Sweet summer fun

Retro Farms in Moloaa got a little bit sweeter this week as 100 members of the Boys and Girls Club Lihue came to the environmental education center to play games, paint mahogany necklaces and plant purple sugar cane, a fun summer adventure for the some of Kauai’s youth.

The club members started the day with a hike up the hill to the farm where they ran across the field to the Coastal Observation Classroom to enjoy a sweeping view of the bay in the shade of the brightly colored canopies.

They broke down into smaller groups and engaged in opening games which included parachute games, relay races, ball games and bubble blowing followed by a super competitive tug of war game with the youth verses the counselors. The young players combined forces to overtake the older players in a strong showing of determination and cooperation.

The students made a great contribution to the environment as they planted purple sugar cane in a newly cleared area that had previously been host to the invasive guinea grass.

By replacing the invasive grass with a useful crop, the children took pride in their hard work with the knowledge that they not only turned a weeded area into a sustainable garden, but planted a crop that could be sold to help perpetuate the summer programs at Retro Farms for future boys and girls.

They next ventured into the mahogany forest to participate in the adopt-a- tree program where each student selects a special tree to observe, draw and even name.

The students enjoyed connecting to nature in this manner and loved the shady forest that offers a cool and peaceful reprieve from the hot, sunny day and all the activity that preceded this restful part of their field trip.

They had the opportunity to take a piece of the forest home with them in the form of a necklace that started with a slice of a mahogany branch with a hole drilled through the top which the young participants painted with their own special design.

After a length of natural cord was weaved through the hole, they all sported a natural piece of jewelry that serves to remind them of the fun day at the farm.

Boys and Girls Club Lihue Clubhouse Director Asaka Herman said, “Retro Farms is a place that you can experience what you used to do when you were a kid.”

While the staff and volunteers at Retro Farms try to keep rules and instructions to a minimum during farm experiences, they are very strict about the “no cell phone rule” and insist that electronics get left behind and the kids plug into nature while visiting the environmental learning center.

After a day with their hands in the dirt and their arms wrapped around trees, the students left happy, healthy and a little bit more aware of their natural world.

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