Helping Local Kids CREATE!
By Jennifer Bacchus
News Staff Writer
Reprinted here in its entirety.
|From left, Cameron Horton, Courtney Horton, and
Ayeala Jackson show their winning photos. Photo special to the News.
When nine-year-old Cameron Horton was given a disposable camera for the recent
photo competition at Glenwood Meadows Boys and Girls Club, he had never taken a
photograph in his life.
Cameron’s photo of fog on a field won first prize.
“He said he’d never taken pictures before and he didn’t think his were that
good, but he has a natural eye,” said Renee Morrison of the JSU Field Schools.
An eye for photography must run in the family because older brother Courtney
earned second prize with his photo of his neighbor, Seth Collins, holding a dog.
“I wanted to take all the pictures I could,” he said.
Another nine-year-old, Ayeala Jackson took home the third place prize with
her photo of a tree near the house where she used to live.
“Last year we used to pick the petals off it and give them to our mothers and
our teachers,” she said.
The photo contest began at the beginning of April and the children were given
three days to take pictures of their environment – of things they found to be
beautiful or inspirational.
Their printed pictures were then judged by visitors at the recent Mountain
Longleaf Festival where the children from Glenwood Meadows ran 10 booths
teaching other children about nature.
|“Foggy Field” First Place: Cameron Horton
|"My Friend” Second Place: Courtney Horton
|"Love Tree” Third Place: Ayeala Jackson
“They taught them how to make animal track rubbings and how to make snakes out
of paper plates and things like that, just different environmental arts
experiences. So these kids were actually the teachers at the festival,” said
The festival, photo contest and many other activities the children have
participated in over the last five months are part of Children’s Regional
Environmental Arts Traveling Experience. CREATE! is an arts and nature program
run in conjunction with the Jacksonville State University Field Schools and
funded by Legacy, Inc., a partner of the Alabama Department of Environmental
“JSU Field Schools have worked with what we consider inner-city kids for
about the past four years and we’ve won national awards for that, but we’ve
always worked with Hobson City,” said Morrison. “So we called Shonika and she
said yes, that she would love to have us come in and do arts programs with the
kids and environmental programs – it’s kind of arts and nature.”
Shonika McKinney, who runs the club in Glenwood is thankful for the help she
has received from Morrison and Rich Hulsey, an outdoor recreation major at JSU,
who work with the children on CREATE! projects.
“I’ve noticed a lot of them, now their grades are actually getting better in
school and it’s like ‘Oh, I learned about this at the club,’” said McKinney.
“They love it. They learn everything about it.”
They have several projects planned for the summer and McKinney is working on
recruiting more kids in the area to join in the fun. Any child between the ages
of six and 18 can join the Boys and Girls Club. They don’t even have to live in
Jacksonville. According to McKinney, her club is actually closer to Weaver than
the clubs in Anniston, so she hopes to attract more children from that area as
well as children of JSU’s faculty and staff.
The group has fun in an educational way. Each activity Hulsey, Morrison,
McKinney or the staff lead the children through is designed to teach them a
skill or give them knowledge they will use in school and later in life.
“I’m an outgoing person, so anything that’s out and about I want to do,” said
McKinney of the trips she is planning for the children this summer, including
swimming, fishing and going to the movies.
Membership in the club is $10 each year and the program costs $25 per week.
For more information, call 435-7762 or drop by their location off Gardner
About Jennifer Bachus
Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville
News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com
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