Permaculture is all about spreading ideas, good ideas mostly.
In my area there is a program where troubled youngsters from urban areas get to live on farms for a long time. They have to work daily on the farms. The idea is this gives them routine and self confidence, a sense of doing something that's appreciated. They are weekly monitored by a team and talked to about how things are going.
After half a year or so the youngsters return home and have learned so much that an incredible i'd say 40% will stay out of trouble.
For most it's jail or the country side, that's why they choose to come.
For the government, it saves a lot of money, because jailing them is expensive and they don't get better in there, they just get better ideas how to be a clever criminal.
For the farmers it's a hand on the farm that's hard to find nowadays and they are paid on top.
For the kids it's a total reset, being away from their peers, feeling appreciated, working physically, seeing what they are working for , getting better personally instead of working to get a diplome in a few years that might get them a job.
For the organizers of the program, they have a job, which is a rare feature in the country side nowadays.
It's a win-win-win-win situation i liked to have shared with the worldwide permaculture community, in the hopes somebody can do something with this idea. I can say a lot more about this program i'm not involved in myself, i just see the kids pass here and there in my wider community, but i won't say a lot more unless people react, cause i got better things to do then type on my computer.
When I was in my early 20s I went on the wilderness program Outward Bound. Many of the participants were teenage delinquents sent on the program by parents or authorities to straighten them out. I observed a dramatic change in all of them in my group. They went from lazy kids who wouldn't get out of their sleeping bags in the morning, to responsible members of a team. It was very impressive. Our "tour of duty" was less than a month, so I don't know how permanent the changes were. I can imagine a longer program would be more effective. Giving troubled kids a routine and goals to accomplish as part of a team effort seems to help a lot.
Aha, yeah these kids are separated, they'll get mouthy otherwise. Now they are there on the farm working with cows, which most have never seen from up close. They're often of immigrant descent, lacking a fatherfigure in their life, just hanging around on the streets in gangs, smoking cannabis and drinking booze and doing cocaine and stuff, break inns and mugging to finance it sometimes. There's no opiod epidemic in Europe. The other kids generally are very impolite, lazy and spoiled, and do drugs etc. I generalize about these things, but the kids tell me this themselves..
Herein the country side they don't get to mouth no one off because they don't speak French, so that already knocks them off their feet, they get bored and are happy to get distracted by work.
Then they see the poverty, the mud and the hard work being done.
Then they cry and moan for a bit and once they decide to go for it they get encouraged and positive response from the farmer, they don't get a lot of positive feedback from men . The staff pushes them to achieve stuff, and being away from all this material distraction of the modern world, they force them to think about what went wrong, they have to send letters home and talk about what they feel.
It's great seeing them get really happy sometimes, driving a tractor and stuff, becoming really excited about going back, what they're going to do and how they're going to change their ways.
Some still end up committing crimes. But then they can still think back about how it was in France i hope and decide to choose a different path.
It's difficult as well, sometimes they steal a car to get away or run away hitch hiking, one stole a tractor of a farmer to go on a 700 miles journey.
I've had one girl in tears when she was ordered to get wood from the shed to keep her own fire going explaining to me it wasn't fair and that back home they had a switch on the wall, that you could just turn. Same girl asked where the McDonalds was, "oh that's easy, down the path, turn right, continue 50 miles..."
She wrote back, she lost a lot of weight and changed her ways, helping a lot more out and feeling more confident.
There is a another program that takes kids from the inner-city and sends them to a farm for a few weeks in the summer. They said that most of the kids become lifelong friends with the farmers from the experience. I signed up, but never heard anything. I am not sure if Maine is too far away from New York City or not; we are a foster home so we have passed every possible background check there is. It would have been nice to show a young child (10 years old) what a farm was like!
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