Over the last few months, I have offered educational programming to the Patriots Gateway Community Center (PGCC) after-school program participants. The students ranged in age from 8-12 years old. PGCC was started in 1995 by the community members of Zion Lutheran Church. During our first meeting, we had over 20 participants eager to learn all they could about Butternut Squash. During our time together, we covered the health and nutritional benefits and discussed the difference between summer squash and winter squash. Finally, they had a chance to sample butternut squash in a dish.
In advance, I prepared the following for the participants to taste: Roasted Butternut squash, roasted butternut squash seeds, and butternut squash cupcakes. Everyone was willing to taste something, and many were willing to try it all. I found this encouraging because some had never eaten butternut squash before.
I asked them to rate what they liked the most with a show of hands. With no surprise, they placed them in the following order: Butternut squash cupcakes, roasted butternut squash seeds, and then the roasted squash brought up the rear.
The following were some of the comments shared:
“It’s good to try different things.”
“The roasted seeds are good, and they taste like sunflower seeds.”
“Can I take some squash home to my grandmother”
This has been a fun group to work with, and I look forward to our next meeting, where we will discuss the life cycle of plants, and each participant will be able to transplant and take home an herb plant to grow on the window seal. Before I departed, they thanked me and shared the following pledge:
“I am a patriot. I am responsible for what I say and do. I choose to be respectful, honest, and caring. I work hard to achieve my goals. I am a patriot.