Thursday, April 30, 2009

Young Scientists Discover Fernbank Museum’s Summer Camp

Fernbank Museum of Natural History offers a world of adventure and discovery to young explorers during Summer Camp 2009. One week-sessions of day camps are offered throughout June and July.

Campers will transform into ecologists, paleontologists, geologists, marine biologists, entomologists and more. Highly trained staff and a low counselor-to-camper ratio ensure each child a unique and fun-filled week of learning, exploration, activities, crafts and games. Three age-appropriate camps are offered: Junior Naturalists for children entering Kindergarten and 1st grade; Discovery Team for rising 2nd and 3rd graders and Science Squad for rising 4th and 5th graders.

Camps are tailored to each age group and are rooted in academic programs. Campers have the opportunity to be different types of scientists each day with projects ranging from studying nocturnal animals to experiments with dry ice.

“The themed day structure is super,” said Deirdre Lavieri, whose sons have attended Fernbank’s Summer Camps for several years. “Each day the activities are focused on one area of study, so no two days are alike, and every activity is part of a big idea for the day.”

Camp will also include a tour of the Museum, exploring the Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries exhibit and viewing an IMAX® film. Campers will also take a guided hike through Fernbank’s nature trails.

From microscopic organisms to the world’s largest dinosaurs, summer camp at Fernbank Museum of Natural History offers a variety of educational activities to inspire young scientists.

Camp Dates:
Junior Naturalists (children entering K & 1st grade): June 8-12 and July 6-10

Discovery Team (children entering 2nd & 3rd grade) June 15-19 and July 13-17

Science Squad (children entering 4th & 5th grade) June 22-26 and July 20-24.

Members pay $300/week and non-members $350/week. Camps run Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To download a registration form, visit or call 404.929.6379 for more information. The deadline for registration is May 18. Registration is on a space-available basis.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road, NE, just east of midtown Atlanta. To learn more, visit
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alexandria LaFaye’s Newest Novel Explores Challenges of Growing Up

...and Helps Area Youngsters Do Same at KidsPeace

In Alexandria LaFaye’s new novel, Water Steps, a young girl learns to overcome a traumatic childhood experience and eventually finds a new, safe, healthy and happy world filled with love. How perfectly fitting, then, that a portion of the proceeds from her latest creation should go to help children being helped to overcome traumas and crises at the local charity KidsPeace.

Ms. LaFaye, an award-winning writer of children’s books, chose KidsPeace because of its 126-year history of helping young people make their way through the many challenges and dangers of growing up.

“Your commitment to helping children is wonderful,” says LaFaye. “I am so glad that I chose KidsPeace as a charitable match for Water Steps. Yours is a story more people should know about.”

Like a child’s view of the world, the story is both realistic and fantastic, and creates a vivid and insightful story about a teenage girl, Kyna, and the importance of family ties and personal strength.

When Kyna’s parents announce that they have rented a summerhouse on Lake Champlain, Kyna’s heart fills with dread. As a child who witnessed the death of her family during a storm at sea, Kyna has a fear of water, which no amount of prodding from her adoptive, water-loving parents can alleviate. After arriving at the house, Kyna finds that the only other kid her age is Tylo, a boy neighbor obsessed with proving that silkies, animals similar to those in Loch Ness, inhabit the lake. To prove to Tylo that the silkies are merely a legend, Kyna must face her paralyzing fear of water in ways she never could have anticipated.

Water Steps masterfully combines elements of folklore and fantasy with a contemporary, realistic depiction of one girl’s struggle to overcome her fears and traumas of the past. Engaging and imaginative, Water Steps is a story for young readers who like adventures and surprise endings.

“The book is a delight and beautifully captures the pleasures, pain, and occasionally, terrors of childhood,” says KidsPeace Bowdon Executive Director Scott Merritt. “Alexandria LaFaye deeply understands children and their feelings - something those who work with kids wish was more common. We are honored that Ms. LaFaye, who has done so much to enrich the lives of America’s children, has come to be counted as a friend of the children at KidsPeace. On behalf of all the Kynas and Tylos we help to overcome crises every day, thank you!”

** Copies of Water Steps (Milkweed Editions, $6.95 softcover/$16.95 hardcover) can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Powell’s, or online at . A portion of the proceeds from the softcover printing will go to KidsPeace.

