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A Re s o u rc e f o r F a m i l i e s i n A t h e n s, O c o n e e C o u n t y a n d t h e S u r ro u n d i n g A re a

April 2018

Building Families... Building Businesses


Now In Our 20th Year!

Art & Health Money & Health Hearts & Other Parts AND

Camp Kesem: With Open Arms


“The Me Inside”

Summer Camps PART ONE

“Building Families...Building Businesses” March/April 2018 • Vol. 20 No. 3 LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED


A.W. Blalock


Sarah Danis


Anniston Howell Hanh Nguyen WEB DESIGN/CALENDAR

Chris Parsons FOUNDER


Deane Alban, Sarah Danis, Sally Gustafson, Brandon Hendrix, Amy Lasseter, Chris Parsons, Brenda Rodgers

Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine is published six times a year. Reader correspondence and editorial submission welcome.We reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all material contributed. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without express written consent of the publisher. Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The opinions expressed by contributors or writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this magazine. Distribution of this product does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services herein. Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine P.O. Box 465,Watkinsville, GA 30677 Advertising: ads@athensparent.com Editorial: editor@athensparent.com Office & Production: office@athensparent.com Calendar: calendar@athensparent.com Website: web@athensparent.com

www.athensparent.com PUBLISHED BY

on the cover Eleanor Gustafson

(Read her story on page 18) PHOTO BY SALLY GUSTAFSON www.athensparent.com 3

first words...


appy spring! This year is flying by already! I hope by now your kids have adjusted to the time change. Boy, it’s amazing how much of a difference that just one hour can make to cause bedtime to be even crazier! This issue is our yearly health issue. We have several topics that hit close to home for me and I hope they will for you too. My friend Brandon Hendrix has been in need of a kidney transplant and I thought it would be good for us all to learn even more about the importance of organ donation. Brenda Rodgers’s husband was the recipient of a heart transplant and she shares his story with us as well. Liz Conroy helps us with how to talk to our kids about their dreams. We also have information about UGA’s Camp Kesem, which supports kids whose parents have fought or are currently fighting cancer. Finally, Amy Lasseter has tips for being more financially stable. As always, Dr. Jonathan Robinson answers some of our readers’ questions. I think you’ll enjoy the first half of our camp listings as well. It’s time to start thinking about your summer plans to keep our kids busy! I hope your year continues to be wonderful and would love to hear any comments or feedback that you have to share with us.

contents Summer Camps

Guidebook PAGES 20-29



8 Camp Kesem: With Open Arms 10 Organ Donations: Gifts of Life 12 3 Steps to a Healthier, More Financially Successful You 14 Art: Makes You Feel Good! 18 “The Me Inside”


Sarah Danis editor@athensparent.com

14 DEPARTMENTS 6 Show & Tell 16 Calendar 30 ’Til We Meet Again

Sarah’s sons, Trey and Oliver, enjoying the springtime weather with their cousin Charlotte.

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Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine www.athensparent.com 5




Compiled by Sarah Danis

get out!

Banana Oatmeal Cups eat this!


ynovus is presenting the First Annual Eastside Athens Spring Fling at Southeast Clarke Park on Saturday, April 7 from 11am-6pm. This FREE event is family-friendly and will feature live music, the Athens Gaming Theater, food trucks, a beer tent, yoga, activities for kids, BMX bike/skateboard demonstrations, East Athens Business Expo and more! The purpose of this event is to bring awareness to East Athens and provide support for eastside business and beautification efforts. Funds will be administered by Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful (KACCB) and funds raised through this effort will be allocated to improve the aesthetics of the east side along the Lexington Road corridor, at Southeast Clarke Park, and/or at any one of the three commercial nodes – Whit Davis/Lexington, Cherokee/Gaines/ Lexington, and Barnett Shoals/Lexington.

read these!

