An educational initiative that will see nine teens from the Elk Valley cooking together over Zoom kicked off last Tuesday (Jan. 18), and is set to run for three consecutive weeks.
The initiative, called “Cook Like a Boss!”, is put on via a collaboration between the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) and Youth Action Networks (YAN) in Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford. Nine teen participants will be engaging in the workshop series, three from each community, said Chrisy Hill, community literacy outreach coordinator with CBAL.
“We wanted to reach out to teens and give them some adulting skills,” she said.
Last year was the first year the workshop series took place, and didn’t yet involve Sparwood and Elkford. Six teens from Fernie partook.
“It was a hit with the teens.”
The first workshop this year was held on Tuesday (Jan 18), and the other two are set for Jan. 25 and Feb. 1.
Each night will see the valley kids hopping onto a Zoom call with CBAL facilitator Laura Vaughan and a YAN coordinator (each session will have a coordinator from a different town) for a lesson in cookery, which Hill says incorporates a few different educational aspects in it.
“Cooking is a great way to practice time management, and math skills, and nutrition. There’s so many things that they can learn just through a cooking series like this,” she said.
Other educational components include kitchen hygiene, utensil basics, recipe reading, and computer literacy, among other things.
A different recipe will be on the docket each night, with the coordinators from each town buying the necessary groceries and delivering them to participants. The kids will then go through the motions of cooking a meal, guided by Vaughan and the YAN coordinator, the latter of whom will also be giving safety tips and interjecting with group building exercises, said Alana Rybar, a coordinator with Fernie YAN who also partook in last year’s workshop series.
Once the meal is all cooked up, the kids will be feeding their families with it, which Hill said would “give them a really good feeling of accomplishment.”
Budgeting is also an important component of the series. The first week was chilli, which is about a 25$ grocery bag to feed each family, according to Hill.
“We wanted to teach them that when they do get out there on their own, when they have their own place or their own apartment, or they’re at school, that they can make their money stretch, they just have got to plan for it and be creative,” Rybar said.
Hill said that part of CBAL’s goals at the moment is to reach out to teens more. They’re trying to do it in a way that meets them where they’re at, she said.
“They don’t want to sit and necessarily do a school-like program. We want them to learn in a way that’s fun and exciting for them, so they want to be there.”