Mondays have been food-based programs, which have been going very well (our whole SRP has been going very well, honestly). This past Monday was another program that was mine from concept to execution, and while it didn’t end up exactly as I envisioned, it went well, the teens had fun, and I got them eating healthy food again.
My concept was campfire cooking – the reality was, we wouldn’t be allowed to cook with real fire. This caused me perhaps more anxiety than was warranted; how would I replicate the effects of cooking a foil packet of food in hot coals when we couldn’t actually do that? My solution: bring my grill press from home, which has two plates you can set at different heights, and set it as high as it would go. Hopefully that would replicate the effects of at least being in an oven, if not a fire, and cook the food in the foil all the way through.
It worked very well! We made stuffed potatoes, and I handed out a recipe for chicken and vegetables they could try at home. I pre-cooked the potatoes and showed everyone how to make the foil pockets, but other than that I let everyone cook their packet how they wanted to. We ended up with extra veggies at the end, but kids just started making those into more different packets. The smell of the cooking potatoes even drew in more teens than I anticipated; I ended up running out of potatoes!
As I discussed with my manager, even when something doesn’t end up happening precisely the way you envision it, chances are you’ll still have fun as long as you’re flexible and you give your teens the chance to be creative and run things the way they’d like to. Even though we couldn’t cook with actual flame, I feel like they learned something they can take with them to the outdoors (or even a college dorm room).