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, gluten-free as needed 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup mashed banana, about 2 medium very ripe bananas 2 egg whites 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (any milk will work) Optional: 1 tablespoon mini chocolate baking chips or any other favorite add-in, like fruit, nuts and/or shredded coconut Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add mashed banana, egg whites, vanilla extract, milk and any other optional add-in, if using, to oat mixture and stir well to combine. Fill muffin cups almost completely full with oatmeal mixture. The oatmeal cups will not rise. Add a few mini baking chips to each oatmeal cup, if desired. Bake for about 30 minutes and until the center of each oatmeal cup is set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin pan. If you don’t allow these to cool before taking them out of the muffin pan, they will fall apart. I used a knife around the sides to make removal easier. After cooling, they will set well. Store in a covered container in the fridge for about a week. Thanks to www.kimscravings.com for this great recipe! 6 Athens-Oconee Parent

The Care & Keeping of You 1: The Body Book for Younger Girls is a book for girls ages 8 and up. It features tips, how-tos, and facts from the experts. Girls will find age-appropriate answers to questions about their changing bodies, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to bras, periods to pimples, and everything in between. Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys is a body book for boys ages 8 and up. It tackles everything boys need to know about their developing bodies and minds, from healthy eating, bad breath and shaving to pubic changes, moodiness and expressing emotions. Written by Dr. Cara Natterson, board-certified pediatrician and New York Times bestselling author.

use this! This flu season has been a nasty one. Kinsa’s new QuickCare Thermometer is easy to use, accurate and helps track your family’s temperature, symptoms and medications right in the app. QuickCare stick thermometer takes professionally accurate digital temperature readings in 8 seconds. It wirelessly connects to your phone to keep your health details right at hand. Kids can play a fun bubble-popping game on the app during temperature readings. QuickCare offers personalized guidance on how and when to soothe symptoms, take meds or call the doctor – all based on age, temperature and symptoms. Send your ideas & photos to P.O. Box 465, Watkinsville, GA 30677 or e-mail editor@athensparent.com


A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” Tom Stoppard

try this!

Affirmation Envelopes are designed to help develop coping skills for children, challenge any negative thoughts about themselves, and empower the child. Have your child write down any negative thoughts they have about themselves. When they’re done, have them throw those thoughts in the trash can. Then have them write down positive things they believe about themselves and place the notes in their special envelope. Other family members and friends can write down nice things to put in the envelope as well. When your child is feeling down about themselves, have them refer back to this envelope. They could even save a note about a compliment they received or a note about scoring well on a test. Include the whole family in this project to show that even adults sometimes have negative thoughts about themselves. Changing our thoughts and focusing on the positive can make us all feel empowered. The envelopes you use can be as simple as writing a name on a business envelope, using heavy paper and pretty tape to make an envelope special, or, if you are extra crafty, using fabric to sew together a cute envelope. The entire family can benefit from positive affirmations. At left, a few of the notes the family made for the father while he was at work show their appreciation and love.




id you know this free healthcare resource was available? Shifa Clinic Athens is a free healthcare clinic sponsored by the Shifa Clinics program under parent organization ICNA Relief USA. They provide free healthcare to medically uninsured individuals who live within 200% of the federal poverty line. Their mission is to give high quality medical care and compassionate service to all individuals, regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or any other personality identities. They’re certified by the Georgia Department of Health, as well as the Georgia Volunteer Health Care Program. At the moment, they offer specialists in Internal Medicine, Neurology, Nephrology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics, all of whom work on a rotating schedule. Shifa Clinic Athens opened their doors to the public on March 4, 2017, and continue to serve patients every Saturday from 11am to 2pm. In their abbreviated inaugural year, they’ve provided $28,887.50 of medical service to the Athens-Clarke County community. They recently moved to a new location at 435 Hawthorne Avenue, Building #600, and are excited to see what they can achieve in this new facility. Their goal is to continue to establish themselves as contributing members to the community and become a well-known local resource.

