By Bailey H., Youth Leader in Agriculture, Summer 2022
Senior, Staunton High School

My name is Bailey and I am a rising senior at Staunton High School. Whether I was riding horses, hiking, or kayaking, I have always loved nature and being outdoors. When I heard about the Youth Leaders in Agriculture (YLA) program through my school, I immediately knew it was how I wanted to spend my summer.  

I had an incredible time on the farm and not only because I got to spend my summer outside. One of my favorite parts of the job was definitely how much I learned about growing your own food, the food system, and the environment in general. Getting an in-depth look at these topics has really opened my eyes to a lot of problems I wasn’t aware of before.

For example, we dove into learning about injustices in the food system and protecting the land we grow on. We were also given chances to complete our own research on topics we cared about. All around, I am grateful that I will be leaving YLA with an increased amount of knowledge and awareness than I came into it with. 

Along with all the learning experiences I received, I also enjoyed the day-to-day farm work that needed to be carried out. I assisted with weeding, composting, preparing beds to plant, and more. Although the tasks weren’t easy, I enjoyed putting in the hard work, knowing that it would pay off. Throughout the summer, I have been very proud seeing how my efforts have helped the farm.

Leaving this job, I will be taking with me a lot of new knowledge, skills, and interests. I have grown my leadership skills by learning the importance of communication and sharing ideas, no matter how small. My abilities from cooking to working on a team to listening to my body have all greatly improved as well. Moving forwards from this job, I hope I can continue to use and grow the skills that I have learned here.