THANK YOU!

Thank you to all of the staff, supporters, volunteers, friends, planners, students, leaders and friends who made the Garden of Fire Festival happen on Friday afternoon. Without people like you, who believe in arts education and making our community a special place for children to grow up, projects like this would not be possible.

Too many people to photograph! Here’s a small sampling of the supporters and staffers who made the event possible.

More pictures and videos coming soon! Search #GoFFest on Instagram for another small sampling on videos and pictures.

The Power of Play

Last Saturday morning, as I stepped outside, I was overwhelmed by the smell of summer. I thought to myself, “I wait all year just for this.”

As a child, I loved the freedom of summer, endless days with friends and play, and very little structure. Free time is so important for kids. It provides a space for creativity and connectedness.

The Garden of Fire Programs prides itself on offering educational, artful activities that participants would not experience in the regular classroom.
The Garden of Fire Programs prides itself on offering educational, artful activities that participants would not experience in the regular classroom.

As adults, we also know that children lose many of the skills they achieve in the school year when they are away from a learning environment. Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds are especially in danger of losing basic math, science, reading and writing skills in the summer.

Vocab

Journal

Garden of Fire provides programming that balances those competing needs.  While keeping children tuned into math, science, and writing, it also provides a space for playfulness and creativity. The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes and our partners are thrilled to have been a part of this innovative program.

Dr. Constance Sullivan-Blum
Executive Director
The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes

The Life Cycle of the Chicken

This week’s Garden of Fire adventures were held at the CareFirst facility and centered around symbology, and how kids can connect to a symbol to represent themselves.

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At first the kids sat silent, not sure what symbology meant, but  as the discussion went on, on students found ways to connect.  Across the board, the favorite symbols were spirals and trees.

One of the students chose the spiral to represent the life cycle during the decorating of the flags.  He asked me as he drew:  “Can I do the lifecycle of the chicken?”  He then explains the egg, the chick, the chicken and a blank section… fried chicken.  I pause, and of course giggle a little, not sure how to respond.

It may offend some, as we all make choices in what we eat and many choose not to eat meat.  We talk a bit more and he tells of the chickens his family raises for eggs and meat.  This is how he and his family choose to live and it’s wonderful to be grateful for the meat and truly understand the sacrifices and not just go to the store to pick up a package. leespearyphoto300care1st-35

I tell this story because Garden of Fire is a place where these students can be themselves.  They are not being judged or having to fit into the preverbial box.  These symbols represent him and his family.

One of the goals on the program is to teach gardening and science.  If more children had the experience of really knowing where all their food came from, and the work that is put into a simple slice of bread, our world would be a better place.

Emily Hofelich
Executive Director
Friends of the Addison Youth Center, Inc.