The doctors of Shifa Clinic Athens accept an award in recognition of the services they’ve volunteered since the clinic’s grand opening on March 4, 2017. PHOTO BY MATT OSAJIMA

Troy Tastes... Restaurant: Mama’s Boy Troy’s Score: 4 1/2 napkins


went to the new Mama’s boy in Oconee County. It was really cool. If you go all the way in the back, there is a pretty waterfall. They also have outdoor heaters on cool days so you don’t get frostbite on your fingers. So let’s jump into the food. I had the Mill Town breakfast off the kids’ menu. It has one scrambled egg, grits, biscuit, and bacon.You can also substitute the grits for fruit if you don’t like grits – that’s what I did. YUM! We also got an enormous cinnamon bun that tasted homemade. The family and I got a very large banana bread that looked like it weighed a whole pound. Also, tell your kids that there is butter on top of it and not ice cream. I thought it was ice cream because it looked like one scoop of vanilla ice cream, but when I tasted it I was like, BLAH – butter not ice cream! Overall, I give it 4 1/2 napkins. We will be going back. Troy Aldrich is a local 9-year-old who enjoys food and is over the kids menu at most restaurants – but not everywhere. His Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine reviews appear here in each issue and will guide parents on great places to take their kids to eat – from a kid’s point of view. Each restaurant is given a rating on a scale of 5 napkins. For more kid’s reviews go to Troytastes.com.

www.athensparent.com 7

camp kesem


By Sarah Danis


This free summer camp supports children affected by a parent’s cancer.

THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA’S Camp Kesem chapter is a student-run nonprofit dedicated to supporting children through and beyond their parents’ cancer. The 7th Annual Camp Kesem UGA will be holding two week-long sessions of camp this year at Camp Westminster in Conyers, Ga. One will be from May 27 to June 2, and the other from July 1 to July 7. Ninety-five children will attend each session of camp and have the opportunity to bond with other children who are in similar situations. Camp Kesem at the University of Georgia is the local chapter of a nationwide nonprofit that provides a lifelong community of friendship, love, and support for children whose parents have or have had cancer. Their mission is rooted in free, week-long summer camps with year-round programming, such as reunions and grief support. “It felt like cancer was defining their childhood,” said one Camp Kesem UGA parent, explaining why she sent her children 8 Athens-Oconee Parent

to camp. “Signing my kids up for Camp Kesem was the first good thing I did for my kids after I got sick.” At Camp Westminster campers from ages 6 to 16 will enjoy activities ranging from horseback riding and wakeboarding to arts and crafts and dance battles. In addition to the fun-filled activities that relieve children of their worries and return their freedom of youth, campers also participate in unique empowerment programming. Many children affected by a parent’s cancer express hopelessness about their parents’ conditions and distance from old friends who can only pity rather than empathize. Camp Kesem’s empowerment programming shows campers that other children share their experiences and will support them through all trials of their parents’ health. “I never thought I could be the same person that I was until I came to camp,” one Camp Kesem UGA camper said.

Camp Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that support children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. Camp Kesem operates over 100 free summer camps in 40 states for children ages 6 to 18 who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. This camp experience and Kesem’s year-long programs have a lasting impact on children by providing them a peer-support network that understands their unique needs, builds confidence and strengthens their communication skills. In 2017, Camp Kesem served over 7,200 children coast-tocoast, all funded by generous donations from individuals and corporate support. For more information on Camp Kesem, please visit www.kesem.org, Facebook.com/ CampKesem, and @CampKesem on Twitter and Instagram. To fill out an application for your child to attend one of their free, weeklong camp sessions, email the family outreach team at uga.outreach@campkesem.org. ■

www.athensparent.com 9


gifts of life

By Brandon Hendrix and Brenda Rodgers

I’VE ALWAYS FELT LIKE organ donation was an

amazing gift that a person can give as their last good deed. In my opinion, there’s no

reason to NOT donate organs after a person passes away, as long as it’s feasibly possible.

My friend Brandon is currently looking for a living donor. He needs a kidney transplant. I didn’t know much about living donors until meeting a friend about 10 years ago that was living with a kidney he had donated from his brother. What a miraculous thing to do! We

just wanted to share with you some stories of how organ donation can be life changing! I hope you’ll sign up as an organ donor and maybe even a living donor today! Brandon with his wife Donna and daughters Camryn and Amber.

