It’s March break and, for the third year in a row, The Salvation Army in Goderich has turned their kitchen into a classroom for children.
“All I did was burn the eggs and now I’m at cooking camp,” says Mason, with a grin. “Mom thinks I need lessons.”
The March break camp, a partnership between The Salvation Army and the Huron County Health Unit, provides children (ages nine to 14) with a hands-on cooking experience that teaches new skills, builds confidence and stresses the importance of smart food choices.
“Our goal is to provide kids with a good foundation in cooking and healthy eating that carries them well into adulthood,” says Lieutenant Laura Hickman, program coordinator.
“Throughout the week, participants make their own lunches that include soups, salads, chili, pizza and deserts―from scratch,” says Hickman. “Then, at the end of the week, parents and caregivers are invited to a luncheon prepared by the students. Here each child receives a certificate of completion and a kitchen tool kit consisting of items such as mitts, tea towels, a cutting board, measuring cups and spoons and a cookbook.”
From reading recipes to stove and oven safety to measuring ingredients and learning about good nutrition, the children are growing in knowledge. A relaxed atmosphere in the kitchen also offers an opportunity for peers to build lasting friendships.
“Working together in the kitchen is a great way for kids to connect and make new friends,” says Hickman. “And tasks encourage patience, cooperation and teamwork. The camp has become popular and kids want to come back. That makes me very happy.”