HLA Orientation Day 2019

On Saturday March 2 at UC Elkus Ranch, the 6 th year of the Healthy Living Ambassadors Gardening Program began. This teens-as-teachers program, which is a partnership of the UC Calfresh and 4-H Youth Development programs, is a highlight of UCCE San Mateo/San Francisco Counties. Teens serve as garden and nutrition educators for elementary school youth, working with them in their school gardens throughout the spring. Full of workshops and team-building, the orientation was a strong way to start off the 10-week program. Of the 31 HLAs participating this year, a whopping 13 are returning HLAs for their second, third, and fourth years of the program!
UC Elkus Ranch was a beautiful hub to facilitate learning and training. The Conference Center was a great place to start and end the day, and the Ranch area provided serene places to get our hands dirty planting seeds and starts, learn some of the Physical Activity games we will have fun with, and practice lessons from the Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go! curriculum we will be implementing. And of course, there is nothing better than petting some goats and sheep between workshops. 
The Healthy Living Ambassadors will go off to 6 local Elementary Schools throughout San Mateo County and teach lessons to youth after school. The HLAs will earn up to 40 hours of community service, and each youth will be taught 20 hours of nutrition/gardening/physical activity lessons and activities by members of their community. Sometimes the HLAs teach at the same Elementary school they attended! That is one great way to give back to your community!
The HLAs will reconvene halfway through the program, at the Mid-Point Check-In, and again at the End of the Year Event. These events are built to provide a space where the HLAs can share their stories and experiences, to further their networking and learning opportunities, to provide feedback and reflect on their hard work, and build skills for the future.
We look forward to what the Spring 2019 Healthy Living Ambassador season will bring!