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Afternoons at Kindle Farm: Where the Best gets Better
Lance Cutler, Activities Coordinator
Years ago when I first started working at Kindle Farm, it was obvious from the first moment how effective the relationship based model we use is for our students. Watching veteran staff interact on a personal level, while fostering an overwhelming sense of community and family was inspiring. But one of the first things I noticed about these relationships was how the diversity of our schedule allowed us the opportunity to really connect with kids. By breaking our days into two equally important parts, we present multiple ways in which we can relate with and teach young men to learn more effectively.
Afternoon activities play an important role at Kindle Farm. A lot of our kids spend an excessive amount of their free time playing video games, watching tv, or online using social networking sites. Our afternoon activity schedule is designed to help supplement their daily routines with activities that can stimulate their minds and bodies in a positive way. By moving out of the traditional classroom structure we provide an opportunity to create a personal sense of accomplishment, bolster self-esteem, and give them positive feedback on skills that may help them avoid the increasing negative choices facing young men today...
Over the last few years, we at Kindle Farm have made a concerted effort to reinvigorate and refocus our activities to better fit with more structured standards while maintaining our schools tradition of meeting our guys where they are. For each quarter of the current 2011-12 school year we have offered over 35 different activities between 3 programs. These activities cover a wide range of subject matter. Classes like Life Skills, Health, and our long standing Vocational classes help with transition beyond school.
Blacksmithing and Woodworking activities develop traditional, hands-on skills. Groups about Graveyards and Paper Airplanes encourage imagination and creativity. In the arts we offered Drawing, Photo, and various Music classes. These are just a few of the courses designed and pursued with our population's interests and abilities in mind.
No matter what activity we offer at Kindle Farm we believe it is most important to stop and take a breath during challenging situations. We encourage our students to think through difficult moments, not to jump to conclusions, misinterpret their feelings, make inappropriate choices, or act in a way they may regret later. We coach them to make rational decisions about how they will overcome problems they encounter in and out of school. Whether they face life altering-crisis or minor stresses, our objective is to build our students' confidence to handle adversity, while opening their minds to the almost endless opportunities available to them when they allow themselves to experience things they never have before