It’s not uncommon to see food being prepared in the cafeterias at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. But WHO is preparing food at the Nappanee Clubhouse may surprise you.
Younger members are taking part in a program called “Kids In The Kitchen.” Four afternoons a week, small groups meet with Misty LeCount to prepare various meals or snacks.
“We try to work on things that don’t have too many steps or ingredients. They’re just learning, and we need to get things done in about an hour,” LeCount said.
She works to vary the ideas. One week, members created pizzas and another week monkey bread muffins. Because the groups are small, LeCount can spend a little more time explaining the process and helping the kids with hands-on demonstrations.
“They each have a bucket with their equipment. They’re learning to identify utensils and how to measure things. They’re learning when it’s important to be precise and when you can be a little more flexible,” LeCount said.
The sessions are popular with members and LeCount has had to split groups because so many kids have asked to be part of the fun.
“We made rainbow grilled cheese using food coloring. It was so cool to see the colors in the cheese,” said 11-year-old Cymone.
“I’ve learned that all food groups will give you energy and help you in different ways,” added 11-year-old Mariah.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County CEO Tami Hicks said that’s what makes programs like this special at Club.
“Our members are learning skills that they will be able to take with them outside the Club. We love that we’re able to equip them to be successful in all areas of their lives,” she said.
The members say they have items that are a surprise when they taste them.
“My favorite was meatball stuffed garlic bread. It was delicious,” said 10-year-old Audrina.
LeCount said while preparing for the groups can be time consuming, the outcome makes it worth the effort.
“It’s really fun. It’s a lot of work, but we’re having fun and that’s what it’s about,” she said.