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How to Roast a Marshmallow

Some of my favorite memories growing up involve friends and families around a campfire. We would tell stories, listen to music, make s'mores, play games, all the good stuff. My family even made up a word for when your s'more gets smeared all over your face as you eat it: "schmetiquette" (the words "s'more" and "etiquette" mashed together).

Living in the city, I don't always get the chance to share this past time with the youth. But when the occasion arises, I love sharing these memories and traditions with the youth.

There's really nothing like experiencing the joy of roasting your first marshmallow no matter how old you are. Whether you are a first grader or a teenager, there's something special about standing around the fire with a weird, puffy, sweet, white blob on the end of a stick. I love teaching the technique for the golden delicious marshmallow, my preferred style, or how to blow out the fire on a burning mallow and peel off the black part to get to the gooey inside.

Watching someone's face light up as they bite into their first s'more is one of the many rewards of the job. Another is creating new campfire memories.

Now, I have memories of standing around a campfire with youth listening to their music as they teach us Ethiopian dances and share stories about their families. I love the moments when we feel safe enough to be vulnerable with those around us. Watching a sunset, looking at the stars, gazing into the fire...these are all special moments that can't be programmed but are powerful all on their own.

In YP we are focused on work readiness skills, making and meeting goals, and becoming people of character. But sometimes, we just need to learn to enjoy the little things like making s'mores and spending time together around a fire.