A Letter from Chip – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: A mother and son went to the farm and this happened!
Sounds like typical click bait, doesn’t it? Well, I hope you will agree that this one is a worthwhile read. Let me set the stage. This past weekend I had the distinct honor of presenting the welcome address at the Get on Board! annual training conference held by The Junior Leagues of New Jersey. This is a great organization that supports women and provides them with all the necessary resources and training to be future and effective nonprofit board leaders. If you haven’t heard of them, I encourage you to check them out. As I listened to the introduction and opening remarks of the event coordinator Colleen Markley – one of our loyal advocates and a dear friend of the program – I was reminded of a beautiful Saturday morning at the farm last fall, a day with weather very much like what New Jersey enjoyed this past weekend, plus the autumn foliage of course.
This past October Colleen wrote an awesome blog that was both humorous and heart-tugging about an experience she shared with her then 15-year-old son. I highly recommend that you take a moment to check out her blog as it’s both entertaining and a quick read. I’m thinking that the title says it all: It Seemed Impossible to Get My Son to Spend the Day With Me Until I Tried This. Spoiler alert: an opportunity existed and a great experience occurred at America’s Grow-a-Row (AGAR) that morning, which both moved and positively impacted a mother and her high-school-aged son. And all it required was an investment of a few hours of their time and a little bit of sweat along with some dusty and dirty clothes by the time all was said and done. Colleen and her son were able to spend some quality time together, and the catalyst was AGAR.
So I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe that when we host 9,000 volunteers per year, family experiences such as Colleen’s are much more common than we might hear about. I recently read that 39% of high school seniors have volunteered at least once a month, which leads me to believe that many parents have the opportunity to volunteer with their kids and share similar types of experiences. Furthermore, it seems that one of our most important mission points – cultivate in tomorrow’s leaders the habit of giving back – might well be gaining traction. Perhaps this year there will be more stories like Colleen’s. They don’t need to be in blog format to be shared with the masses, of course, or even shared with us here at AGAR, but more importantly they just need to be your own personal stories. And that is my hope, that AGAR not only fills the bellies of those who are faced with food insecurity but also the hearts of those looking to make a difference with those they love, whether it be family or friends. So the next time your kids, spouse, friends, or coworkers are coming out to volunteer at AGAR, come join them! We think you’ll find it’s worth the time and effort invested.
See you in the fields!
President & Founder