Nde farms works closely with the Mescalero Apache Youth Development Program. All of the scheduled activities center around the “healthy kids, active lifestyle” theme. We’ve held garden parties and movie screenings, serving only healthy snacks from our garden—smoothies, kale chips, sunflower sprouts, carrots and broccoli. A class from the Headstart Program walks over to our Farmer’s Market booth each Friday to taste our tomatoes and raspberries and learn how to shop right!
We’ve toted community kids along on multiple fishing trips sponsored by the Hatchery; and through a “Sustainability Field Trip” series they’ve visited 4 local farms where they learned about animal husbandry, wild medicinal plants, permaculture and gardening, churning butter, and surviving without the grocery store. At a Mennonite Farm we visited, the kids got to taste fresh homemade cheese and meet the dairy cow it came from!
I helped to chaperone and participate in a Paddle Boat race at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. The winners and I got to ride the mile-long zip line that is set up over Mescalero Lake. The most recent excursion was a mountain biking run down Sierra Blanca, sponsored by Ski Apache. My girlfriend and I were roped into working that event—5.5 miles down a steep rock mountain trail, while trying to prevent 8 year olds from nose-diving off the cliffs! This experience has definitely encouraged me to abandon my comfort zone. They actually handled the trail quite well. And it was the first time I’ve ever been at the top of the landscape, looking down on the clouds.
Just yesterday, I assisted in Mescalero’s first swimming lessons since the re-opening of the pool. The classes are free and open to the public. The turn-out was awesome. I hope that while I’m here, I can continue to live a healthy lifestyle and make an impression on the youth that I work with. I hope at least one kid makes that connection from the soil to the food in the fridge. I hope this program creates lasting memories and gives the Apache Youth the tools necessary to lead healthier lifestyles than generations before them.