By Kiersten C., Youth Leader in Agriculture, Summer 2022
Graduate, Staunton High School

As I finish up my last few days this summer at Project GROWS, I am called to look back on my time at the farm. I have been gardening since I was a kid with my grandparents, but I’ve never worked on a farm before. To be honest, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to handle the hot days and tough physical challenges, but my experience at the farm definitely exceeded my expectations! Every one of my teachers and mentors helped me through any problems that I may have had, not only at work but in my life outside of work as well.

One of my favorite memories was definitely building the giant mountain with the rest of the Youth Leaders. We had many great laughs and a lot of fun!

Learning with Kenzie about discrimination and injustice in the USDA and farming cultures around the world was also a highlight of my time. Getting to reap the benefits of our labors (taking home loads of yummy vegetables, flowers, and local meats, cheeses, etc.) was super awesome!

This experience helped me learn that hard work will always pay off in one way or another. The relationships that I built and the communication skills that I learned in team building were some of the ways that my work paid off for me and any of my future endeavors. I learned how to be a leader and speak up for myself while also making sure to include others in my work. I will forever see the effects of this job in my future careers and my personal life. Thank you to everyone at Project GROWS for making my time extremely worthwhile and super fun!