A look back at Boston and the Heifer Farm

A look back at Boston and the Heifer Farm

Reflections on a week in Massachusetts

 Spending a week on the road with 10 high school youth in Boston and at the Heifer Farm was an amazing experience.   We walked all around Boston, rode miles on the subway, experienced John Williams conducting the Boston Pops, learned about the Congregational Church and the beginnings of Boston, learned about the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the abolitionist movement.  Worked at an infant pantry and learned about poverty.  We learned about healthy eating and voting with our forks; about locally grown food and global villages.   We performed farm chores and lived in Ghana and Tibet of the global village. We sang, we prayer, we played.  All of that, plus travel by planes, trains, vans and foot.   What an adventure.

I was 18 years old when I first began working with youth groups.  I am still in contact with some of those youth from long ago.   During those 40 years I have been on many a retreat, annual meeting, campout, and mission trip.   There have been some very memorable trips and groups.   

This trip had good planning (thank you Meredith), a good mix of activities and a really stellar group of young adults.  We ran these young people and kept them moving.  They learned and experience a lot.   Through it all, there was no whining, no complaining, no infighting and never any disrespect.  We didn’t lose anyone and no one had to stay behind.  They were supportive of one another, respectful of the adults, mindful of getting on and off subway cars, and staying together.   They engaged and worked hard.   Cell phones were everywhere, but when asked to put them away, they did.  They showed up on time in the morning, worked hard, did their own dishes and often those of others.  

When asked to split up into different groups, no problem.  When called upon to lead, they stood up.  Team work was often needed and they all pitched in.   They laughed, played and were silly on a regular basis – and yet, never crossing the line.

Here is what I will remember most:

            Everyone dressed up to go to the Pops – and then the excitement during the concert.  Happy to share such a special evening with them.

            Happy Birthday in the subway – dancing and singing.

            Devotions and sharing about their talents.   There was humility in responses, and encouragement when people struggled to name one.  

            Picking up stones out of the mud at the pig pen.  Everyone dug in, mud up to our shins, a mindless dirty job.   Again, no one quit, no one complained.  Then, they formed an assembly line to clear it out.  An awesome job.   And yes, many hands made light work – but it was still dirty.

            Guini hog-asuarus rex and evidence of his existence.   Ask a teenager.

            At the farm, there was a older man repairing picnic tables.   He belongs to a Lions Club.  We were talking about the Heifer Farm.  He had seen and interacted with some in our group as well as the staff at the farm.   He said, “These young people here are so respectful, so full of life and hope.   Giving of their time to serve.   It gives me hope for the future.”

            I could not agree more.   These young people are not only the hope for the future, they are an inspiration for today.

My thanks to Rick and Meredith for allowing me to come along and to shape the events of the trip as I did.  Many thanks to everyone who sponsored and supported these young people.   It was a wonderful adventure.