May ’23 Week 3: Star Community, CASS, MAEOE Youth Summit, HS Family Services

On the 16th, Star Community brought out a participant from their Meaningful Day Program to volunteer at the farm. Star Community serves adults with developmental abilities, with one of their goals being to develop work skills. Sue came out to groom and socialize our animals. Although she wasn’t too keen on the horses, it seemed that she had a good day at the farm.

On the 17th, FCPS CASS coordinators brought out a select group of students who needed additional support. We had a total of 28 students, largely middle schoolers. We split this group into two and cycled through some fun and therapeutic farm activities. We spent the morning visiting with our animals, grooming the horses and taking them for walks, too! After that, the students gathered in the pavilion for lunch before heading deeper into the property for some exploration and garden work. The kids seemed to really enjoy their time with us – the baby chicks, horses, and exploring were the biggest hits!

On the 18th, Katie and Clare represented ThorpeWood at the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Youth Summit at Sandy Point State Park. This youth summit celebrates MAEOE’s Green Schools and Green Centers across Maryland, and also showcases local environmental providers through activities, a career fair, exhibitor booths, and more. ThorpeWood was there to lead hikes on Sandy Point State Park’s Blue Crab trail. Unfortunately, when we arrived, there was an upsetting amount of trash and litter alongside the trail. So, we grabbed some trash bags and had our participants collect trash alongside us! They had an absolute blast searching for even the tiniest bits of litter. We served about 250 students that day on our multiple hikes around the park. By the end of the day, we had filled four thirteen gallon trash bags!

On the 19th, Head Start’s Family Services Team came out for a retreat day. We enjoyed a two hour forest therapy walk together, which started in the pine cathedral and headed up and around the garden. We finished with pine needle tea under the grape vines. Afterward, we enjoyed lunch together in the pavilion – our participants were kind enough to bring us lunches (plus so much dessert!) and invite us into their group. Afterward, we enjoyed visiting with the animals before retiring around the fire ring. This is always a lovely spot to reflect on the day. We chatted about some lovely future farm programs for their participants. We can’t wait to make these a reality!