Yesterday was the last day of summer camp for GENERATION2050. It was a specially emotional day. We set aside time in the morning for a vision board workshop. Although we had initially planned to create vision boards earlier in the summer, the last day turned out to be the better choice. After seven weeks, the students were filled with ideas and reflections based on what they had learned.
How can we nurture middle and high school students to develop these five attributes and inspire them to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset? After spending the last six weeks with the youth in the GENERATION2050 Summer Youth Enrichment Program, I believe I have learned a few things about developing these attributes.
On the first day of GENERATION2050 summer camp, many of the students were skeptical about working in the garden. Most were terrified of bees. Some even told me that they hated science and math classes. Their looked so surprised when I told them if they didn’t like math and science they clearly couldn’t understand how amazing they were. Our bodies, alone, are miracles described by chemistry, biology, physics, and math!
On the first day of the GENERATION2050 Summer Youth Enrichment Program, one of the students remarked, “I already know everything this program is about: “Believe in yourself, work hard, don’t give up, you can be whatever you want to be…I’ve heard all of it before.” His statement made me sad, but determined to teach the students that leadership is more than knowing the right slogans. I want them to understand GENERATION2050 leadership includes being socially responsible. In fact, I am determined that they not only learn how to be a socially responsible entrepreneurial leader, I want them to see the concepts in action and begin to implement them in their own lives.
Six months ago, I had a big idea to start a summer program for underresourced, underprivileged, urban middle and high school students focused on entrepreneurship, environmental conservation, personal leadership, and community service. I titled it
GENERATION2050. Some people were skeptical when I described the program concept to them. Some even wondered out loud if the program was too ambitious and too intense for youth I was targeting. Their skepticism made me more determined to find a way for my idea to come to life this summer.
A few weeks ago, my mother died. Although she had been chronically ill for a number of years, I was not ready. I was not ready for the void she would leave behind. During this same period of time, my daughter Vanessa was preparing to graduate from medical school and move to Maryland for her residency. Honestly, I struggled to summon the appropriate emotion(s) for the events our family had planned and attended. My tear ducts stopped working. My normally extra energetic, energy level slowed down to a crawl. I asked myself, “What is happening to you?”
For the first time, Trinity Church will partner with MAP International for what we are calling our 1st Annual MAP Disaster Relief Packing Day. The purpose of this event is to pack disaster relief backpacks for victims of future natural disasters within the United States and raise funds for Trinity Church’s upcoming Cambodia Medical Missions Trip. The disaster relief backpacks will contain all the toiletries people desperately need after a natural disaster.
In January 2017, I submitted a proposal to The Children’s Trust in response to their request for proposal for summer youth enrichment summer camp programs for under-resourced youth. I was thrilled a few weeks ago to be notified that the proposal was funded. GENERATION2050 is an innovative program that immerses middle and high school youth in a multi-disciplinary learning environment with the goal of inspiring them to be ready for leadership in the future. For the few weeks I was writing the proposal, I became a futurist. I tried to imagine what types of knowledge, skills, and abilities youth would need to lead our communities in the year 2050.
Clothed with Compassion
Last year, I had the privilege of becoming a Board Member of Map International. If you aren’t familiar with MAP International’s work around the world, you should be.
In 2016, MAP distributed $500 Million of medicines to 100 countries to serve 10 million people. In addition, Charity Navigator gave MAP a 4 Star Rating for the second consecutive year. Only 49 non-profit organizations out of 8,000 received a 4 Star Rating from Charity Navigator in 2016. Not only does MAP serve people around the world with compassion, MAP serves with efficiency and effectiveness.
After a very busy weekend at Trinity Church’s Girlfriends Conference 2017, I got on an airplane and flew out to Walla Walla, Washington, to visit Monteillet Fromagerie. This visit is the first stop on our journey to Cambodia this month to continue work on the Eco-farming project with Cambodian Care Ministries.
We are making cheese from a blend of goat milk and sheep milk. If the animals are not healthy, the milk won’t be good and the cheese won’t be good either. Joan and Pierre-Louis have spent a lot of time talking to us about the animals and how they take care of them. It’s just plain honest, hard work filled with their love of farming.
This idea of touching Eden first came to my mind on while I was in Cambodia for the first time in 2013. This trip reignited my passion for the environment and made me think about how we have drifted so far away from living in collaboration with the rest of God’s creation. The 2014 Cambodia Biogas Digester Project was the beginning of my journey into eco-farming, urban gardening, and now beekeeping. I believe the value of urban gardening extends beyond the production of local fruit and vegetables, beyond environmental conservation, and into our spiritual and emotional well-being.
To learn more, join me at Trinity Church’s Girlfriends Conference 2017. Register here.
2016 has been an amazing year filled with new ideas, opportunity, adventure, and victory, as well as unexpected challenges and disappointments. Yet, throughout the year, God continued to provide a clear thread of hope, goodness, and powerful collaboration with both old and new partners.
And finally in 2016, my passion for developing a sustainable eco-farming program in rural Cambodia led me to register for a certified beekeepers course in October. I am happy to report that both my intern, Michele, and I passed the final exam. I am looking forward to how God will continue to weave the threads of hope I have experienced in 2016 into 2017.
For even more news, read the November 2016 Newsletter!