Campers Display their Mural
The Value of “Process”

Greeting the sheep

In our modern world, we have become a “product” oriented society. The enthusiasm and appreciation for “process” has been lost. With technology, we insist upon immediate gratification and instant results to meet our ever changing whims. One goal of our summer farm camps with children focuses on “process”. The farm becomes the perfect tool to teach them about where their food and clothing come from. The setting allows the children to slow down, discover the world around them, and fully engage in the steps necessary to produce a product. Our second group of summer campers met this goal with much enthusiasm and proved that children can still enjoy the creative process whether in the kitchen or in the studio.

Washing a fleece

Our overnight campers requested dinner two of the nights they were here. After talking with their moms, we decided it would be fun for them to help make their own dinner. So we spent one morning in the garden harvesting what they would need to make pesto and a salad. Their morning “craft” session resulted in wonderful basil pesto and a lovely fresh salad which they would eat for their dinner that evening.

Dyeing washed wool

The children also learned how to go from sheep to yarn. They began their week being introduced to the sheep who live on our farm. All week, they cared for our sheep, providing them with fresh water and new pastures for grazing and leaning about the relationship between nutrition and fleece quality. They then washed a raw Romney fleece learning about the lanolin content and the importance of careful feeding habits to reduce vegetation from contaminating the fleece. In the days that followed, the children dyed the fleece and learned how to card it into batts for spinning. By the end of the week, they were ready for spinning and made their own drop spindles using recycled CDs. At last they had yarn to take home with them.

Drop Spindle

To help them bring all of these steps together and to see the big picture of where knitted items come from, the children worked on a group mural which highlighted what they had learned. Their mural required wet felting, needle felting, and even making three dimensional objects to depict the stages of what they had learned about wool and spinning yarn.

Felting the Background for the Mural
Needle Felting

 The level of focus and the joy in which these children approached their work all week was an encouragement to myself and the two moms that were here. Often, as an adult, I sometimes lose sight of the joy in the process of doing something and get bogged down in the steps. I want to hurry along just so I can get to that end product quickly. The value of taking time and savoring each piece of the project gets lost in the desire to have my final product in hand. Our little campers, fully embraced each day and the tasks set before them proving the value in the process.