This past Saturday, the lovely ladies of the Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP) arranged an outing to ThorpeWood. This volunteer-run non profit seeks to engage and support the youth of Frederick County who have a loved one in jail. Each month, they hold a group event to widen the scope of children’s experiences, allow caretakers a small respite, and give the families a chance to interact with others who share their struggles. For May’s activity, a group of kids and their caretakers came to the farm in Mr. Floyd’s bus. As sneakers touched down on our grass, the kids were greeted by our fleet of dogs – June, Greta, Tucker and Tyson. As we introduce these animals with the same respect as we do all of our staff members, we show our visitors just how animal-centric we are. Three of the kids already knew all about our priorities however, for they had been part of the Head Start program as preschoolers…though they now aged 6,8, and 10.
This group spent a wonderful three hours on the farm, roaming from one fascinating farm feature to the next. First up, we met and brushed our horses, Bylgia, Fandi and Geysir. When they were thoroughly cleaned and loved, we headed over to the farm machinery. Both the girls and boys found great pleasure in mounting the tractors, climbing into the skid steer, and tooting the horn of the Kabota. Of course, after letting them play here, we needed to take a real tractor ride around the farm to see our lovely green fields and ever-picturesque cows. From there, we played in the hay playground, taking time to swing on the ropes and to cruise down the exit slide. Heading back to the animals, we entered the chicken pen and looked around for eggs. We found three, but one little boy was convinced that they weren’t real…up until he saw Jasmine the hen laying in the nesting box.
After all of this play, we made our way up to the teepee fire ring, where Scott, our resident fire safety patrol, had built us a fire. Upon these smoldering coals, everyone roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. It was just splendid to see how the kids played freely during their time on the farm and so visibly felt comfortable roaming about to the various animals and play spots. It was a great pleasure to be able to offer our property, staff, and animals to these kids and the exceptional women in charge of COIPP. We do hope to continue our partnership with them in the coming months!