Nurturing narratives in an intergenerational garden
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This study constituted a phenomenological inquiry into a group of older adult volunteers who were involved in guiding and interpretive work with groups of children in Linking Intergenerational Friends of the Environment (LIFE), an intergenerational gardening program at Assiniboine Park near Winnipeg, Manitoba. Through interviews and a subsequent focus group, the research explored the volunteers' narratives about working with the children and the volunteers' perceptions of the differences between their recollected childhood experiences and the modern childhood experiences. The research also sought to discover whether the program enhanced the lives of the volunteers through expanded social connections. The study results indicated that the older adults greatly valued their early childhood experiences in nature and their contact with children in the life program in the out of doors. They reported that being LIFE volunteers expanded their social contacts and enhanced their sense of belonging by becoming participating members of a community.