Youth on the move: Healthy Archuleta group works with kids to promote a healthier community

Photo courtesy Healthy Archuleta The Healthy Archuleta Youth Community Learning and Leadership Circle worked with youngsters attending the K.I.D.S. Day Camp to learn about composting.

Healthy Archuleta Youth CLLC

Composting is the last resort before food scraps and waste go to the landfill. Ideally, food that is nearing expiration is eaten, donated, preserved or fed to animals. Our partnership with the K.I.D.S. Day Camp is just one part of the many different initiatives that the Healthy Archuleta Youth Community Learning and Leadership Circle (CLLC) is doing to educate children on the food system. 

This summer, we are in charge of educating the youth in our community and other people about the responsibilities that we have when it comes to contributing to our food system. We are doing this by putting together different activities to educate not only the youth, but our community as well. 

On June 28, three of our team members set activities at Yamaguchi Park for the K.I.D.S. Day Camp. We started the day with an ice-breaker game where everyone introduced themselves and said their favorite type of fruit. Next, we transitioned into the Capture the Compost game, which is analogous to Capture the Flag. The game lasted about 30 minutes and the kids and the counselors seemed to have a great time chasing each other and getting some physical activity in pursuit of compost and landfill items.

After the game, we gathered the kids around the bleachers to introduce what was in the garbage and compost that acted as the flags in the game. For the garbage bag, youth CLLC asked if the items inside could go somewhere other than landfill. We asked the campers to identify some of the compostable food items, and asked them what could be done with the food before going to the compost. 

For the second section of our activities, the kids were split by age into two groups 5-7 (Explorers) and 8-12 (Adventurers). The younger group colored an activity sheet with pictures of food scraps and containers, some which could be composted (in a backyard compost) and some would have to go to the landfill. The older campers worked in groups to create a makeshift compost system using milk jugs, soil, paper shreds, fruit peels, water and worms. 

To wrap up the day, the Youth CLLC asked campers about what they had learned about the composting process and the parts incorporated. One camp counselor remarked that he “thought the kids really enjoyed the compost day” and “all ages were engaged and had lots of fun throughout the activities.”

While the K.I.D.S. Day Camp activities were devoted to education about composting, we also discussed with the campers what they should do with the food before it goes into the compost. Healthy Archuleta’s mission is to promote equitable, healthy and sustainable food practices in our community as they relate to the food system as a whole. 

The Youth CLLC will continue to work in advancing awareness and engagement of the youth of Archuleta County by focusing on food production, food waste prevention and resource recovery, healthy food access, and eating nutritious foods. 

Another event we have in store for this summer is the upcoming Kids in the Mountain Garden program on July 16 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Vista Lake Community Garden. At the Kids in The Mountain Garden program, we will be teaching kids and their families about garden maintenance through the activities of weeding, seeding and watering. We also plan on doing some harvesting and learning about the elements of a successful garden (air, light, water and soil). This is one of the many ways that we are teaching our younger peers about our local food system. 

On a final note, we would like to extend an invitation to fellow youth in our community to join us at the Youth CLLC gatherings, which are every other Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Come join us for some food, learning and community building. 

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