Written by Shoresh Intern, Deb Cole
One of the key components to any staff training is to engage in activities that will allow one to better understand who they are working with. In the case of gardening and outdoor education, it is best to participate in interactive children’s games that teach youth how plants grow and the importance of both working and protecting the land. And what better way to learn to teach than becoming children ourselves? Staff training included learning about the connection between Jewish holidays and plants through a scavenger hunt, and learning about competing habitats through salamander tag where everyone has a “tail” and if it gets pulled then you are out for a period of time. And as much as we were trying to get into the heads of children, we also realized that we were not so different. We asked similar questions such as “where does the water from the stream flow from,” we loved getting our hands dirty in the soil, and enjoyed dancing in the rain.
|Our team finding shelter in the greenhouse|
Staff training included a dynamic group of 9 individuals from all walks of life. Some of us are undergraduate students wanting to pursue a career in Jewish education; others are parents who want to dedicate their time to volunteering their skills. What lured me to Kavanah Garden was the desire to be outdoors combined with gaining a better understanding of food sustainability and sharing this knowledge with others.
Growing up in an urban city, it can be difficult to understand and appreciate how connected we are to the land. Many children do not understand where their food originates from, and may conclude that Loblaws is the source of it all. Shoresh Kavanah Gardens provides an opportunity for these city slickers to get outside and gain hands on learning to grow fruits and vegetables and value the hard work that it entails. What may appear to be a small garden, soon becomes an intricate and complex ecosystem containing a variety of different plants and animals. After three days of learning about the wealth of the land, I already feel more appreciative of its beauty and more aware of the nature that surrounds me on a daily basis.
This year’s staff includes:
Our amazing director – Risa Alyson Cooper
Our director of development – Sabrina Malach
Two educators – Rachel Rosenbluth and Daniel Joseph
And 6 interns: Tamar Krauss, Nora Bergman, Deb Cole, Simone Weinstein, Elysa Keshen, Amalia Wolf
Staff training was a great kick off to what will an amazing summer filled with learning, dirty hands, big smiles, and raspberry covered faces!