Teen Programs

The farm offers unique work experiences for teens. The summer teen work crew, the year long apprenticeship in agriculture, and the summer leader in training programs teach teens how to work the farm, learn new skills, problem solve, and become leaders.

Teen Work Crew  offers paid mentored work experience to 15 to 20 teens every summer. Participants work a 24-hour work week over four, six-hour days, tackling “big jobs” around the Farm, such as fencing, mowing, or splitting wood. To be selected, applicants–not their parents– must email our teen work crew coodinator before April 1, write a short essay about why they want to work at NCOF and take part in a work try out; it is an honor to be chosen.

Mentoring Teens through Agriculture Apprentice Program provides year-round job training and paid work experience to teens who wish to master the wide range of skills it takes to run a diversified farm. Candidates are selected by farm staff based in participation in other farm programs for their skills and “can do” attitudes. By working closely with farm staff and each other, Apprentices tackle independent projects, building confidence and leadership abilities while forming life-long friendships. Many go on to school and careers in agriculture. For more information, email NCOF executive director, Casey.

Every year the Natick Community Organic Farm accepts a select few into its Leader in Training program.  The LiT position is a volunteer opportunity for individuals aged 14-16 to learn, teach, and lead during the Farm’s summer programs.

LiTs will gain experience working in a dynamic organization during our busiest season, practice working with students in a variety of contexts, learn how to lead activities and respond to barriers to student learning, and be part of farm life.

You will learn from and work alongside our summer staff as we educate kids aged 4 to 10 about farming, food, the environment, and sustainability.  If you would like to explore working with kids, farm work, outdoor education, or teaching, you might be a great fit as a LiT!

To apply, email a letter of interest and the contact information of two references to [email protected]

What our teens say:

“I used power tools to help build a table for the Gnome home. I’m really proud of that–maybe not of the table itself–but of the journey to build the table. I’ve learned how to be a leader here too, and that it’s OK to make mistakes.” – Ava F.

“I’ve learned to think for myself, and to take responsibility. To listen more and to talk less. My favorite moment was Casey teaching me to drive the tractor.“ – Jacob M.

“I’ve gotten to know an awesome group of people here. I like working with others and being part of a team.” – Gabe P.

“I’ve learned farm skills, but I think I’ve learned more life skills, like working with people. When you’re leading people, they don’t always work up to your expectations. You have to be able to account for that.” – Gabe S.

What Their Parents Say

“Initially my teen was unsure…within the week, she was explaining to me the intricacies of building a successful rabbit hutch and asking me if she’d be free enough to sign up for a regular gig during the year. Novel thinking and learning about nature will help her to grow and the farm to deliver.”—Rachael, Parent

“Working physically gives the kids troubleshooting skills that you just don’t learn typing on a computer.”—Christian, Parent

“The program is great because it allows him to be outside, work with others, and feel the accomplishment of getting projects done. It has given him independence with purpose.”—Allison, Parent