From the mouths of ambassadors

I have a small, but lovely, crop of new fifth grade Garden Ambassadors for the year.  Last week most of them “tested” to get their official t-shirts.  After reading garden notes and practicing with me, they each gave the full garden tour, proving they are ready to host campus visitors by themselves.  It’s a big moment when they receive their official gear.  Here are some of their funny and profound thoughts on being ambassadors, from their applications.  Enjoy!

What do you think are good qualities for a Garden Ambassador to have?

“I think a Garden Ambassador should be sweet, charming and funny. I think they should occasionally make a joke, but not joke too much.  A good Garden Ambassador should speak to their guest with respect.  I also think that they should speak with a lot of personality, and not just speak in monotone.”

“…Garden Ambassadors, every single one of them, should have your full attention.  They should be able to control themselves and be a good example for everyone.  THEY ARE IN FIFTH GRADE!”

Why would you like to serve as a Garden Ambassador?

“I enjoy meeting new people!  I also want to put to the test how charming and funny I can be without blowing it. I find that meeting lots of new, eccentric people with expose me to different personalities.”

“My Mom has a big garden.  I would love to learn a little more.”

“We are so lucky to have our own garden at our school.  I want to say to my kids when I am older that I was a loyal, helpful Garden Ambassador…I would also like to come home and tell my Mom about how Garden Ambassadors went everyday!”

What do you think you could learn from serving as a Garden Ambassador?

“I will learn how to talk to people that I’ve just met as if I’ve known them forever!  I will also learn lots and lots of plant names!”

“I think I or anyone could learn how to care for other things that are not yours.  I think we will learn how long and hard people work on our garden just for us to have a garden at our school. We could learn all of the plants and know that you are spending time on something that is worth it!  I am so happy that I might be a Garden Ambassador!”

Me too.  🙂

 

 

Garden ambassadors, tour guides, rock stars

Another responsibility of our fifth and sixth grade Garden Ambassadors is to give tours.  I work with them on the how’s (shaking hands, making eye contact, friendly smiles) and the what’s (correct and succinct information, good stories, personal anecdotes) of being a good tour guide.  Throughout the year, when we have a guest on campus interested in seeing the garden, one of the ambassadors will be tapped to give the tour.  Last week an ambassador gave a tour to a pediatrician on campus for the day; another one recently spent her recess giving a tour to a group of parents visiting from a San Diego school.

Today all ten of them were “on.”  Our school celebrated Global Youth Service Day by holding a short open house to showcase to the wider community our service learning projects.  Garden Ambassadors also gave garden tours.  The last two weeks we have had three “working lunches” to prepare. The students spread out at “stations,” introducing themselves and talking about their section of the garden to each visitor that approached.

They were smart, poised and welcoming, and I was incredibly impressed, once again, by the level of leadership to which kids can rise when given the chance. (The seriousness with which they take their job is charming too!)  I was very proud of them, and I was also reminded of how much joy I derive from working with kids in gardens.

Tour guides in action, sporting offical yellow (5th) and green (6th) ambassador shirts

Ambassador talking to the local press

ESK manages the "honor herb" garden---take a handful of herbs for a quarter

"Early Start Kindergarten" (ESK) does worm composting in their classroom

First grade manages the "Boxtops" program which raises money for the garden

The K/1 classroom looks after the butterfly garden

Third graders are in charge of lunchtime composting