KidsPeace is a 126-year-old children’s crisis charity dedicated to giving hope, help, and healing to children facing crisis. With three centers in Georgia, including a major residential campus in Bowdon, KidsPeace directly helps children with life-saving treatment to overcome the crises of growing up. Supported by VIP leaders, including its national spokesperson Leeza Gibbons and child safety and self-esteem icon RETRO BILL, KidsPeace helps millions each year through prevention and awareness campaigns designed to help America’s kids and parents avoid and overcome the kinds of crises that can strike any child - from disasters and personal traumas to family issues and life crises. KidsPeace was named “The Outstanding Organization” of its kind in the country by the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children and was called “a prototype of what we need for all children everywhere” by the late, nationally renowned child and family expert, Dr. Lee Salk
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Puppets Take Atlanta & Beyond

An International Festival of Magic and Wonder
July 6-31, 2009

This July, Atlantans won’t have to travel across an ocean to experience the work of some of the world’s premier puppet artists! The Center for Puppetry Arts and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau are pleased to join together with over ten other leading arts, cultural, and government organizations to celebrate the international art of puppetry with Puppets Take Atlanta & Beyond. In association with this July’s Puppeteers of America’s National Festival and conference, venues from around Atlanta have invited innovative puppet companies from Canada, France, Spain, and the United States to share their craft with Atlanta audiences. With an exciting array of performances, artists-led workshops, and exhibits planned throughout the month, Puppets Take Atlanta & Beyond will have something for all ages to enjoy.

Opening the family events of the festival is Coad Canada Puppets, one of North America’s leading puppet theatres, with an award-winning theatrical experience that has entertained audiences in nearly twenty countries around the world. Mallory Lewis, daughter of beloved children's entertainer Shari Lewis, will headline the festival alongside her mother’s legendary television star, Lamb Chop. Los Titiriteros de Binéfar, one of Spain’s leading troupes, will present a charming story featuring puppets made from recycled materials that lyrically evoke the sights and sounds of the natural world. Teatro SEA presents a hilarious, bilingual spectacle featuring over 40 life-sized puppets in the style of a Spanish Operetta.

For adult audiences, Puppets Take Atlanta & Beyond offers two of France’s most innovative puppet theatres. Bob Théâtre uses an assortment of objects from light bulbs to coffee grinders in a fantastic, adults-only adaptation of the Dracula legend. Reviving one of the world’s oldest puppet traditions, the young artists of Compagnie La Pendue present what is arguably the best Punch and Judy show – ever.

Other opportunities include an array of workshops for children and adults, a film screening of Shadowlight Productions’ epic Mongolian fantasy In Xanadu, and three exhibits dedicated to the life and work of Jim Henson. There is truly something for everyone.

What makes this festival truly exciting are the partners who have joined together to make it possible. This grand collaborative effort builds on the success of the 2002 festival, which attracted over 25,000 attendees. Joining the Center for Puppetry Arts and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau are Puppeteers of America, Union International de la Marionette (UNIMA), The Arts Council, Inc. (Gainesville), City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, Fulton County Arts Council, Georgia Council for the Arts, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Tourism Foundation, Roswell Cultural Arts Center, Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau, Southern Arts Federation, Southwest Arts Center, and the Woodruff Arts Center.

For more information, please see attached Fact Sheet. Beginning April 20, 2009, information about Puppets Take Atlanta and Beyond can be found at
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sigma Corporation teams with magazine to empower young photographers

/24-7 / -- Sigma Corporation of America (, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider for some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, is partnering with Nature's Best Photography Students online magazine to empower young photographers and provide a forum where they can share their images.

The company, which is preparing to launch the DP2, a pocket-sized camera with the power of a DSLR, is sponsoring the Nature's Best Photography Students Photo Contest, a bi-annual competition to identify some of the world's most talented, emerging photographers. As a sponsor of the contest, Sigma Corporation has provided funding for its management and an array of products to be awarded to its winners.

"As a company that has been around for more than 50 years, we've seen generations of photographers leave their photographic footprint in the industry," said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, general manager of Sigma Corporation of America. "It is imperative that we nurture the work of our future photographers and provide them with the resources they need to grow and learn as young artists. Nature's Best Photography Students is a wonderful publication that does this really well, and we are honored to partner with its founders in these efforts."

