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Summer Program

PotentialfarmerPotentialfarmer 13 replies1 threads New Member
My 11-year old son is interested in farming. He has a good head on his shoulders and goes to a great private school in Houston, Texas. He’s a bit of an outlier in that his peers want to be doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc. Anyone aware of pre-college/summer programs perhaps applying mathematics, logistics, etc to farming on a larger scale to a working farm. For many years he attended a great day camp program at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, a small organic farm in Freeport, Maine. I’m researching opportunities on farming that scale up and apply planning, logistics, math, maintenance, etc. Any suggestions would be invaluable. He currently volunteers on Saturdays at a local community garden connected with Urban Harvest in Houston.
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Replies to: Summer Program

  • thumper1thumper1 75481 replies3310 threads Senior Member
    edited November 16
    Seriously? His peers at age 11 are interested in becoming doctors and lawyers? Really?

    Do you have a CSA in your area? Ours is always looking for employees for their farm shop and green houses. Your son will likely be way too young to actually be employed by any of them, but he might be able to volunteer a day or two a week. These employers need to be very careful that they are not getting free labor by calling it an internship...and they need to be especially careful where child labor laws are considered.

    ETA...I see that your son is already doing some volunteer work at a local farm.

    If it were me, I would look for a camp type program for middle school aged kids. Does his old camp have suggestions for kids who age out of that camp?

    If he is 11, he is pre-high school....not pre-college.
    edited November 16
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4587 replies18 threads Senior Member
    https://www.canr.msu.edu/tollgate/camps/summer

    I would also look for like farming with like engineering or stem since there are new techniques being developed.

    https://4-h.org/parents/stem-agriculture/
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  • MWolfMWolf 1797 replies11 threads Senior Member
    I'll agree with @thumper1 - worrying about your kid's college major now is like worrying about how he will raise his kids when he tells you that he likes somebody now.

    If your kids likes agriculture, there aany public and land grant universities which have summer programs in Ag for middle school kids. USDA has AgDiscovery, as well. So look at what TAMU, Texas Tech, and other public colleges in Texas have, as well as universities in other states.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75481 replies3310 threads Senior Member
    edited November 16
    @Potentialfarmer

    Are you looking for a summer sleepover experience? If not, and you are looking for a place within commuting distance of your home...folks would need to suggest places within commuting distance of Houston. Right?

    The first program above looks like a weekly day program...I didn’t see anything about sleepaway accommodations. @Knowsstuff did I miss that on either link?

    Check this section too...most programs are for high school students, and I don’t recall seeing programs about farming...but maybe there is something there...

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/summer-programs/
    edited November 16
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4587 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @thumper1. Just as an example of a program they should be able to find locally but MSU programs for kids are exceptional. Watching Michigan beat up on MSU football so not really reading it through.. Lol 🏈😁
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  • PotentialfarmerPotentialfarmer 13 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks for all the comments. Great ideas! I would be interested in sleep away camps.
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  • PotentialfarmerPotentialfarmer 13 replies1 threads New Member
    He goes to private school in Houston where many of the parents are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and c-level for Fortune 1000 companies in Houston. Thank you for mentioning CSA. I’m not familiar and will research.
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  • PotentialfarmerPotentialfarmer 13 replies1 threads New Member
    I I wouldn’t say I’m worrying about his major but more researching some neat opportunities for him. These comments are so helpful. Thank you!!!
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  • PotentialfarmerPotentialfarmer 13 replies1 threads New Member
    edited November 16
    He’s outgrown his old farm camp from attending so many years and the the program changed from small and folksy to big and slick.They do have a program for older kids. They received a big windfall, new facilities, and added a dairy. The little farm stand that had an honor system and a basket changed to a overpriced gift shop. P.S. Thanks for the appropriate nomenclature “pre-high school”.
    edited November 16
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  • thumper1thumper1 75481 replies3310 threads Senior Member
    I did a google search for “summer farming programs for 11 year olds” and got a lot of hits. I don’t know anything about any of them, but perhaps you could research some of them.

    If he is working at a farm once a week, perhaps the farmer there might have an idea of what he should/could do to bolster his skills.

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  • PotentialfarmerPotentialfarmer 13 replies1 threads New Member
    @Knowsstuff I heard about this! Some girl won a major science competition using drone technology for something.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75481 replies3310 threads Senior Member
    As an FYI, many farms are finding they need to diversity or somehow change what they offer. I live in a semi rural small town with over 20 family owned farms of some type. All have needed to change over the years. Even the old “farmstands” are now much more elaborate, with much more extensive offerings (in addition to veggies and fruit, mine has pies, pasta, breads, cheeses, ice cream). They want to be one stop shopping for their customers.

    Some of our farms have created things like wedding venues in their barns...because they no longer use the barn.

    All of our vineyard have a gift shop, and small venue area in addition to the tasting room.

    Even our orchards offer more than just the fruit...pies, snack bars, or something.

    A corn farmer I knew in Wisconsin made a good amount of money with a corn maze.

    My point is...that modernization of the previous camp might be part of the wave of the future for our farmers to survive...and it’s not all a bad thing.

    CSA are very popular around here...great way for farmers to market their products to just us regular folks. For a yearly fee. The CSA we buy every year has over 400 members...at $350 a half share. $600 for a full share. You can see...that income adds up!

    I think it is fabulous that a young person wants to be a farmer. It’s a hard field (no pun intended) in which to work...but we do need innovated and smart future farmers.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9490 replies507 threads Senior Member
    Can he get more involved with community gardening? If he’s into farming, maybe he can help create some urban vegetable gardens. It sounds like he feels perhaps a little too old for traditional “camp” experiences, but he’s too young for some advanced programs. (For future reference or for other readers, Stone Barns in NY has an excellent agriculture summer program for older teens.)

    I agree it’s far too soon to even think about college. If he’s interested in agriculture, urban gardening is really hot right now. I would think that a kid taking some kind of initiative in that is going to be interesting to admissions officers come college application time. However, it is entirely likely that he will develop other interests long before then. He might lose all interest in agriculture. For now, I’d contact maybe the parks and rec department or whoever runs your local gardening allotments. I’m sure they would love a volunteer.

    You can also look on United Way’s website for all kinds of volunteer ideas. They will give appropriate age ranges for various opportunities.
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  • PotentialfarmerPotentialfarmer 13 replies1 threads New Member
    All y’all are amazing! We live inside the city of Houston, so primarily have access to square footage community gardens. He does have an “inner city” gardener who is a great mentor and this has inspired me to reach out to him and these sources.I suppose I’m looking for the equivalent of US State Dept. NSLI-Y but for farming. I am so grateful to all of you. It takes a village and then some!
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7815 replies65 threads Senior Member
    My D volunteered in middle school helping set up urban farms in an impoverished area of a nearby city. There is a group in Houston, Small Places that may have some opportunities or some suggestions: https://www.smallplaces.org
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34789 replies392 threads Senior Member
    4-H has some professional development type programs, depending on the local groups. Whether that fits with private prep school, I don't know. But it's not the narrower ideas of the past.

    You could also get him involved with environmental programs.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4587 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @Potentialfarmer. Yep. I know nothing about this field but just looked that up and I mean.. Farming and drones. How cool!
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4587 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Also it might of been stated checkout environmental science programs. He might be into that and it seems to be a hot field right now.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1797 replies11 threads Senior Member
    More about the development of urban agriculture, which also may interest your son:

    https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/urban-agriculture

    Whether your son continues with this and this is his college focus or not, it's great that he is interested in farming. It's especially great that he has this interest despite being from the city and attending a school in the city.

    PS. Outliers like your son tend to do really well in life.
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