The Un-Included Club, which on Nov. 1 launched Phase One of its development of a Community Wellness Center, is continuing to move forward, Doree Collins, executive director, said Saturday.
The innovative after-school program, which in September bought a seven-acre piece of property at 1000 S. Knob St., plans to complete Phase One by March 31. The ribbon-cutting date for the fourth and final phase is April 22, 2022.
Founded in 2009 by Gar-field Hawk, with the basic idea of giving children something good to do in their spare time, the club has grown in scope and purpose.
Somewhat hindered by COVID-19, it has continued to hold a holistic home school and literacy and leadership classes at 11 N. Sixth St. It also has virtual classes. Members continue to work on the club garden at the Blackland Research and Extension Center.
The club already is making use of the existing building on the new property, called the Micro Green House. Members raise chickens and grow micro greens, learning about agriculture and providing the club with income from sales of micro greens to restaurants and individuals.
Collins said the children in the club are interested in the long-range plan for the development of the property into the Community Wellness Center and have come up with a few ideas of their own.
“But also I really think they just like that it’s their place,” she said. “They know it’s a place they can go and hang out on Saturday evening.”
Because there is a lot of outdoor space, the members can socially distance and interact with their peers in a safe way, she said.
“They’ll play games outside,” she said. “They’ll do a little campfire and make s’mores. We’ve even read stories around the campfire to go with our literacy program. It’s just provided a space and experience for them. And it’s really good that it’s right there in the community so they can easily get to it.”
Terris Goodwin, the club’s programs director, said that in the club’s infancy, Hawk started these kinds of activities in his driveway and front yard.
“This is a great, great increase to the front yard,” Goodwin said. “We introduce kids to the eight dimensions of wellness that they can bring to their lives.”
She gave the updated mission statement: “We are unincluded from habits and lifestyles that lead to unwellness in ourselves, our family and our community.”
The eight dimensions of wellness are emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational and social, she said.
“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life,” she said. “It is more than being free from illness. It is a dynamic process of change and growth.”
Under Phase One of the project, work has begun on a Prayer Trail/Natural Grove Border along the east side of the property. The First Baptist Church of Temple and the occupational therapy department of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor are partnering with the club on this. Goodwin said the purpose of the trail is that people would take time to appreciate the beauty of nature, and come away restored and renewed.
A proposed orchard will include fruit trees, which will contribute to physical wellness, she said. These will include peaches, plums, pomegranates, pears and apples.
There also will be a fishing pond, hopefully to be finished in December, fed via a windmill. For building the pond, the club is seeking to obtain a Kubota tractor, for which they’ve only raised about $1,500 so far, Collins said.
There also will be a Wildflower Grove, for pollination and beauty. Its projected goal date is the spring of 2021.
There will be an Urban-Ag Growing Space, as a means to grow produce in large quantities, she said. The plan is for produce to be sold and used in the club’s healthy cooking exercises.
For each of these projects in Phase One, Collins said, the club wants a trio of partners. That would include a business partner, a nonprofit partner and an educational institution partner.