Summer 2018 is a Wrap!
Throughout Summer 2018, we hosted 19 returning groups and four new-to-us groups at Farrington for field trips full of nature immersion, fun, and community-building. Five of those visits included overnight stays with campfires, s'mores, and tents under the stars; or, in the case of rain (which happened quite a bit!), a sleepover inside our barn. In total, we created nearly 1,130 unique experiences for youth and teens throughout the summer -- that is, 1,130 visits for individual children, whether they came as part of a one-time Experience visits, or a curated, multi-visit Explore series.
While every visit to Farrington is uniquely designed to fit the visiting group, the season, and the weather, some of our core summer activities continued to include visits with our goats, chickens, and rabbits; pond exploration; hikes; garden activities; nature art; and games.
We wrapped up the summer with two special events in mid-August: Our Perseid Meteor Shower community program, featuring a potluck, campfire, hikes, animal visits, and star-gazing with our friends from the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston. Together with our teen staff, their families, current and former Trustees, and other supporters, we celebrated our staff and their summer of meaningful work and learning at our End of Summer Celebration.
This summer was a rebuilding year with a new Program Director and Summer Program Manager, and many new teen staff. We benefited from the experience that our four returning teen staff brought, and were impressed by how our eight new teen staff stepped up to lead. A highlight of the summer was our staff retreat up to Ipswich, Massachusetts, where we kayaked on the Ipswich River and picnicked at Bradley Palmer State Park. In addition to five full days of program-focused training at the start of summer, staff engaged in four supplemental workshops intended to fill their personal and professional toolboxes. Topics included microaggressions and nutrition, as well as trauma and healthy relationships, led by community partners Housing Families and Transition House, respectively. As we look toward building out our teen leadership program ("Extend") in Spring and Summer 2019, teen staff have demonstrated a desire to stay involved in opportunities with Farrington during the school year, such as helping to lead our Experience visits, supporting weekly afterschool Explore programs, and participating in hiking trips.
Programmatically, we focused on strengthening our Nature Clubs, infusing all activities with a health and well-being emphasis--like our mindfulness hike and Compliment Tea in the garden, and testing a revised evaluation system for visiting youth and staff.
We're keeping the momentum going on site with 8 field trips this Fall, and are already looking forward to making Summer 2019 even bigger and better!