In preparation for a fun-filled summer at HFH Summer Camps, a volunteer group of staff members headed up to Camp Wakonda in Harriman State Park to plant a garden of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. As part of what is fast-becoming an annual tradition—“Camp Cleanup Day”—team members from across the organization spent the day planting the seeds for an enriching summer.

“It was enjoyable to see staff from different sites come together and help our Camp staff get ready for the upcoming season,” said Camp Administrator Tyrone Squire. “Everybody was supportive.”

While volunteering, Prospect Assistant Teacher Franceska Rodriguez took photos of the growing garden to send to apprehensive parents sending their children to camp for the first time.

“The campgrounds were beautiful to me, especially the view along the lake,” Franceska said. “l also enjoyed the gardening task given to me. I love plants and this was my first outdoor gardening experience. I learned new gardening/planting tips from some coworkers which I have implemented into my own plants at home.”

Camp Wakonda has been operated by HFH for over 40 years with a history dating back even farther, making renovation and beautification a necessity to keep up the Camp’s rustic yet charming appeal.

“Beautifying the campgrounds and making them more appealing to this new group of campers has been our top priority,” explained Squire. “We hope it will get them to come back to camp and invite other peers and families.”

In tandem with Camp’s goal of getting kids into nature and away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, the garden will provide campers with “hands-on experience” with the natural environment as they assist staff with its upkeep.

Prospect Education Programs Coordinator Heidy Mendez also noted that the garden will help campers “learn gardening skills and maybe explore a hidden passion or skill through participating in this activity.”

Senior Human Resources Generalist Niasia Johnson added that the camp garden also promotes healthy eating through “veggies they helped plant and grow themselves” and provides an additional activity for campers to bond over.

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