WHITE SPRINGS — Parents were the guests of honor as STEM in the Park campers received their Jr. Ranger credentials in a ceremony earlier this month.

The graduation ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance delivered by youth campers in loud and strong voices. Back by popular demand were Ranger Brownie and Ellen Attwood, who delivered a jazzy folk rendition of the state song, Old Folks at Home. Ranger Brownie and Ms. Attwood got the audience involved through a combination of singing, foot stomping and clapping to the beat.

Project HOPE’s Helen Miller provided a welcome to the parents and family members, and words of appreciation to Park Manager Manny Perez and the entire contingent of park rangers who participated in the STEM in the Park summer program for youth from throughout the tri-county region.

Dr. Miller introduced Park Ranger Kim Rivers, who coordinated the June–July schedule of activities for the STEM program’s Jr. Rangers. Ranger Kim’s assignment included developing fun learning activities, consistent with Jr. Ranger program requirements, for the 10 a.m. to noon time slot each day Monday through Friday, for each week of the program.

Ranger Kim was joined by Manager Perez, and Rangers Brownie Akers, Kevin Pittman, Flozell Redic and Pete Shanks, to award the Junior Ranger certificates of completion, pins and patches, to the STEM campers and the program’s teenage interns. Thirty youth received certificates, and four STEM campers were congratulated for completing their fourth year in the Jr. Ranger Program.

Ranger Brownie and Ms. Attwood were called back to conclude the ceremony on a musical note. Afterwards, STEM director Mrs. Flournoy and assistant director Ms. Glover invited all to join campers and staff in the graduation after-glow with home-made brownies and memory book photographs.

The STEM in the Park summer camp is a public-private partnership organized by The Project HOPE, Inc., in collaboration with the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, Hamilton County School District / Food Services, and the University of Florida 4-H / FCS, IFAS Extension office in Hamilton County. Project HOPE continues to plan and raise funds for after school and summer youth activities that promote education enrichment in a fun and safe environment. For more information, or to make a donation, please contact Project HOPE, Inc. at P. O. Box 487, White Springs, FL 32096.

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