My Eternal Passion

On Monday nights, the Painted Turtle Farm has a communal gardening night where local families (mostly migrant families), students, and staff come to the farm to harvest, weed, water, etc. together. It’s a great opportunity for the Gettysburg College community to spend time with local community members and escape the college bubble–that is, remaining on campus and only speaking to Gettysburg students. On these communal gardening nights, English and Spanish flow across the farm, and people who may not meet otherwise get to converse with one another. Because I love every possible chance to spend time with kids, I have been charged with creating activities for the kids during this time so their parents can farm and socialize freely.

Last Monday night (6/22), I came to the farm with little clue as to how I was about to entertain 40+ children…but I knew I’d think of something. While it’s hard to find one way to entertain kids of all different age groups, water games are always a guaranteed source of enjoyment for kids. I ended up giving them equal turns spraying each other with hoses and holding a few hula hoops for them to jump through. While the game was disorganized, I could tell they loved feeling empowered while holding the “adult” farming tool (the hose). The best kind of fun is dysFUNctional.

I discovered my passion for spending time with kids after being a counselor at a day camp for three years. I’ve found that what I enjoy most is not the literal activities I do with them, but the extra support and love that I can provide them. I like getting to know them personally and creating a dynamic where they can confide in me. I take great pleasure in helping them learn from their mistakes and becoming more mature. Because you can never be sure what kind of life kids have at home, I like giving them one positive relationship that they can count on.

Alyssa Weker ’17