Editorial: Three cheers

Jul. 19, 2013 @ 11:18 PM

New Tremont experience would be ideal for students

There are plenty of camps and programs during the summer for idle students, but here is one worth considering. Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, in collaboration with Maryville College and the college’s Mountain Challenge Program, is launching the Great Smokies Experience. The two-week pilot program will let high school students earn college credit.

Students who successfully complete the program will receive credit for Introduction to Environmental Issues, a course at Maryville College. The Great Smokies Experience will take place July 18-31. It is divided into three sections, ranging from hikes and history to ecosystems and nationalism.

The seven students enrolled in the program will spend half the class camping at the Tremont Institute in the Smokies. The other half will be spent living on the campus of Maryville College. It’s a great idea, one every parent should consider for their children. There is a fee that may be beyond the reach of many families, but the camp is one that should be considered as the summer out-of-school period winds down.

Faith and Family Night great to back nonprofits

There are some faith-based nonprofits in our community that depend upon the kindness and generosity of others for their existence. Coming up this month is an event that allows you to show your support for what they do while enjoying a nice evening out with the family.

On Tuesday, July 30, the Faith Based Partners of Sevier County will host Faith and Family Night at Smokies Park. The event is a benefit for Sevier County Food Ministries, Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries, Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries and Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic. The Tennessee Smokies are hosting Birmingham, with the first pitch at 7:15 p.m.

The nonprofits need local businesses to participate as sponsors, starting at $100. Proceeds from the event will be shared among the four groups. Anyone who would like to learn more about the sponsorship should call Bill Black, director of Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries, at 607-4076. This is a great idea, deserving of the community’s support and participation. Make the call and sign up for the event.

Veteran park volunteers deserving of recognition

Great Smoky Mountains National Park values its army of volunteers. They are a major reason why the park is the most visited in the country. The park recently celebrated the accomplishments of volunteers who have each contributed over 5,000 and 10,000 hours of service in the park.

The volunteers were honored with a special recognition plaque that will be on permanent display at Park Headquarters near Sugarlands Visitor Center. The park has 11 individuals or groups who have contributed over 10,000 hours of volunteer service and 15 who have accumulated over 5,000 hours since the inception of the program in 1970. These volunteers perform a variety of tasks including maintenance and renovations in campgrounds, backcountry campsites, and along trails; providing information at visitor centers, backcountry information office, historic structures, and in campgrounds; and providing field assistance in fisheries and vegetation management programs.

The park’s Volunteers in Park (VIP) program is the largest in the Southeast Region. Thanks to all the volunteers who drive the success and popularity of the Smokies.