The opportunity to run our first camp allowing us to serve kids presented itself last fall after a conversation Jennifer, a fellow board member, and I had with the CEO of Bill Wilson Center, Ms. Sparky Harlan. The result of that conversation was a partnership and the idea of a 10 day Culinary and Life Skills Building Camp to be held at the Bill Wilson Center. At that very moment I knew who I needed to reach out to for help in making this happen.
I immediately called a meeting with some of the most talented young chefs I know, whom I had the honor of teaching over the years in a culinary program at Wilcox High School that I had created back in 1994. We met and talked about the power of food, family and future. I shared my vision for the camp and how they could participate and they quickly came on board. Their enthusiasm, expertise and belief in the vision and mission of Justin’s House proved to be the winning combination that made the camp so successful.
The success was also due largely because some of their own life stories and experiences as teens mirrored what many of the kids we wish to serve might look like. This group shared a desire to give back to their community through the medium of food which had helped them feel hopeful and successful at times when they felt otherwise. Here are some of their comments: