Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23
Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.
On a brisk and gray November day, families from Charlotte came with their kids to “Aw Shucks Farm” to enjoy a bonfire, relish some homemade food, and perambulate the corn maze.
This year, the Living Education program opted to host this autumn-themed event to provide a fun activity for local families with children, and the students were there to serve in whatever ways necessary.
It’d been a long time since I’d been to a corn maze, so when Mr. McNair mentioned the activity, I was all ears (yes, there will be a lot of corn puns). I’ll freely admit that I woke up that Sunday morning more excited for this childrens’ event than a grown man really should be. The activities didn’t start until 2:30 pm, but I arose to find the Living Ed dorms already bustling. Ellie (the women’s RA) was getting all the food together for the event. Rachel Price and Rachel White (whom we affectionately call “the Rachels” when they work together) were preparing snacks and drinks apropos of autumn.
At about 1 pm, we loaded all the food and supplies into my car; there was so much that my minivan was completely full except for the front seats. Nathan (the men’s RA) loaded his car up with students, the leftover students went with Rachel White, and we all set off for the corn maze-containing farm (there was also a point in this morning when I crawled through the crawl space examining the gas lines for corrosion, which I found. But that is irrelevant).
The farm had so much more than just a corn maze, and the corn maze itself, as Mr. McNair so eloquently stated, “had more exits than actual corn.” Yet the animal barns, the wagon rides, the fishing pond, and just the Church members there made the whole event so much fun, and the families found plenty to keep them busy for three or more hours.
To prevent anyone from getting lost in the vast Corn Maze, the Living Ed students divided the attendees into groups and ventured in as well. This, perhaps, was overkill, as the maze resembled more of a crop circle in many places, but it was a fantastic experience by all accounts.
At 3:30, we started serving the food. The barbecue boasted many options: chili, hotdogs, hotdogs with chili, chili with bits of hotdog, and whatever combination thereof you can imagine. The Rachels also supplied apple slices with caramel, chocolate, and peanut butter toppings (I’ll let you calculate the permutations of those items). All 80 people were fed, found a nice warm seat, and fellowshipped by the bonfire pit.
The gray November sky finally betrayed us around 5:30 and began to drizzle. This was almost precisely when the event was to end, but no one wanted to leave yet. I suppose that even great events have to end at some point.
But It Wasn’t Over Quite Yet
The drizzle had begun and all the students meandered to the parking lot. Then, there was a stark announcement: We had a half-hour until the farm closed, and we could stay until then if we wanted. The Rachels had been serving food the whole time and had not been able to go through the corn maze. I had not been able to go see the goats in the animal barn. Many of the students had not had the chance to mercilessly barrage one another with the chicken slingshots. So, when we heard this, we literally ran back into the farm, and we relished those last thirty minutes to the maximum of our physical ability.
Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects.