Planting Seeds of Growth in Provo

I have loved my time working as a Future Leaders in Action Fellow at the Provo Boys and Girls Club. I recently finished my last semester at Brigham Young University, and this fellowship has been great as I transition from a student into the real world.

While everyone’s site is different, mine has been a perfect match for me. I have had a chance to plan and evaluate programs and projects, run daily activities at the club, go on fun field trips, and work with amazing staff.

 Macie painted participants faces before the start of the competition

Macie painted participants faces before the start of the competition

The first couple weeks of my fellowship were spent working on preparing our club to participate in the Kids Adventure Games, the same organization that has been previously mentioned in other blog posts. Since there were limited spots and we have around 80 kids who come every day, we planned a “field day” for everyone to participate in. This would give everyone a chance to show that they really wanted to be chosen for the Kids Adventure Games, if they had a positive attitude and worked hard. We had different rotations of physical activities and team building exercises, and it was a huge success. The kids had a blast, and it gave them a chance to put forth extra effort to be chosen for this great opportunity.

 These two BGC Provo club members had a great time competing in the Kids Adventure Games!

These two BGC Provo club members had a great time competing in the Kids Adventure Games!

The day of the actual activity was a great experience for the kids as they had a chance to zip line, mountain bike, and rappel. It was also a great learning experience for me as I had a chance to try and help things run smoothly. The participants talked about the Kids Adventure Games for many days following and more than a few have already asked me about how they can participate next year. I think the best part about this particular project was watching the kids have a chance to have new and challenging experiences and then see how proud they were of themselves for doing something they didn’t think they would be able to accomplish. They talked about it giving them confidence in other parts of their lives and that is such a cool lesson to watch them learn. 

 The group celebrated with their medals after crossing the finish line!

The group celebrated with their medals after crossing the finish line!

 The children spent one of their first lessons decorating and personalizing their egg carton pots

The children spent one of their first lessons decorating and personalizing their egg carton pots

My secondary project was to create a club garden. There was underutilized garden space and with the help of some supportive staff we designed and implemented some classes and hands-on activities to make use of the space. We taught a couple of STEM lessons about the water cycle, plant cycle, conservation, and nutrition to help set the stage for why a garden might be important. We did a seed-planting activity using recycled material for an art project for the planter, and then spent a couple of days weeding and planting in the actual garden. I was impressed with the level of excitement from some of the kids about the project and loved their enthusiasm for all of the activities—from weeding to watering! I am excited to harvest what we plant and plan on a day where we can make healthy, yummy snacks with the vegetables and herbs we have grown.

 The children got their hands dirty during a lesson on weeding and tending their garden

The children got their hands dirty during a lesson on weeding and tending their garden

I am interested in assessment and evaluation as a field of work and it was an exciting opportunity to come into an organization with an outside perspective. I feel like I really had time to get to know the different programs that run in the club and will hopefully be able to use my observation notes and qualitative research to generate some helpful suggestions for improvements. I am currently working on analyzing our results from pre and post Kids Adventure games participants and am excited to see what the kids thought, and brainstorm some suggestions for the future. 

I have really enjoyed my time planning and evaluating, but one of my favorite things about my fellowship has been the time I have had just to work with the kids on a day-to-day basis. I have loved the opportunity to get to know each of the students and enjoyed the many different activities and field trips we have participated in. The hands-on experience in so many different levels of a non-profit has been invaluable in helping me get a better grasp on what I want to do in the future. I have loved my time as a fellow and feel better prepared and even more excited to continue exploring how I can help make a positive difference throughout my life.