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For those of you who know Chef Tommy FitzGerald, you would expect some type of knock-off from the 80’s era of film-making.  Camp Kitchen Sage though is relevant, timely and has proven to be an effective program for training older youth and young adults in basic employability skills.  And of course, like any summer camp, it was done in an atmosphere of fun and adventure.

Camp Kitchen Sage came into existence because of the vision of the leadership at Michigan Rehabilitation Services who were looking for something innovative in training their clients.   The thought that this could center around food and involve a work-based learning experience within the food service industry proved to be a recipe for success.  As Karen Awe, MRS Site Manager stated:  “Camp Kitchen Sage was an extraordinarily robust program that covered many topics younger individuals need to start thinking about.  Examples include: general work habits, team playing, problem solving, safety awareness, creativity, etc. Upon program completion, the personal growth and development that occurred was amazing.”

This past summer 10 young adults embarked on a summer camp unlike anything they ever experienced.  During the morning hours they attended fieldtrips to the farm of the Franciscan Sisters in Lowell, went to the downtown market and farmers’ market, built and planted raised-bed gardens, and stepped into the kitchen to prepare their own lunches.  After lunch they each went to their respective work-based learning sites, which included the David D. Hunting YMCA, Meals on Wheels, New Holland Brewery, and Lincoln Square of Holiday Retirement.  And for these hours they received a paycheck!