Monday, August 2, 2010

Final Travels----Farewell from Reyne


For those of you who do not know me my name is Reyne Watson, and I was an Americorps VISTA Volunteer for the Idaho Hunger Relief Task for this past year.  With my time coming to an end it is important for me to write a farewell.  In December 2008 I graduated with my degree in Elementary Education.  I did some subbing shortly after,  I knew that I had picked the right major but there was certainly something missing.  I had made plans to move home so I could pursue a job in my hometown, but about 3 months before I was to do so I received a phone call from a connection who thought of me for a position with the Task Force.  I was very excited because I was hoping that something like this would become available.  After talking with those close to me, they all said this sounds perfect for you Reyne!

Now the year is coming to a close I am so grateful to having this amazing opportunity.  I did things that I never thought I would have the courage to do, and I learned many different lessons along the way. I truly hope that I was able to help someone along the way, I take away something from this that I will never forget.  This position definitely took me out of my comfort zone in more than one way, I found that you learn the most in experiences that involve the unknown.  

I decided that when this position I was going to pursue working with youth, as well as pursuing my career in teaching.  My true passion lies in education and youth development, I find my niche in working with children.  =)
This spring, I read a book called the Hunger Games.  Its a futuristic FICTIONAL tale where youth are forced into violence and starvation.  While its genre is young adult, I highly recommend this book to adults as well.  It really struck a chord with me.  It covers a world where human rights are basically stolen, a person has no value to society.  I found myself realizing how important hunger policy work can be, we are advocates that are hoping to prevent a future of devastation.  If I had not taken this position I am unsure if I would have pulled such POWERFUL themes from this book.  For me, hunger is a human rights issue, we do not get to decide who gets to eat and who doesn't.  I am blessed to have worked for such a powerful cause.

I would also like share this link: You can receive an education packet for free!  It is such a great focus on what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is!

I am so thankful for all the relationships and connections have been able to create in only a year here.

Last week we had the pleasure of traveling up to Cottonwood & Lewiston.  We went to the Monastery of St. Gertrude and stayed there for two days.  St. Gertrude has graciously support many of our adventures this past year, it was our honor to share with them what we have been up to!  After Breland and I did our presentation, we received many thanks from all of the Sisters.  The Monastery is such a peaceful and refreshing place.  I highly recommend taking a visit.  We were given a tour of their new bed & breakfast that they opened in the Guest House, it is beautiful.  For more information make sure you visit their website.  Here is the direct link to their inn.

Sr Carol Ann was a gracious host to us on our visit.  She took us up the hill on the property and showed us around the forest.  It was a wonderful stay, thanks for having us!

Here are some photos I took.....

A doll Sr. Carol Ann made out of a flower:

The prayer path up the hill:

Lovely nature:

The cemetery:

An amazing long life:

Ocean Spray:

We made it to the TOP!

Gorgeous sunset:

Next stop: Lewiston.  We were graciously hosted by another sister from the Monastery who has a home there.  Thank you Sr. Carm for your hospitality!

We were a part of the Sustain Life Festival.  It was wonderful to be a part of events in other parts of Idaho.  Breland was visiting with some of our friends at  Wilson Banner Ranch. Here is a picture of our display:

Hope you enjoy all of the pictures!  While I am excited to pursue my career as an educator, leaving the Task Force is bittersweet.  I am so thankful for this journey.  With that I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

"It's not the destination, its the journey..."-Unknown


ps if you hear of anything involving education jobs or after school programs with youth please comment on this post to let me know!  Thanks! or you can email me at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

School Community Garden: Taft Elementary

For those of you who are not aware of this, I hold a degree in Elementary Education with hopes of teaching some day!  I thoroughly enjoy learning and in turn have become passionate about guiding our youth to discover & explore the wonders of the world.  My teaching philosophy relies heavily on allowing children to learn in tactile and hands on ways.  A school garden can be beneficial in SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS!  The teachers I remember were the ones that gave us activities to harbor our learning.  One science teacher took us to the river to test the water, we learned about the water cycle in a very hands on way that I will never forget.  Now what I do not remember is the repetitive worksheets that memorized definitions that would later prove to meaningless, there wasn't any application.
I am not saying that current or past teaching methods are invalid, I am just excited to see a garden play a dedicated role in a child's academic curriculum.  A garden is sustainable.
I asked for feedback about school garden's on our FACEBOOK page, here were a few responses (hopefully I can share more soon)

Fresh food, new physical activity in the fresh air, economical lessons, learn to be responsible and follow through, spark interest in science, use math to determine germination rate, try new foods, pride, a new skill...what's not positive about that?

