YMCA + H4H: Youth Employment Program!

We have been building our connection to youth with a YMCA Youth Employment Bootcamp – this partnership emerged from a Youth in Social Enterprise Study we participated in, and we are now hosting our second practicum youth. It’s been fun getting to share our lively, busy and unique work space with these program participants. Ben has taken part in all aspects of our operations, and it’s been a pleasure getting to share the work we love with him, and have him contribute his time, energy and skills too! We’ve asked each participant to contribute to our blog, and we’re pleased to share his guest post below.

Guest blog post from Ben:

I was first formally introduced to Hives for Humanity through the YMCA’s training program called the “Youth Employment Bootcamp” which is a program for helping a group of roughly twelve 15 – 30 year-olds find employment, whether it’s their first job or a complete change in career.

I had heard of Hives for Humanity (H4H) only in passing but, upon researching it, I found out how closely my interests aligned with H4H I was super interested!

I was very apprehensive before starting to work in the Downtown Eastside as I had lived in the west side my whole life and had heard of many stories about confrontations and how dangerous the people were. But as I’ve worked here and gotten to meet quite a few people who call the DTES home, I have become more and more comfortable with the neighbourhood and the individuals who are more often than not victims of circumstance.

It was amazing working on the seed library with a big group of about seven people and seeing the efficiency of a group so big with good communication.

In my experience with filtering honey I’ve discovered just how precise and thorough you have to be in order to ensure no particles of wax or other contaminates make it into the honey bottling process.

So far, working on the farm has been fun and rewarding to see and better by the end of each session. However it has also been wet and freezing most days which definitely makes working outside more challenging!

It’s been incredibly interesting getting to see candles being made, and having the chance to make some candles myself has been fun and engaging.

I had heard about how important seed saving is but had no experience with it. Not only has the seed library program taught me how to separate the seeds from their plants but it’s also taught me about the plants themselves – like how milkweed fluff is used for pillows and weaving.

Honey can be drastically different from neighbourhood to neighbourhood – things like consistency and flavour are often affected and this is because of the various types of plants.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time at H4H and I look forward to working with everyone more in the future!

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