EMPORIUM — Walt Disney once said, “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”
Using this ideal as motivating inspiration, members of the Cameron County Project (CCP), over the past several months, have felt a strong obligation to reach the voices and opinions of the younger generation as part of the CCP’s Resident-Driven Visioning Study. The views of children and teenagers are oftentimes overlooked and sometimes hard to discover.
However, the CCP has explained that in order to build a more prosperous Cameron County now and for years to come, the hopes, concerns, and calls to action of our younger residents should be taken into consideration.
The CCP and Carrie Copp’s senior communications class have joined forces, through the efforts of Amy Goode of the Community Education Center of Elk and Cameron Counties, to reach students at Cameron County schools.
When asked why she thought it was important to consider the views of younger Cameron County residents to find solutions to help their county prosper, Goode stated, “It is important for the youth to have pride and respect in their community in order to keep them there. Providing opportunities for them to express their voice is an important piece to providing them with a connection within their community and to promote that pride.”
In Copp’s class, her students have initiated mini-community heart and soul studies by identifying the multiple “voices” among their peers and fellow students at Cameron County Jr./Sr. High School. These “voices” include, but are not limited to, band members, shop students, environmental/outdoor enthusiasts, athletes, honor students, students in the workforce, and “uninvolved students” (kids who are not involved in any school activities).
After discerning these various voices, Copp’s students began the process of conducting one-on-one interviews with other students by recording them via videotape. Also, Copp’s class is going to be broadening their study by interviewing teachers at CCHS. Furthermore, her students have written blog posts answering the CCP’s Heart & Soul question survey.Additionally, members of the CCP have been able to gather data by working with the creative and imaginative children of Woodland Elementary School. This was made possible by working with the Cameron County Family Center. During their After School Express programs, both 3rd and 4th graders were encouraged to draw/create My Cameron County brochures about their favorite places in Cameron County. Along with the 3rd and 4th graders, the CCP received the opportunity to work with the kindergartners. Their students, using crayons, paper bags, and construction paper, built their own towns with their favorite places in Cameron County.