For some teens, summer means sleeping in, summer jobs and swimming pools. For the Lucky Charmers, a volunteer group of teens in grades 8-12, that means chicken coops, day camps and lots of patience.

The Lucky Charmers are a group spun off from the Charm Farm, an animal shelter farm in Box Elder focused on educating and rescuing animals. The Charm Farm, founded by Tamara Lile, was an accident, she said, as were the Lucky Charmers.

When Lile and her family first moved to their farmhouse in Box Elder in 2016, she told her children “nothing is worthless”. A few goats, a few chickens, maybe a horse or a pig. Before she knew it, she was taking in an abused horse here, a goat there — and she had nearly 200 animals.

She decided to open the farm to the public in 2018, the same year the Lucky Charmers officially emerged. The farm is a collection of animals, day camps, galas, pet therapy, animal rescue, classes, and even products.

Maintaining a non-profit operation like the Charm Farm requires the help of the Lucky Charmers. The accidental volunteer group started with a group of kids who were already helping out anyway, Lile’s kids.

People also read…

In addition to regular chores on the farm, they helped out at farm day camps.

“I make them do that, to learn values ​​and work ethics, and all that,” Lile said.

Her kids started asking if any friends could join. No joke, Lile told them that if their friends were coming, they should take it seriously and work.

They came, and they “shook,” she said.

Her children’s friends joined them as camp counselors for the day camps, demonstrating what Lile described as an impressive knowledge of limits and child development. They were patient with the kids, found creative ways to keep them engaged, and brought in the energy that Lile didn’t have; all as volunteers.

Word got around, and more and more kids “started pouring in,” Lile said.

“I woke up and there were like 20 teenagers in my room,” she said.

They made it official with a name voted on by the band. Their responsibilities shifted from on-farm chores and day camp counseling to off-farm events, like Christmas carols on a trailer full of goats and hay. They’ve picked up trash, delivered animals for pet therapy, hosted farm events, hosted farm tours, taught kids how to properly feed animals, and helped raise funds – and the list keeps growing. .

Volunteers have a group chat where they brainstorm ideas and think about what they can do next.

They also learn life skills, Lile said. Not just farming skills, but tasks like setting up tents and setting up groups.

“It’s also a learning experience,” she says.

The Lucky Charmers are in their second generation, as the original Charmers have mostly grown and evolved. Lile said she was in a revamping phase, as she tried to bring in some new faces.

Ava Jones, 13, is part of the new generation. She was looking for volunteer work when her grandmother came across the Charmers. Jones thought of college, but also brought a love and knowledge of animals from his own time on a farm.

Other than age, the only requirement is to agree to a code of conduct and commit to at least one day camp each summer. Otherwise, they help wherever opportunities arise and dive into hands-on learning.

The time commitment is theirs. Jones, in her second year, will be on the farm five days a week during day camps.

Alissa Wieman, 19, has been a Charmeuse for three years. Her first foray into the band was the Farm Goat Gala, “a rite of passage,” Lile said, and a “busy and stressful” event to welcome her into the fold.

Studying at university to become a teacher, Wieman found valuable parallels between her work with the Lucky Charmers and her studies in education.

“Something like that I needed for what I want to do in the future, working with children,” she said.

She also said she learned responsibility, taking care of both animals and around 20 children at a time.

While the work on the farm is exhausting, they’re paid in hugs and appreciation from the kids, “and it really makes you feel good,” Wieman said.

Jaden Ebel, 11, loves to spoil baby animals. It’s the one who whispers in the baby’s ear – the ideal duvet when a baby animal cries. She lives in town and is on the farm every day she can spare.

Amelia Holyrock, 14, has been coming to Charm Farm events since they started. When she was old enough to join the Charmers, she jumped at the chance. She loves feeding animals and catching hens hitchhiking on the backs of pigs or goats.

Miles Mitchell, 18, is Lile’s son and her latest Lucky Charmer. He’s been there from the start, and a bit of an unofficial leader.

“I’m a mini-she,” he said, pointing to his mother.

His leadership role was a natural transition, never anything official, Lile said. Mitchell just stepped in and intervened. He’ll be heading to college next year to study psychology, confident he’s learning skills he’ll use beyond the farm.

All Charmers lend their forces. Mitchell is good at initiative and planning. Wieman has a gift for nurturing.

“They all bring a good balance,” Lile said. “I love sitting and watching them and all of their techniques.”

Keep an eye out for Lucky Charmers. If they haven’t helped you yet, they’d probably like to know how they can.

Those interested in joining the Lucky Charmers or for more information can contact the Charm Farm at 605-430-8265 or [email protected]

–Contact Laura Heckmann at [email protected]

You must be logged in to react.
Click on any reaction to connect.