Anyone under the age of 21 is welcome to enter the next Nature's Best Photography Students Photo Contest by submitting up to 20 images for consideration between May 15 and Aug. 15 via the online submission form at Participants will be asked to pay a one-time entry fee of $10 and parental permission is required for those entrants under 18 years old. One grand prize winner and a number of honorable mention winners will be awarded in the publication's online edition on Nov.15. Prizes will include sponsor-donated photography equipment and gift certificates, as well as the online publication of the winners' images.

"We began this contest less than a year ago to provide a venue for young photographers to be published," said Gabby Salazar who, at the age of 21, founded and edits the student publication with help from Nature's Best Photography magazine's founders and co-publishers Steve and Deborah Freligh. "I started with photography when I was 10, so I know how hard it can be and how much that validation means. In many cases, these kids' parents are the only ones who have ever told them how wonderful their images are, so this contest is a great way to boost their self esteem and help them pursue their dreams."

Nature's Best Photography Students is a quarterly, online magazine under its flagship publication Nature's Best Photography. The student publication provides a comprehensive blend of creativity, natural history education and new technology, while connecting and inspiring young people worldwide to explore the natural world through the enjoyment of photography, writing and outdoor experiences.

For information about the contest, contact Nature's Best Photography Students at For information about Sigma Corporation, visit

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth Art Workshop for Kid’s 7 to 14 years old with Geologist Jan M. Kerr April 18

Generations Gallery in The Village at Indian Springs announces a special “Earth Art Workshop” on Saturday April 18th at 2 P.M. Participants will learn about Earth’s creative side and explore the world of geodes, agates, and crystals and make a little art of their own. Great Fun!

Jahna (Jan) M. Kerr is a graduate of Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and has worked in the environmental consulting industry. Her expertise is in contaminate identification, assessment, and remediation, due diligence, and regulatory compliance assessments for industrial, residential and commercial properties. Jan also holds an Associate of Fine Art degree from Gordon College, Barnesville GA.

Generations Gallery is located in The Village at Indian Spring, 1825 Hwy 42 South, Flovilla, Georgia 30216 near the entrance to Indian Springs State Park.

Call 770-227-4002 for additional information and to register for Earth Art Workshop or email You don’t want to miss this workshop!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Teasing is Good for Social Development

/PRNewswire / -- Teasing can be a positive experience for children as it teaches them how to show affection and deal with conflict. Teasing requires an understanding of balance and it takes two willing participants for it to be done well, according to new research appearing in Communication Currents, an online publication of the National Communication Association. A form of play in families, teasing can also help strengthen the bonds between employees in the workplace, and help couples express affection in romantic relationships.

"Research shows us that even very young children can recognize that teasing is not always bad; that sometimes it can be a fun way to play with friends and family," said Carol Bishop Mills, one of the authors of the study.

Often considered the twin of bullying, teasing has a positive side, which bullying does not. Bullying is considered a demonstration of aggression and intent to harm, while teasing allows people to present challenges to each other in a more playful way. Teasing requires play, if the victim was not seeing any 'play' in the interaction, then it becomes bullying.

Mills along with Amy Carwile, the second author of the study, have provided a model called a Teasing Totter. This model helps parents and educators look for clues that help identify whether teasing should be encouraged, discouraged, or stopped immediately. For instance, when children are clearly friends who engage in teasing, both parties are laughing and smiling and the comments provide no more than minor irritation, then the teasing can continue. If it is clear that the children dislike each other, or are teasing each other about unacceptable topics, displaying no play clues, then the teasing should be stopped.

"Rather than eliminate all teasing, teachers and parents can help children learn the differences between teases that can foster play and friendship, from the teases that inflict pain and hurt," said Mills.

Mills is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Alabama. Carwile is a student at the University of Alabama. This essay is currently in the April issue of Communication Currents, and originally appears in Communication Education, both are publications of the National Communication Association.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Clayton: TWO Great Summer Art Camps for South Metro Kids!

Be creative with Summer Plans for your children! From June 8 through June 19, Arts Clayton will present two weeks of art packed fun at the 16th annual KALEIDOSCOPE Summer Art Camps and the Summer Art Camp for Young TEENS!

Through art related activities, instruction and special programs, elementary age children from all across the south metro area will enjoy hands-on instruction about art, photography, dance, drama, music and more. KALEIDOSCOPE Summer Art Camp is designed to be an overall Art Experience for children. EVERY child at EVERY experience level will participate in BOTH Visual and Performing Arts during their time at camp. It is Arts Clayton’s goal to encourage children to explore and develop an appreciation for ALL of the Arts and to learn that by working together THROUGH the arts, we bridge all gaps and come together as a community. At the conclusion of Art Camp an exciting Musical Performance AND a Gallery Style Art Exhibit will be presented by the campers for the enjoyment of family, friends, and community!

