A Partnership for the Future
My name is Lia Bazemore and I am interning here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden through an organization called Partnership for the Future. Partnership for the Future is an organization that provides high schools students in Richmond with college prep courses, personal development workshops, and saving incentives. With the help of business partners, they also provide workplace internships and college visits. That’s how I ended up here.
During my first week, I learned the philosophy of the Children’s Garden, the area of the Garden where I work. The Children’s Garden educators have taught me how to get everything set up (daily operations) so all the visitors can have an amazing experience in the Garden. I am also helping to run one of the summer camps for 4- and 5-year-olds, which I was really excited about. During camp, we did a lot of fun activities like painting pet rocks, making binoculars and paper crowns, and other crafts. The kids seemed to enjoy it very much. Sometimes we would we read to them, though if they saw an animal or something that intrigued them, the book would be the last thing on their minds. But that gave us a chance to talk more about nature, so it was good too. Overall I think snack was their favorite because constantly they would ask “When’s snack? When’s snack?” We have healthy fun snacks and even “harvest and nibble from the garden” so it doesn’t surprise me that they are excited about snack.
The staff also trained me to lead other Children’s Garden activities. During Garden Art (on Mondays 2 – 3 p.m) I sit in a shady spot under the CWD Kids Treehouse and facilitate kids activities as the children draw or paint or just engage with them as they do their own activity. I like helping with Garden Art because it helps kids express their artsy side. One Monday, a lady told me that she like the idea of Garden Art because she likes how the setting is outside and not in a classroom. Garden Art allows kids to do something fun outside in nature.
I also helped support staff with Youth Volunteering in the Community Kitchen Garden, providing FeedMore with fresh local vegetables for their Meals on Wheels recipients and to help children in need. Though the Community Kitchen Garden is full-sun (which the vegetables love), full-sun is not my favorite, but I have learned a lot and I’m glad I tried something new.
What I have taken away from my internship is that learning experiences can be anywhere and that learning in a garden can help you gain leadership skills, self-confidence, responsibility, creativity, and learning about living a healthy lifestyle, all things that will be useful in my future. Working at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has been a great experience overall with a very pleasant and welcoming working environment.
Lia Bazemore is a rising junior at Henrico High School in the International Baccalaureate Program. This is her second year in Partnership for the Future and we are honored to be her first place of employment.