Fond Farewells and New Beginnings at the MCS Farm
By John McDaniel, Farm Director
On the eve of the Manhattan Country School Class of 2022 graduation, I write with mixed emotions. I’m equal parts sad, proud, and a little envious, but filled with hope. I’ve witnessed the growth of these kids, some from the 7-8’s and others who joined the class along the journey. I know they’re ready and prepared to take their show on the road and spread the MCS gospel far and wide.
What helps soothe the wound of saying goodbye for now, is the knowledge that the 7-8’s, who just experienced their very first Farm trip, will take the baton. With equal measure of bravery, curiosity, and discovery the 7-8’s stepped into their role as farmers. They stepped from the bus into a world which will be theirs for life.
Cooperative work begins right away. Luggage needs to be unloaded and carried to the front porch of the farmhouse. Everyone grabs whichever bag, often teaming up to carry the heaviest. We talk about moving into rooms and some of the basic routines and systems of the Farm. A tour of the Farm is next, highlighting the things they can do during free time and the safe way to do them. We visit the animals in the barn, frog pond, and of course the hay jump.
The first day is spent getting comfortable and acclimating to their new surroundings. After dinner, everyone joins in some group games and it's soon off to bed. The middle day of the trip is filled with barn and house jobs, classes of Cooking/Baking, Farming/Gardening, Textiles/Fiber Arts, and Nature Studies/Outdoor Education. Meals of pancakes and sausage with Farm maple syrup, pasta with sauce, garden salad and warm garlic bread and a seemingly endless taco bar keep our energy levels high.
The 7-8s hiked Thyme Hill over and over again, took turns on the swing and played in the hay. When they return in the 8-9’s, we’ll revisit many of the same places and topics that will be familiar, but because the seasons will have changed, many new experiences await.