Children’s Summer Programs at Ancient Oaks Homa Farm

by Maria Broom

Children, children, children, and young people! From the time the Baltimore Homa Community began to envision our Homa farm, we could always see children there playing, singing, dancing, drumming, hiking, bringing their happy, excited energy and blessing us with just their presence. Well, after two and a half years, our Ancient Oaks Homa Farm in Westminster, Maryland was able to welcome almost 300 children and youthful counselors from the heart of Baltimore city… from five different summer programs, on five separate field trips.

Welcome circle Maria
Maria Broom, left, welcomes the Freedom School from William Pinderhughes Elementary/Middle School.
Nature Hike into the woods.
Ryan Couto, center, introduces the students to the farm’s Scottish Highlander cows, Savannah, Aurora and Acorn.
Students and staff meet the farm’s African Grey parrots, Mani and Lamo.
Blessed to receive a generous grant, BHC was able to provide tasty vegetarian lunches for everyone and secure wonderful facilitators who led drum circles, taught Yoga and dance, guided hikes around the farm into the woods and introduced the concept of mindfulness.
Bonnie yoga
Hatha Yoga in the Peace Garden with Bonnie Maltby, co-author of Yoga and Meditation for Children.
Patricia storytelling
Homa fire, storytelling and singing bowls in the backyard with Ancient Oaks resident Patricia Norton.
Maria Homa fire
Quiet time with Miss Maria and Homa fire.
Maria dancing
Students dancing in the community studio with Miss Maria. They all want to come back!
A conversation between Ancient Oaks resident Taylor Logsdon and a visiting child underscores the need for these programs:
“One little girl, about ten years old, asked me, ‘Do you live here?’
‘By yourself?’
‘No, with several other people.’
‘Aren’t you scared?’
‘Of what?’
‘What if someone comes and shoots up the place?’
‘Why would they do that?’
‘It happens all the time.'”
For one day, children who grow up and play in city streets, wary of cars and violence, got to run, to play, explore nature and experience a calming Homa atmosphere. One child said, “Everything here was FUN!”
Blue shirts group
Freedom Schools students and staff chant their ‘hello’ and their ‘goodbye’ in the community studio.
Time to say goodbye and head back into the city–thoroughly refreshed!
One of the counsellors commented that the best behaviour he’d ever seen from his group was when they were on the farm.
The feedback from attending adults assured us that the children were happy and relaxed, and they plan to include us in their regular summer schedules.  We’re grateful. Happy. Always Idam Na Mama. [Idam Na Mama basically means, “Not my will, but Thy Will be done.”]