Connecting youth and nature as a space for them to build resilience and confidence to make a difference in the world. The future of the FSL FARM is to preserve the opportunity for education as we provide hands-on alternative education that disrupts the hyperconnected society.
The FSL has the foresight to acquire and set aside 350 acres of land as a farmstead in North Lyon County in the Flint Hills of Kansas. This Farmstead would be a strong opportunity for youth, families and communities to thrive and come together to support one another. This community effort would create the opportunity for us to give back to our youth as a legacy passed on to nurture and grow for our children and our children’s, children. If you believe in the power of youth, the strength of education, the relationships of community, the experience of the outdoors, the energy of engagement, the life skills of social emotional learning and the quality of healthy minds, then enhancing and building the FSL Farm through the Our Future Is Calling campaign deserves your support.
Beyond the Classroom
With FSL’s Farm, we provide schools the opportunity to engage, explore and investigate the wilderness, take a hands-on research approach to science, practice collaboration and problem-solving in an organic environment, and bring the classroom outdoors.
Our partnership with VIBE creates opportunity for our predictive technology products to be used outside the classroom alongside our interactive curriculum to strengthen experience-based education. VIBE's products integrate with STEM, service learning, charity work, technical education, mental health, social emotional learning and more. Our predictive technology applies positive school culture, trauma-sensitive & wellness, leadership, relationship building, and social-emotional learning practices.
With the increased conversation on meeting the high-demand, high-wage needs in Kansas, Future Service Leaders provides a platform for students and schools to partner in work-based learning opportunities. Just imagine having your construction, welding, business, agriculture and STEM students be immersed in real-life engaging, hands-on projects based around service learning. The Farm offers multiple opportunities for school educators and students to personalize learning in career interest areas.
We Are On Our Way to Our Goal!
The FSL is pleased to report that we are currently applying for funding opportunities to meet our goal to begin to fund the FSL Farm as a unique opportunity to support youth in Kansas. We encourage everyone to support this wonderful project. We are doing our part to continue to enhance this awesome opportunity for the entire Lyon and Osage Counties and surrounding schools. The organization anticipates the capital campaign continuing through 2019- 2020, and the construction slated for 2020- 2021.
The FSL Organization has an $8 million goal to fund the FSL Farm, which will follow a three-phase construction process that will represent the path to our success. The FSL is very proud of our exciting campaign to expand and enhance this awesome public-private effort to create enjoyment and enhance education for our future generations. The FSL is very proud of this exciting campaign that creates a major cultural amenity for all the citizens of the rural areas of Kansas. “The FSL can offer our youth of rural America an opportunity equal to, if not better than other existing experiences,” says Melissa Powelson, CEO of VIBE. We encourage everyone to support this wonderful project.
The Future: Phase 1 of the Plan
For more than a year, The FSL Organization has been preparing for this campaign. Along with a clear vision and our Partnership with VIBE, this would make the Our Future Is Calling campaign most successful. At this current time, we are acquiring funding to begin the project.
- Purchase the property of interest
- Contract the architect of Interest
- Renovation on our two centers
- Renovation on outdoor facilities, and science playground on premises
- Expanded parking for 200+ vehicles
- Outdoor spaces (entry gardens, greenhouses, hiking trails, bridge crossings, renovation on three current buildings, outdoor science center, a new pond, and event areas
- The first phase of the Let Live Animal Rescue Sanctuary
- Staffing and volunteer support
- Connecting pathways to outdoor education centers
Altogether, the plan will improve over 350 acres. The youth center concept provides panoramic views of the Flint Hills and a solitude of peace. The location is easy access for any school that will be attending. The value to the students in the local areas will be free of cost to students and teachers who want to use the facility for education purposes.
Education - To enhance youth knowledge of social-emotional learning, service learning, experience-based education, and more. Success of the Our Future Is Calling campaign will ensure that all facilities and programs significantly expand educational opportunities for all ages. With internal and external nature classrooms designed for a unique, hands-on experience and the outdoor Education Center, The FSL FARM will be positioned to partner with other educational institutions to increase the scope and the depth of its programming for children, adults and community.
STEM - Across the country, STEM is very important to education. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students for specific disciplines such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, all of which will be hands-on within our learning environment at The Farm. Imagine a playground with interesting interactive things that stimulate kids to explore, play and learn, and now imagine that in real life scenarios. You got it! We are taking the experience to a whole new level.
Social Emotional Learning – Using outdoor learning to augment social-emotional learning is huge. Evidence suggests that outdoor learning can enhance capabilities for empathy, and caring can be seen most readily in the outdoors even when youth have a hard time being gentle with their peers. Nature nurtures and takes us away from the hyperconnected society that we are in most frequently. This gives youth the ability to still their minds, and focus on nature while learning and strengthening life skills to create dynamic and responsive results.
Mental Health – The effects of outdoor education intervention on school children is amazing. Outdoor education is an environment-focused educational approach that creates an action-centered learning process. Studies show that the natural environment has a profound effect on the well-being particularly in children due to their plasticity or vulnerability. The FSL is now able to offer something beyond the classroom that enables youth to learn coping skills, mindfulness skills and other means to strengthen and support our mental health. (E. Gustafsson)
In the spring of 2018, the FSL knew they wanted to integrate the FSL Farm into the VIBE package, but it took us a bit to get here. In 2019, after a board discussion, we decided to develop a retreat as a tool of support for youth all over Kansas. Our incredible team has worked hard to fight to make this campaign happen as we bring you the updated exciting news. Join us in enabling schools to reap the benefits for their students, teachers and communities.
Nature That Nurtures
The 350-acre plus Farmstead is an educational, recreational and cultural resource for the Lyon and Osage County Regions and beyond. We are excited to see our paths cross through the Our Future is Calling campaign, to make a difference in our community together.