With school days coming to an end, we saw a great many visitors to the farm. Early in the month, 10 boys from Washington D.C.’s Gonzaga High School came with work boots and gloves, ready to help remake an eroded trail. This service project, arranged by Emmitsburg’s Seton Center, is designed to allow these boys the chance to serve populations in need. In this case, it was highlighted how these trails are used by our Head Start children as they explore and experience the woods. ThorpeWood’s relationship with Gonzaga dates back to 2009 when they did their first service project here.
Later in the month, the lovely ladies of Heartly House came for their staff retreat in the lodge. The staff members who had not previously done EAL came over in the afternoon to get their chance at this experience. The thirteen women who joined us had quite a range of duties at Heartly House, from office manager to crisis hotline counselors to bilingual advocates. It was wonderful to see how they worked together and collaborated, despite not working together in their normal working days.
Kids Like Us, Frederick County’s program for kids who are affected by a family member’s addiction struggles, also came up twice in June. The counselors of Kids Like Us are, simply put, fantastic human beings. As therapists, they ooze sunshine and calm, making the mood of their summer camp uniquely peaceful. These high school girls came first to engage in some music therapy, and afterward to participate in our EAL program. Of course, the allure of our fox hound puppies and therapy chickens was too much to resist, so we made time to love them each day. In addition to these activities, they also made a fire in one of our fire rings in order to burn their ‘Peace Box.’ Throughout the year, this box is filled with pieces of paper containing all the worries and secrets the girls need to get out into the world, without anyone knowing. The ceremonial burning of the box releases these worries into smoke.
Finally, Mount Saint Mary’s brought up students from Baltimore’s Rosemont Middle School as part of their college experience camp. Their first visit included 18 boys engaging with MSM’s art professor Elizabeth Holtry. She took them to our Pine Cathedral, where they did Earth Works. This type of art consists of just using the natural materials around you to create. After this fun, the boys joined us as we fed the horses their dinner, making sure to pet the chickens and goats as well. As for their own dinner, the boys cooked hot dogs over a fire up by our teepee. Afterward, they were led on a hike to Black Rock, where they spotted a rattle snake! The following week, the girls of Rosemont came up with one of the math professors from the Mount. Part of their day was spent calculating the velocity of our horses at a walk, trot and gallop. They also learned a bit about the mathematical study of Topology in our Homestead Barn.
This was a wonderful kick off to our summer, and we expect more and more of this type of fun as vacation time continues!