The cafeteria at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s Nappanee Clubhouse is more than just a place to get a snack after school. It’s a place where kids can transition from the stress of the school day into more relaxed Club activities.
Misty LeCount knows that kids need that comfortable place. She worked in the schools before joining the Nappanee team last year.
“I was ready for something a little different. I worked as a para-professional at an elementary school. I love kids, but I wanted something different. I’ve catered my whole life. This seemed like a great fit because it was kids and food,” she said.
LeCount said she loves that the job is more than just serving food.
“When I read the job description, I was thinking I’d be feeding kids snacks. It’s been so much more than that. I didn’t know I’d get to help with programming. I didn’t know there would be so much opportunity to make connections with the kids,” she said.
She works with the program staff to create fun activities in the kitchen.
“We’ve had some tastings while we learn about the food groups. Today, we’re making rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches (sandwiches with food coloring added to the cheese). I want them to be able to gain some knowledge about how to eat healthy, be healthy, make good choices and to know what good choices are,” LeCount said.
She also wants them to know it’s OK to experiment with making new things. She recently worked with several younger children who had never cracked an egg.
“That was so cool to get to see them do that for the first time.”
While the pace can be hectic as kids arrive after school, she tries to make time to interact with as many members as she can on a daily basis.
“When they get off the bus, I’m the first place they go, for the most part. I see probably about 100 kids in 45 minutes, but food is such a basic need. To be the face of someone who is helping them with that when they’re hungry is amazing. I love getting to chat with them while they wind down from school and get ready for the club. I’m that transition person.”
She also wants parents to know that their kids are getting snacks that are healthy, and they’re being taken care of.
“They don’t need to worry about their kids when they are here.”