Illinois Beekeeper Uses Complexity of Honey Bee Colonies to Mentor Young Men
Thursday, April 10, 2014
I work at Salem4youth, a residential facility in rural, Central Illinois. Salem4youth works with young men who are struggling with issues, such as anger, rebellion, defiance, truancy and some substance abuse. The young men range in age from 13 to 17 years old. As a way to further encourage the young men, we developed an apiary. The apiary is a relatively new program, but is one that has been embraced by several of our youth. I think a part of their involvement is based on curiosity, which is a good motivator, when it comes to education.
Receiving the Bee Care Community Leadership Award in 2013 was a blessing, on so many levels.
- The recognition we received both locally and nationally was a great encouragement for our fledgling bee program.
- Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with several accomplished scientists and beekeepers, which has only served to enhance our program. In particular, I was able to meet others interested in the program at Salem4youth while attending Bayer’s Bee Care Tour stop at Purdue University, in March.
- The award has provided our program with a grant toward the work we are doing with our apiary.
I think this award recognizes and encourages innovation. To me, the award reflects the thought that "You can make a difference." In my case, I trust that exposing our teenage men to the amazing life of a bee hive and the importance of bees to our food supply will help them be better environmental citizens as they reach adulthood. They also enjoy seeing how honey is made and feel a sense of accomplishment when they can spread some of that honey on a hot biscuit!
If you are a beekeeper who has used honey bee hives to empower your community, I encourage you to apply for the 2nd annual Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award.