One of our projects in the near future is to have the kids make salsa out of the stuff we have.”

The gardens will remain open until the end of August and will open up again next spring.

“We will have the pre-school kids finish picking the last of the veggies once the older kids go back to school,” Kodesh said. “Then next spring we will have them start up and plant the seeds like they did this year.”

The kids from Uproar work in the garden Monday, Wednesday and Friday picking and tending the plants from about 9 to 9:45 a.m. each week.

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