Ditto that, plus the joy of eating something you helped to grow and tend! Some students try a new food because it was in their garden, and they like it! Also, start a compost pile, and see how helpful that is to the garden! Produce can be donated to the food bank, or used to help those in need local to the school. Lots of ideas here!

Please comment on this post and share your thoughts.

On Tuesday this week they held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Taft Elementary School Garden...They had an incredible array of student presentations as well as wonderful support from the community.
I am excited to visit the garden this summer to see it grow!

Here are some pictures from the ribbon cutting ceremony!
Click on the BUGS link to see the entire album.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear Idaho

Dear Idaho,

I want to thank you for letting me travel your terrain the past two weeks.  You gave us nice weather and clear roads to drive on.  We logged almost 2000 miles and we got to discover how beautiful you are in the process.  Thank you for valuing tradition, hard work, and community.  All of these things are very important and I appreciate everyone who lives in Idaho that was willing to take the time to share with us.  We couldn't have done any of this without you, your voice is important, it does matter! We as a Task Force believe that in a state as abundant and gorgeous as you there is no reason for anyone to go hungry.  Thank you for helping us get just one step closer to making that belief a reality.

The Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force

ps I was able to shoot some amazing photos of Idaho.  When I get the chance I will edit some of my favorites (due to lighting and color issues) and then share them here.

End of the Week: Blackfoot, Malad, & Twin Falls

The last part of our trip went by fast! We traveled to Blackfoot on Wednesday, Malad on Thursday, stayed in Burley Friday, and then on to Twin Falls Saturday!

We are very thankful to have stayed with Shannon Jensen in Blackfoot, her children even gave up their bedrooms for us to sleep in!  It was very nice of them.  :)  Blackfoot was fun, we took lots of pictures and we played the Wii with Shannon's children, TJ & Jordyn.  I promise we were working too!

We drove around Malad (about an hour outside of Pocatello) and almost got stuck in the mud (long story ha ha).  While they are a small community, they have a lot of heart.  We heard lots of opinions, we were encouraged to hear that everyone we spoke to had a lot to say.   When we decided that we wanted to visit Malad we asked the local SEICA (South Eastern Idaho Community Action) for help and the were so very accommodating!

We also met with community members in Blackfoot and Twin Falls.  Both of which are very passionate about making important  community connections.  I thoroughly enjoy talking with people and just hearing their stories---this trip was very informative and definitely beneficial!


Blackfoot Pictures:

Malad Photos:

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Driving!

I just love taking pictures while we are driving, I find that I can some pretty cool shots.  Here are some from the drive to Blackfoot.  We hit a rainstorm so I had to get some raindrops on the windows!




Dear Challis:  Thank you so much for being so hospitable and friendly :)

We stayed an the Pioneer Inn which was very cozy and had a welcoming atmosphere.  Even their dog Mr. Lucky made us feel at home.

The Y-Inn had a large accommodating meeting room that was definitely more than we expected.  The service was wonderful!

I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Challis.  We got some wonderful feedback from the community, everyone was very gracious to share their stories.  It was inspiring to be in a community that felt very caring.  This trip has revealed some very isolated communities.  The closest food stamp office is in Salmon that is at least 50 miles away, and anywhere else is at least 2 hours away.  That doesn't sound like much until you consider the quality of the mountain roads in icy or snowy conditions.

This is a very beautiful part of Idaho, I can see why many would fall in love with it.

I heard someone say that it is hard to find good produce in their community, they have to drive elsewhere. At the same time we also heard that they are working on building up a farmers market that they just started last year.  Apparently there were at least 55 vendors, most being produce vendors!
I sure wish we could do some more traveling so we can go there during the summer as well!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Driving to Challis...

We were greeted by yet another sunny & beautiful day on the drive to Challis from Ketchum on Tuesday.  Check out the gorgeous drive!

This is the bathhouse at some hot springs......

When we made it to Challis this is where we stayed, very nice place I highly recommend it!

More Challis pictures to come.  We just got back to Boise today so I will have more time to add some more posts about our trip.
Have a great weekend!