In the three years she served as executive director at the Youth Garden Project, Kaitlin Thomas helped facilitate relationships between the numerous volunteers, service groups, schools, residents, students, and gardeners in Moab who visited YGP. Thomas’s last day as executive director was November 17—she’s moving to western Massachusetts to be closer to family, and Thomas will work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“I have enjoyed a million things about working at YGP,” Thomas said. “One of my favorite parts has been seeing Grand County youth grow up through the YGP lens. Some of the first summer campers I worked with as an instructor are now in YGP high school programs or have since graduated. It has been amusing to see them reconnect with the garden, and see who they have become as young adults.”
The Youth Garden Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “cultivate healthy children, families, and community through educational programs and connecting people with food from seed to table,” according to their website. They host school programs and volunteer events to connect people with the garden.
Thomas’s first role at YGP was in 2010 on an AmeriCorps term—she worked in youth programming. She served as the Youth Programs Director in 2015, then returned in 2018 as the Executive Director.
“Under Thomas’s leadership, the Youth Garden Project found new and expanded ways to achieve its mission of growing food, kids, and community,” said a press release.
In her role, Thomas developed the Seed Crew program in 2019, during which local teens engaged in “farm work, outdoor education, community service, and leadership for 30 hours per week through summer break,” according to the press release. She also facilitated the Care Share program, which organized weekly donations from YGP to local nonprofits that offered food pantry services—the aim is to donate 25-30% of the harvest.
Thomas also founded the annual Harvest Festival, added new staff positions, and expanded the garden-to-school relationships through the Harvest of the Month program.
“Thomas’s impact at the garden will be felt for years to come, through the partnerships she cultivated, the safe and educational environment she nurtured for students and staff alike, and the new opportunities she pursued for people of all ages to learn and grow at the garden,” the press release said.
Emily Roberuson, who currently works as the outreach and development coordinator, will be taking over as executive director.
YGP is hosting a goodbye/thank you party for Thomas on Friday, November 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the garden (530 S. 400 East). Everyone is welcome to attend, and refreshments will be served.
What: Goodbye and thank you party
When: Friday, November 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Youth Garden Project (530 S 400 East, Moab)