Campers will also enjoy special visits and exciting daily art related programs including a theatrical performance by Offshoot Productions, Musical Storytelling with Eric Litwin, Dancing with Festival Ballet, and “Phun Stuff” with Mr. Greggy! The Clayton County Fire and Police Departments will pay a visit allowing campers an inside peek the extraordinary safety vehicles they drive and an opportunity to talk to real police and fire officers! Campers will also have an opportunity to participate in the Kaleidoscope Campers Talent Show!

The KALEIDOSCOPE Summer Arts Camp is designed for children entering first through sixth grades next fall, and will be held mornings 8:30 am to 12:15 pm at Swint Elementary located at 500 Highway 138 near historic downtown Jonesboro. The all inclusive cost of the full two-week program is only $170. There are no additional registration or supply fees. Arts Clayton also provides mid-morning snacks for the children each day and a FREE T-shirt for campers.

AFTER CAMP art classes will also be available to registered KALEIDOSCOPE Campers. For an additional $95 (total for both weeks), kids enrolling in AFTER CAMP bring a bag lunch and remain each day until 2:30pm for more art classes. Openings are VERY limited and available on a first come basis.

For MIDDLE SCHOOL students entering the 7th, 8th or 9th grades next fall, Arts Clayton offers the Summer Art Camp for Young TEENS. The program welcomes the return of the ever popular Cartooning and Animation classes as well as Digital Photography, Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Students at all experience levels in all classes are welcome and encouraged to participate. Supplies are included in the tuition price unless noted otherwise.

Young TEEN Camp would not be complete without our Theatre Arts classes for the rising young stars! During the two-week Theatre Camp students will be exposed to elements of stage movement, acting, costuming, improvisation, and audition techniques. Actors will learn not only basic acting skills, but will tap into their own experiences and imagination to perform and communicate. The final production will receive a public performance! To complement the Theatre Camp, Arts Clayton offers additional classes in Back Stage TECH-niques where students learn about costume and set design, stage make-up (blood, warts & scars!) and the Acting-Up / Acting-Out class where students explore topics such as playwriting, narration, and mime.

Summer Art Camp for Young TEENS will be held at Swint Elementary located at 500 Highway 138 near historic downtown Jonesboro from June 8 through June 19. Class times, days and tuitions will vary based on each student’s selections.

More information and camp registration forms are available at the Arts Clayton Gallery, 136 South Main Street in historic downtown Jonesboro, open Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm and on Saturdays from 10am until 4pm. For enrollment forms you may also visit our website at, email us at, or call 770-473-5775 or 5826 to request a registration form by mail or email. Class sizes are limited and registration is on a first come basis.

The Arts Clayton Summer Art Camps are a part of the Clayton County Commissioner’s “Safe Summer Initiative for Children”. Arts Clayton is also a Partner at Large in Education working with the Clayton County Public Schools to ensure the highest caliber of programs and activities are offered.
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Georgia Southern University Offering Variety of Summer Camps for Children to Enjoy

Children looking for something to do this summer will find plenty of fun and educational enrichment opportunities at Georgia Southern University.

More than 30 different science, fine arts and sports camp programs will be offered for kids 4-18 this summer at Georgia Southern. Several are day camps, while others are overnight camps.

Parents can one-stop shop on Georgia Southern’s website to find all the information they need about camps that might interest their children. For more information on registration, dates and fees, visit:

Children can participate in a number of science camps this summer, including laboratory explorations in biology, physics, chemistry, computers, mathematics, geology and eco-friendly wildlife.

Fine arts camps will be offered in visual arts, literary arts and performing arts.

Children who enjoy sports can participate in football, basketball, soccer, baseball and softball camps.

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Summer Archery Camps Aim High, Combine All Things Outdoors

Designed with everything outdoors in mind, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division’s 3-day archery camps aim to educate and engage adventurous youth. Registration is now open for the camps, which are scheduled for June and July at various locations throughout the state, including Buford, Stockbridge, Albany, Hawkinsville, Social Circle and Valdosta.

“Archery camp is going to be three days worth of fun-filled outdoor adventures,” says Jen Pittman, shooting sports program manager with the Wildlife Resources Division. “This is a great opportunity to develop archery skills and to expose children to the exciting outdoor opportunities around them.”

