People and programs 07/15/2014

Extra sunscreen? Check. Lots of snacks? Check. Child-sized apron and gardening tools? Double check! It’s summer camp time at The Table Community Food Centre and a lucky group of youngsters has just wrapped up an awesome three weeks of hands-on food-themed fun. “Each session is like a summer sampler of the different programs we offer,” says Coral Sproule, The Table’s After School Program Coordinator. She runs the camp’s weekly cooking session where the kids aged 8-12 learn all about all things food. Using in-season vegetables from The Table's garden harvested by the kids themselves, Sproule teaches them how to prepare healthy and delcicious salads, snacks, and entreés. Making fish tacos (and from-scratch tortillas) was a big hit last week, as was the strawberry freezer jam made with berries donated by a local farm. Yum! 

On the garden front, April Mallett, the Community Gardening Coordinator, recently helped the group make compost tea (for the garden!). And last week, they painted a mural to add some artistic flare to the 8,000-square-foot site. Much like The Table’s After School Program, the cooking activities boost the kids’ kitchen savvy, and the peak-season timing means there’s always tons to harvest and taste-test. 

Samantha Davidson, The Table’s Advocacy Coordinator, spends one day a week with the kids too, taking complex issues of structural inequality and making them relevant. She draws on themes of fairness and constructive communication, all the while keeping things fun. “To counter the put-downs I often hear among kids in that age group, I created a “put up” box that the kids fill with compliments to each other,” Samantha explained. “Making simple compliments like “Tyra helps everyone” and “Lila is a kind friend to us” has created a more positive environment with fewer put-downs happening too.” The crew also made protest signs on their issue of choice and took to the streets, followed (naturally) by a trip to the town’s new splash pad. 

The Table's summer camp is offered free of charge, and prioritizes access for families living on low-incomes. For those who’ve been a part of the After School Program run through the year, staying involved and hanging out with the friends they made is a dream come true. Plus there are plenty of new faces too, many of whom will register for the next round of ASP. Summer camp at The Table is nothing short of a movable feast. With so many activities on the go, these kids will hardly notice they’re getting the best kind of food education around.

Check out a Facebook photo album of this year's camp crew!