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We love working with our institutional partners to produce special workshops and programs that allow students in different library districts to have engaging project based learning experiences. Earlier this year we had the opportunity to work with one of our long-standing library partners, Harrison Public Library, to lead one such project which was supported financially by ArtsWestchester. We worked with librarian Rebecca Fitzgerald to design and produce a mini camp format during which young designers created their own vision for a green space they would like to see in their community. The program was held at the library and led by two ArchForKids educators, Jasmine Morris and Elizabeth O’Brien. We asked Jasmine to share a bit about how the program went and you can read about her experience below. Educator Jasmine Morris gives a young student a sticker to add to her finished green space project

The Green Space Mini Camp Experience

Over the course of two days back in August, my coworker Elizabeth and I led a mini camp where local youth would design a green space for the Harrison Public Library in Harrison NY. Each session was 3 hours but the ideas these young designers came up with were endless. From a piano in the middle of the green space to add a nice ambiance, to a full golf course complete with a tunnel which explains the structure’s history. These kids, aged 3 to 12, did not fail to impress.

From the very start, everyone jumped right in. Some knew what the plan was right away. While others went with the flow and added any details their heart’s desired. Two brothers decided to combine their bases to create one elongated golf course. They paid extra attention to the details, lining the path with stones, including a bench with a scenic view of the course and a pond, and even a sign welcoming aliens. Another designer took special care in her garden, creating a varied pattern with pink and yellow flowers, adding a bird house, swing set and trash can to keep her green space beautiful and healthy. As we called time for day one, the pace quickened as designers tried to add that one last little thing for the day. A few kids finished and would start a second project the next day.

The second day was all about the final touches. Everyone raced against the clock to make sure they’ve added everything to their green space that they could. Even as some thought they had finished their spaces, they were inspired by other designer’s choices and decided to keep adding. It was a beautiful thing to see everyone so motivated and inspired by each other.A photo of a Green Space Project created using cardboard, tissue paper and decorations.A photo of a Green Space Project created using cardboard, tissue paper and decorations.

One designer added two ladders and two slides to her green space. This is for guests to have a fun entrance to the other side of the space. We also had some new people join us for day 2. Some of which were a couple of sisters. The youngest created a minimalist seated area that was proportional to her barbie dolls. It also included a play area for dogs with toys and all. The other sister created a 3 story structure in her green space, complete with a flower garden and fire pit.

So while some chose to keep their green spaces very clean and zen with a simple garden, fountain and sitting area, others chose to go all out and create a maximalist space topped off with a castle like entrance. There was something for everyone’s taste.

A student shows her completed green space design off, it features a castle made with plastic cups, a water fountain, chairs and a patio space

At the end of the mini camp, we went around the room and each designer presented their work and gave a description to fellow designers, parents and library staff; which is no easy feat! We are extremely proud of these kids for creating such detailed spaces and giving a presentation explaining their designs at the end!

Click here to watch a video with clips from the presentations!

A young student shows her green space design to the camera. The design is colorful with green tissue paper representing the lawn, colorful pipe cleaners twisted into bushes and swing sets and blue tissue paper used to create a pond

We are always open to working with community institutions to design and implement programs that suit their needs and that allow for the local children to have enjoyable learning experiences. Learn more about the type of work we do with community partners here, and feel free to reach out to hello@archforkids.com if you want to inquire about an ArchForKids collaboration.

An adult guardian and young student pose with a completed green space design which features a water fountain created with tissue paper, rocks and a plastic cup and a picnic bench created with popsicle sticks

This project was made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor’s office and the New York State Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.