||Kids To The Country (KTC) is a unique program that has been working since 1986 to reduce anger, violence and fear in some of our most at-risk urban children. Through reconnecting them with nature, the innovative KTC program offers urban youth the opportunity to get out of troubled situations and develop a connection to nature through direct hands-on experience. These youngsters come from homeless shelters, refugee centers, and low-income neighborhoods. Over 2,800 children have participated since the program's inception.
KTC gives these kids experiential education normally unavailable to them. We teach about the value of nonviolent conflict resolution and respect for cultural diversity. They learn about their relationship with their environment, and are encouraged to consider themselves truly a resource with answers to our global concerns.
They learn skills like gardening and cooking, horse care and riding, mediation, expressive crafts, solar science and nature arts. This builds self-reliance and self-esteem. Perhaps most importantly, they are listened to and encouraged for the positive contributions that they make.
Kids to the Country's mission is to create a multicultural exchange in a rural setting for at-risk children, build a positive sense of community through nonviolent conflict resolution skills, and promote the growth of healthful relationships with each other. KTC structures activities to form lasting feelings of accomplishment and self-worth in each child. The nature school curriculum helps every youngster develop a connection with the land and the rhythms of nature through direct experience, providing them with an enriched world view.
There are so many young people who want to be part of the Kids to the County program. We are constantly in preparation for the seasonal programs, with the longest one in the summer. Many former KTC kids are returning to become counselors in training. The trained youth counselors, teachers, artists, story-tellers, water-safety experts, horseback riding instructors, solar engineers, and licensed health care professionals form the KTC staff.
In the summer program the kids get to study biodiversity, swim, canoe, ride horses, learn conflict management, make crafts, hike through unique native landscape, walk in creeks, cook, participate in recycling and gardening, star gaze through a telescope, perform on stage, play musical instruments, tell strories, make solar cookers and bond with new friends.
Many of the yourngsters we get to know are threatened daily with random violence, prompting one of our urban kids to say "I bet there's no shoot-outs here like there are in my neighborhood." We've seen the unthinkable happen in our schools and in our cities in recent times. We know that ignoring the needs of the children in our community affects us all.
Along with its summer sessions, Kids To The Country has programs year round. In the spring, around Earth day, kids work on the Peace Garden and Compost site in Nashville. In the fall we offer the Childrens Harvest Village. Our winter program, with a traditional Kwanzaa celebration, and other festivities, is held in December. During this program at holiday time, the children enjoy making many gifts for their friends and families. The children are assured feelings of confidence and self worth, by experiencing the joy of giving as well as receiving.
Kids to the Country Goals
- Give each child the opportunity to discover the peace and healing of the natural world.
- Create a positive and memorable childhood experience for children at risk.
- Challenge the children to cooperate with others and take responsibility for themselves.
- Deal constructively with anger.
- Build and maintain lasting friendships.
- Make it especially fun for all.
Plenty International is a Tennessee based, not-for-profit charitable organization founded by The Farm early in 1974 for relief work and development. Kids To The Country originally began in 1978 in the South Bronx in New York where Plenty operated a free ambulance service. Neighborhood children were regularly invited to a Farm in upstate NY and received great benefit. When the Bronx Center accomplished the goals of the ambulance project, Kids To The Country was reestablished in Tennessee. The intention of Plenty has always been to increase local self-sufficiency and improve the quality of life among people, focusing on indigenous communities, children, and vigorous protection of the environment.
The program does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, gender, or physical ability.
Kids To The Country is held on 1750 acres of woodlands, meadows, creeks and hills belonging to The Farm Community in Lewis County, seventy-five miles south of Nashville near Summertown. Founded in 1971, The Farm is a nonsectarian intentional community which is currently home to two hundred members with its own accredited alternative school, an international Ecovillage Training Center with emphasis on sustainable living, several cottage industries, as well as Plenty Internationals headquarters. Since one of the primary values in KTCs philosophy is a respect for the environment, an important part of the program is learning about the incredible diversity of plant and animal life that abounds in this beautiful location. The biological uniqueness of the area has long been noted by the Tennessee Natural Heritage Program.
See the Plenty Bulletins for additional
articles on KTC.
For further information about Kids To The Country please email us, or write to
KTC, 425 Farm Road, Suite 3
Summertown, TN 38483
All donations to KTC are tax-deductible.
We thank you very much.
We wish to thank Community Shares for their continued support for Kids To The Country!