As I reflect back on Summer 2017 Cooking Camp, I am truly reminded of all of the reasons that Camp was created in the first place back in 2004. As I remember so vividly my early days in the kitchen myself, those are some of my fondest childhood experiences and certainly skills, recipes and antidotes that are with me still to this day.
Our Camp T-shirt this summer was reminiscent of the original recipe card, those handwritten notes from close friends and family, sharing secrets and written with love and gratitude to a recipient that either asked for this kindness or as a gift to share a well-guarded secret. We chose to represent what is taught in a week's experience at VeryVera Cooking Camp by structuring it as "Recipe for Success."
Food | Our Culinary Director, Lora Hydrick, brought her experience as a PHD candidate and High School Culinary Arts Instructor to our program this summer and the students adored her! Her expression certainly indicates that she, too, feel in love with the opportunity to be with this age group, and have an impact in their introduction to the culinary world.
Friendship | We probably have over 10 different schools represented each week in our student body, plus students that come in from out of town to visit grandparents. Our goal is to mix the groups of students up each day so that each child leaves having made new friends.
Tradition | From our enthusiasm each morning to see each student, to the customary first time recipes that have been made at Camp for fourteen years, we have created an experience that area young people look forward to as they approach their 6th birthday to become part of each summer.
Problem solving | We spend time each day discussing how to make things easier and how to accomplish successfully more difficult tasks. Something as simple as the bowl being too big or too heavy can have several solutions to get the job done!
Entrepreneurship | We love to showcase the fact that VeryVera is a business that developed in my home kitchen and that, one step at a time, I grew a company from those steps. Creating unique packaging for food can be the beginning of a child's introduction into sales, marketing and business development.
Creativity | expanding on the creative aspect of entertaining is a great beginning for larger projects that require creativity. Developing a theme for a party and then developing that theme into the food, decor, favors and dress code allow students to learn how to write an outline, work through a plan and showcase how important appearance is to presentation.
So, these ingredients yield:
- Useful life skills: Organization, Logistics Management, Teamwork and Etiquette Skills
- Confidence: Good Communication skills, understanding of directions and opportunities to show leadership (
- Independence: Understanding that you have to take steps at a time to earn the opportunity to work independently and to be responsible for what that entails.
Our VeryVera Camp Team, inclusive of each franchise and all staff members, feel that these skills and the unique way provided to develop them, makes for a great introduction to each student on how to manage their next school year. Our Camp has grown from Campers, to Junior Counselors, Interns and Staff that are former campers. We feel that the foundation of excellence that is being fostered through our program is being fostered through happy parents and superior graduates of our program.
Here's to year 15 coming up in 2018!