After a few weeks had passed – and I had gained some distance from the traumatic experiences of Organic Chemistry labs and Genetics reports – I felt the urge to do something a bit more substantial than the standard loafing-and-lounging. Volunteer work, I surmised, would be a pleasant way to reconnect with the community I grew up in.
Not once did I think, “You know what I want to do this summer? Spend a couple of hours every day in the 100-degree heat, pulling weeds and spraying fertilizer.”
Nevertheless, that’s exactly what I have been doing for the past couple of months. Through an incredible amount of luck and chance conversations, I found myself in the position of garden intern at the Snack Pack 4 Kids Garden.
Despite a total lack of any substantial gardening experience, I accepted the opportunity gratefully – if nothing else, I figured that it would fill the hours of the long summer days.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I could never have guessed how much work, sweat, and time it would require to maintain a 43-bed garden. More than that, though, I had no idea how fulfilling it would be to grow common vegetables for a local charity cause.
Working at the Garden involves a constantly varied, unpredictable mishmash of tasks – I truly have no idea what I’ll be doing when I walk in every day – and I could not love it more. I’ve learned how to weed, sprout, trim, grow, and harvest a plethora of crops; more than that, though, I’ve learned the joy of helping people in need and giving them a voice.
Many people talk about finding a career or hobby that you love, something that will “get you out of bed in the morning.”
For the first time in my life, I have that ‘something’ in my life through working in the Garden.
While I don’t know if I’ll use all of my newfound horticultural knowledge in the years to come, I’ll always be thankful for the larger lessons the garden has instilled into me: the joy of serving others and contributing to the community I love.
Joshua Beggs is the garden intern at the Snack Pak 4 Kids Garden. Beggs is currently pursuing a degree in health sciences at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.
When he isn’t studying, he spends his free time running and writing. Beggs is musically gifted. He was in school choir for 16 straight years and enjoys playing the piano and the drums.
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