Children at summer camp learn about gardening

Helping Hands: Brayden Miller and Landon Horton plant flowers during a 4-H event at the YMCA summer camp on Thursday.

Helping Hands: Brayden Miller and Landon Horton plant flowers during a 4-H event at the YMCA summer camp on Thursday.

Kids at the YMCA of Clanton’s summer camp were able to try their hand at gardening on Thursday.

4-H Regional Extension Agent Josine Walter visited the camp as part of the 4-H Master Gardeners program to teach the campers about gardening through lessons and hands-on activities.

After learning about the importance of flowers in the environment, the campers planted flowers in tires in the front of the YMCA building.

The five tires, donated by Clanton Tire and Auto, are each a different color to represent the five characteristics of the YMCA: the green tire represents responsibility, red represents caring, yellow represents respect, blue represents honesty and purple represents faith.

Campers began by lining the bottoms of the tires with trash bags to keep grass from growing in the tires.

“We have to build a barrier before we start planting,” Walter instructed. “We’ve got to protect our flowers.”

Next, the kids poured the potting soil into the tires and began loosening the dirt with shovels.When they dirt was loosened, Walter demonstrated the proper way to plant a flower with the roots firmly in the ground.

“I liked digging the dirt,” Brayden Miller, 4, said.

Hydrangeas and Marigolds were two of many flowers planted in the tire arrangement.

“I liked the purple flowers best,” Allison Petty, 4, said.

The soil and flowers were donated by the 4-H center.

“We wanted to give them some skills about gardening and also put into practice ways they can help the environment,” Walter said. “It can be creative. I hope they will go home wanting to plant flowers or a garden now.”

While the campers have been learning about the environment for weeks, many of them said they enjoyed putting that knowledge to use.

“My favorite part was putting the soil in,” Gracie Jones, 8, said. “It’s important because that is where the roots grow.”

“I liked planting the flowers,” Gabby Harris, 12, said. “It’s better for the environment if we plant them.”

The gardening project was one of many ventures the campers will be taking part in this summer.

YMCA Childcare Coordinator Keeley Yeargan said there are numerous educational activities planned for the summer camp participants each week.

“We will have several people come and talk or do things with the kids over the summer,” she said. “We have flag day and field day coming up in the next week. We will also be taking field trips to places like Lay Dam and the Extension Center.”

Children ages 4-13 are welcome to attend the summer camp, and parents may register their children at any point during the summer.

There is a one-time registration fee of $25, and the weekly rates are $80 for members and $110 for nonmembers.

For more information on the summer camp, call the YMCA at (205) 755-2382.

For more information on 4-H activities, call Josine Walter at (205) 377-4713.

Kailyn Bronson and Gunner Navarro loosen dirt with their hands.

Kailyn Bronson and Gunner Navarro loosen dirt with their hands.

4-H Regional Extension Agent Josine Walter teaches kids about gardening at the YMCA summer camp.

4-H Regional Extension Agent Josine Walter teaches kids about gardening at the YMCA summer camp.

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