'Planting Seeds, Feeding Souls': Farm Camp Project for girls 12-14 centers on gardening

·3 min read
Eloise Spurgeon, left, works with Milani Hart at Spurgeon Gardens in East Galesburg.
Eloise Spurgeon, left, works with Milani Hart at Spurgeon Gardens in East Galesburg.

GALESBURG — A new Galesburg summer camp will allow 32 girls between the ages of 12-14 to embark on a week-long journey into the science, math, language, history and bond that a garden creates between nature and humans.

The inaugural Spurgeon Gardens Farm Camp Project is set for July 11-17. The camp is open to girls ages 12-14 with a desire to learn about the earth and food. During the week-long event, each camper and the volunteers who support them will have experiences in the garden, while participating in activities, visits and crafts.

Many of the activities will be at Spurgeon Gardens, in East Galesburg. Campers, interns and adult instructors will be housed at Knox College.

"It is a community-driven project dedicated and passionate about providing a sense of community for young women," said Melissa Kehoe, one of the Farm Camp Project organizers. "A physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy young woman with a positive outlook and worldview, who feels comfortable within their communities, can move mountains. Just as a healthy, sustainable environment can provide for all if well cared for and loved.

"Both young women and our environment need love, nurturing, compassion, and the feeding of the soul to grow and prosper. Planting Seeds, Feeding Souls is committed to bringing the environment and young women together, focusing and collaborating on farming, art, mediation, feeding the soul, giving back to the environment, growing, healing, friendship, and growing a community and companies that will last a lifetime."

Galesburg Farmers Market: Here's what to expect this season

The cost is $3,300 per camper, however organizers say no girl will be turned away for an inability to pay.

"We want to reach all young ladies," said camp organizer Debbie Hessler. "We have very few applicants that are actually paying full tuition."

Applications will be accepted through July 6 and can be found on the Facebook page: Planting Seeds, Feeding Souls.

Kehoe said campers will start each day at Knox College with breath work and "setting intentions." Following breakfast, campers will bus to the farm. Yoga is taught by a certified instructor in the rotations the campers go through each morning in the farm.

Hands-on academic topics will be presented by Peter Schwartzman (soil life), Chris Enroth (life, container gardening), Tina Hope (herbs and foraging), Sue Indelicato (community gardening), Rhonda Brady and Mis Mariposa (Monarch Experience.)

Campers will attend leadership and transformation classes at Knox in the evening.

The idea for Farm Camp Project sprouted in February when Eloise Spurgeon shared a desire to share her knowledge of and love for the soil with the next generation. From there, Kehoe shared the idea of a gardening camp with 22 individuals to determine if there was an interest in building agri-tourism in Knox County and the surrounding area.

Spurgeon Gardens Farm Camp Project is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in the State of Illinois

Organizers believe Farm Camp Project is unique to the Galesburg-area and they hope to build on the concept in future years.

"This camp is the first of its kind in this area and perhaps nationwide," Hessler said. "We have used the knowledge and experience of our founders to build this camp from the ground up. In fact, this camp is being developed to be able to share with and teach to other communities around the world."

Next year, organizers intend to have a camp for boys, while continuing with Planting Seeds, Feeding Souls for girls ages 12-14.

For more information, call (309) 335-8883 or email spurgeongardens@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Galesburg Register-Mail: East Galesburg, IL farm camp includes activities, gardening, crafts.