Participants of the Aberdeen Park and Recreation Department’s summer program are pictured at a ranch outside of Columbus, which was one of the several places they toured.

ABERDEEN – Thirty-eight participants from ages 6 to 14 came out of the Aberdeen Park and Recreation Department’s summer program with an understanding of gardening and cooking, among several lessons. A bigger picture lesson, though, was what their own hometown has to offer.

Through the five-week program, participants were regulars of Evans Memorial Library’s summer reading program and visitors at Blue Bluff, TVG Body Shop, Ambrose Gardner’s skating rink and Ken Elliot and Joe Gillis’ ranch near Columbus.

“We want to expand their horizons and let them know there’s more than just basketball,” said park and rec. director Michelle Stewart. “Going out to Blue Bluff, you have the sand and the pavilion, and it’s letting them know there are things in our city they can enjoy. After it’s over, they can say, ‘Mom, Dad, let’s go here,’ instead of having to go to another town.”

Through the program, participants made chicken Alfredo, strawberry cheesecake and Rice Krispie treats from Heather Stewart; how to plant tomatoes, flowers, peas and peppers from Monroe County 4-H Agent Kayla Dowden; and how to stitch and embroider from the Rev. Mary Hutson from First United Methodist Church.

At the ranch, they rode and fed horses, and Farm Bureau representatives showed them how to make butter. At the body shop, Tony Grear showed them how to change a tire.

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