April 9, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
It’s Day #100 of The Kick-Off. Day #100 of 2012. As of today, 100 days have come and gone, each met with something new. Each of these hundred days has brought me a new idea, a new creation, a new project, and each day has been marked by a drop in one of a hundred different buckets. Some campaigns met with more success than others – some got overfunded, some fell short – but each one deserved more than what I gave. Still, I’m proud to have been even a small part of so many wonderful new things. I’ve connected with extraordinary people working to bring life to their remarkable ideas, and though the contributions I’ve made have been small, I hope that the support I’ve given has been met with a fraction of as much joy as I felt while giving them.
Selecting projects is tough. There’s an undeniable pressure to find projects that are wholly unique and groundbreaking, but the truth is that it doesn’t take something world-changing to be deserving of attention, admiration and support. Some projects will without a doubt change the world – they’re constructing immense platforms for creativity and discourse and engaging the whole world in their efforts. Others, though, bring meaning and substance to the lives of a handful of people and ideas, intimately connected to one another, and now through Kickstarter, to those who have pledged to sponsor their journeys. Again, it’s a matter of pride to be counted in these groups – big or small – because they’re all making waves. Today’s project is a small one, but one with a lot of heart, soul and sweet, sticky honey.
The Honey Helpers are a group of elementary students from Pennsylvania who are training in the art and science of the keeping of bees. Bees, as I’m sure you’ve been reminded, are important. They’re also quite mysterious, and are disappearing at an alarming rate. The fact that these kids are interested and involved in beekeeping is not only a hopeful sign for the future of bees as a species, but for the future of human curiosity and problem-solving. They represent the future of beekeeping, and as such, the future of, well, a very significant portion of the ecosystem as we depend on it.
They will work with a local beekeeper and school staff to learn about bee biology, hive design, honeybee foraging habits, and honeybee genetics. Each student will be responsible for the care of their own hive with the help of an adult. As honey production begins, students will participate in the harvesting and bottling of the honey.
I’m honestly a little envious of these kids. I wish that my elementary school had programs like this – involving kids in something fascinating, important and, perhaps most important, fun. Engaging kids in (sticky) hands-on, comprehensive, long-term projects like this one – where they’re involved in every step from planning to profit, and learning something new every day – is how real learning takes place. I think these kids are in for something very special, and the fruits of their labor won’t end with the semester.
So my 100th project is a small one, but one no less deserving of admiration than any I’ve come across before. The Honey Helpers really are a remarkable group and I hope you’ll join me in letting them know that by supporting them on Kickstarter before April 18.