Campers should expect constant activity, from target practice to live wildlife programs and outdoor exploration.

To register, an archery camp registration packet must be completed and turned in along with payment to the Wildlife Resources Division.

Additional details on each camp are available at under “Education,” “2009 Summer Archery Camps.”

For more information or to obtain a camp registration packet, contact Jen Pittman at (770) 918-6416 or .

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Online Program Helps Parents Tackle Childhood Obesity

/PRNewswire/ -- Alere LLC, a leader in personal health support solutions, announced today the introduction of Healthy Kids, a program designed to help parents and caregivers promote healthy habits for children. Launched to employer and health plan clients last week, this groundbreaking program is the first to provide parents with a week-by-week, structured approach to improving family health and reducing risk for childhood obesity.

A Pressing Need

Employers and health plans are increasingly bearing the burden of childhood obesity, which has reached near epidemic levels:

-- The national cost of childhood obesity is estimated at $14 billion
-- 16 percent of America's school children are overweight or obese.
-- Medical treatment for children with obesity averages $3,700 per year.

-- Obese children tend to be overweight as adults further adding to the
nation's healthcare expenditures.

The root causes of the problem are preventable: poor diet and inactivity. This presents a clear opportunity for organizations to move proactively to address the problem for their populations.

"Giving parents tools, information and behavior change strategies to help them improve the health of their children supports Alere's mission of providing personal health support," says Ron Geraty, M.D., CEO of Alere. "By promoting better habits for kids, we can help change lifestyle behaviors for the entire family."

A Personalized Solution

The Healthy Kids program provides parents with clear, easy-to-implement strategies that they can incorporate into their daily lives. Developed with a team of clinicians experienced in working with families to prevent and address obesity, the online program is personalized and includes a range of criteria, such as age, activity level, even frequency of family meals.

From week one, the program provides a "To-do List" of action items for parents. This personalized action list - which identifies the child or children by name - provides specific information about how they can make changes together. Tools and resources include online games and printable worksheets adults can complete with their kids. Younger children participate in fun activities that promote healthier food choices and active living, while older children learn valuable skills that can help them make better choices independently.

A Comprehensive Approach

The Healthy Kids program was developed to reflect Alere's philosophy of behavior change. This means focusing on realistic, sustainable actions that can help reduce risks. The program is offered as part of Alere's suite of wellness solutions, a comprehensive approach to personal health management that focuses on improving health based on the specific needs of each individual.

"Alere's core competency leverages clinical expertise and cutting-edge technology to improve the health of individuals," says Dr. Geraty. "The Healthy Kids program is an exciting new way to help our clients provide families with a path to better health."

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Contest Seeks Pint-Size Role Models

(NAPSI)-When it comes to America's young people, it's anything but the same old story. Children as young as 6 and older are part of a nationwide trend toward doing more for others, helping out in a variety of ways and working to make their neighborhoods and communities into better places.

Honoring Heroes

And through an inspiring new contest, grown-ups can nominate these outstanding kids--Has he or she helped a friend or classmate who is less fortunate? Or shown bravery in a tough situation?--for a chance to win a U.S. Savings Bond and a special delivery of sundae cones.

"Children can accomplish amazing things," says John Harrison, official ice cream taster for the Nestlé Drumstick brand. "We are delighted to recognize their heroic efforts and reward young heroes for making a positive difference in their communities. Entries will be judged on the child's accomplishments, as well as the originality and creativity used to achieve their goals."

Among the accomplishments of previous contest winners are:

• Maintaining a positive attitude and filling other people's days with smiles, despite awaiting a bone marrow transplant as treatment of a rare blood disease;

• Children of military personnel who pull double duty to help keep their households running--and keep their mothers from getting lonely--while their fathers are off on various deployments;

• Raising funds and training for a race to help people in Ethiopia with lifesaving surgeries; and

• Organizing blanket drives for a local orphanage, collecting cans for recycling, donating to the poor and sponsoring Military Appreciation nights with their scout troops.

Entry forms for the Nestlé Drumstick Lil' Drums Lil' Heroes Contest are available at Submit your story (150 to 500 words), along with the completed entry form, describing why the child deserves to be a Nestlé Drumstick Lil' Drums Lil' Hero. Adults over the age of 18 may nominate children between 6 and 13 years of age who are residents of the United States. Official contest rules are available online. All entries must be received by August 15, 2009 to be considered.

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