Art Garden Week I: The Summer Begins

Art Garden Weeks are my favorite time of the year. Storytelling, gardening, cooking, ceramics–groups move from one to the other. There’s so much positive energy spilling out of the building. It’s also the largest group of people we work with in a year. This week we had an average of 28 kids every day and an additional 20 adults and teens.

Highlights from this year’s Art Garden Week I, the first week of our summer children’s activities:

  • Patchwork has our own genuine Camp Songs thanks to Dixie, who has outdone herself by creating new lyrics to several old favorites. P1120660One of my favorite new lyrics is to the tune of YMCA: “Art Garden Weeks…It’s fun to come to the Art Garden Weeks. You can get your hands clean, you cam make healthy snacks, you can do many things you feel.”
  • Susan Fowler creates a Memory Sketch to commemorate each week spent telling
    stories with us. She dedicated this week’s to Calvin, our 8-month-old participant, and Helen, our 87-year-old-participant. It includes one of the many songs that Dixie led the group in this week. On the last day, Susan saw one little girl looking at the Memory Sketch P1120931and humming the song. “I’ve been singing this song at home all week,” the girl told Susan. The song is one that Dixie’s grandpa taught to her and she taught to us.
  • One child’s grandparents reported that he came home after a morning at Patchwork and remarked that Art Garden Week is just like home: You get to garden, you get to cook using real knives, and there are all ages of people all together.
  • Multiple people commented about the wonderful spirit present, particularly the spirit of all the different generations of people working together. “There’s a spirit of community,” said Claire, who’s leading the ceramics lessons, “It cleanses you and makes you feel good inside.”
  • Joni is a long-time Art Garden volunteer who has taken over the kitchen
    leadership this year. As an activity leader, she enjoyed the opportunity to interact P1120563with every child. This year it struck her that she remembers seeing some of the kids since they were 6 or 7 and now they’re teens who are helping to teach the younger children. She also enjoyed hearing them remember activities from years ago–like the memory of growing popcorn in our garden which came up as they popped popcorn and added butter and fresh herbs for snack this week.
  • Jane commented that it’s wonderful the way people find their place here–and somehow we do manage to find places for many unique and wonderful individuals. Once they’ve found a place, they shine!
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