June 25, 2020 (Updated June 29, 2020) ; Elyse Erdman
College students across the country are struggling to find and complete required internships due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Occupational therapy students at Elizabethtown College overcame this struggle by participating in a non-conventional internship program here at the Farm. Since our day program is closed until further notice, Christine Achenbach, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the Occupational Therapy Department at Elizabethtown College, suggested that students would integrate themselves into our daily Farm Zoom parties. Not only do the students attend Zoom parties, they send in videos for our Growers to watch during the parties. Hailey Alger’s videos feature her work on a dairy farm, including a how-to on milking cows. Hailey had been to Hope Springs Farm in the spring of 2019 during her first semester of fieldwork. When asked about her experience as a virtual intern she remarked, “It has been great to join the Zoom parties and see the smiling faces of the Growers that I had the privilege of meeting over a year ago. Their smiles definitely brighten my day. Occupational therapy is all about adapting, and I think taking on this virtual experience has contributed to my ability to adapt. I am so thankful that Hope Springs Farm has allowed me to take part in this incredible program.” Another intern, Jessi Clark, got the Growers involved at home by sending in a video on how to make no-bake monster energy balls. Lauren Scheib showed us how to make gluten free banana pancakes, and Ashleigh Denault whipped up some yummy banana split bites. Broccoli Salad was made by Hannah Burleigh in a video for a Zoom party, while Cristina VanBrocklin translated the video into sign language. Emily Buss also teaches words in American Sign Language through her videos. She most recently taught Growers and staff the words “hungry” and “thirsty,” ones that could be very helpful when our day program starts back up. "It was clear to me that Hope Springs Farm is a remarkable place since the first moment I interacted with the Growers,” stated Emily. “There is no other program that provides their participants practice in functional skills on a farm & within the community, a space to create social relationships, and even the ability to walk an alpaca! While COVID-19 has restricted in-person interaction with the Growers, students like me from Elizabethtown College have partnered with Hope Springs Farm to create content for their interactive Zoom experiences. As students we have gained valuable insight that we will apply in our future careers as occupational therapists! I have enjoyed creating videos for the Growers, especially teaching basic ASL vocabulary, and look forward to visiting again in person." Intern Sadie Hawkins brought out her crafty side and led Growers in making planters out of plastic bottles. Liz Mazer and Emily Nelson used their home gardens to give examples of the five senses. These are just some of the creative videos that Elizabethtown College interns have sent in. You can find clips of all our interns’ videos on our YouTube channel, under the playlist “Farm-at-Home; Have fun at home while staying safe.” Thanks Christine Achenbach and the Occupational Therapy Department at Elizabethtown College for all of your work in developing and implementing this internship, and thanks Elizabethtown College students for your outstanding creativity as Hope Springs Farm interns.
Click here to watch our interns' videos on YouTube.
Click here to donate so that we can continue providing free Zoom parties to Growers until their return.