DONATE LIFE More than 115,000 Americans are in need of life-saving organ transplants, and it’s over 5,300 in Georgia. One organ and tissue donor can potentially help as many as 75 people. Organ and tissue donation does not disfigure the body or interfere with funeral arrangements, including open casket services. The donor’s family does NOT pay for the costs associated with donation and all major religions approve of organ and tissue donation. In fact, many religions consider donation the ultimate charitable act. Georgians can join the state’s organ and tissue donor registry through the website www.DonateLifeGeorgia, when obtaining/ renewing a driver license or identification card at a local driver license officem or by calling Donate Life Georgia directly at 1-866-57-SHARE (1-866-577-4273) and requesting a registry card. In conjunction with donor registration, please share your donation decision with your family and encourage them to do the same. LifeLink® of Georgia is the not-for-profit organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in the state of Georgia. For more information about organ and tissue donation, please contact Tracy Ide, Sr. Public Affairs Coordinator, at 800-544-6667 or visit www.LifeLinkFoundation.org. 10 Athens-Oconee Parent

Brandon’s Story M


y name is Brandon and I have End Stage Kidney Disease. I’ve been living with this disease for the last 4 years, and as one could imagine, it has its difficulties. While there are plenty of people in the world who live with kidney disease, it affects everyone differently. In my case, it has affected me mentally and physically. You deal with the initial impact of having a disease that you could very well die from. Then you start thinking about the future or having limited time. Then you start to think about your kids and what would happen to them when you’re gone. That is the most troubling thought, especially given the times we live in. Over time those feelings will come and go. For some people these things can be hard to overcome. This is where medication,

meditation, and/or prayer come in handy. There are a few physical challenges to the disease as well. A major organ starts to have complications and you will feel the effects. Your kidneys serve a couple of purposes including regulating blood pressure and filtering toxins out of your blood. When your kidneys stop working properly, those toxins build up. In my case, it gave me fish breath. Luckily after 2 years of dialysis (and 2 years’ worth of mints), it cleared itself up. However, fish breath is minor compared to the general fatigue, aches and pains, vomiting and so on that have accompanied me for the last few years, and there’s the medications you have to take to keep everything running as smoothly as possibly on top of the dialysis treatments.

Here is a little information for those not familiar with the basics of dialysis. Dialysis is used to maintain your remaining kidney function and extend your life until a transplant can be obtained. There are currently two types of dialysis: Peritoneal and Hemodialysis. Peritoneal dialysis can be done at home and supplies are sent to you monthly. Hemodialysis is usually done at your dialysis center by a trained medical staff. There are benefits to both types of dialysis and the kind you choose depends on the type of lifestyle you wish to have or maintain. All of this brings us to the importance of organ donation. While dialysis can help extend your life for a period of time, it is not a permanent fix. This is why it is so important for people to become organ donors

and extend the gift of life to those in need. Heart, kidney, liver, and lungs are all organs that we need in order to function.You can be a living donor and donate a kidney to those in need, be it family, friend, or total stranger.You can also decide to have your organs donated after death and bestow the blessing of life with your healthy heart or lungs. Here are some things to consider about organ donation: 1) 22 people die every day

while waiting for a transplant 2) Anyone can be an organ donor regardless of age 3) Organ donation doesn’t cost the donor any money 4) Donations from all ethnicities are needed 5) 1 donor can save several lives 6) Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the transplant waitlist (Organ donation stats from National Foundation for Transplants)

Here are some websites with more information on the

benefits of organ donation: • https://unos.org/data • www.transplants.org/ facts-about-organ-donation • www.donatelife.net • www.kidneyfund.org Brandon is a married father of two from Athens, searching for his living donor match. Brandon has been on dialysis for the last three years and is currently on the transplant waitlist. Please share his story with family and friends. www.facebook. com/ourdaddyneedsakidney teamhendrix

John’s Story John Rodgers wife, Brenda, shares with us the amazing story of her husband John’s life-changing transplant:


hen I say the words “heart transplant,” people’s eyes get big and there’s a short gasp in their breath. The truth is because of medical advancements, transplants aren’t as daunting of a surgery as they were in the past. The problem is the lack of organ donors. In 2010 my husband underwent a heart transplant. He had heart failure due to cardiomyopathy. He was 36 years old.Two John Rodgers and wife, Brenda, with daughters Ella Grace (stand- years into our marriage, I never ing), and Mary Eden. expected this day to come so PHOTO BY AMANDA LYNN PHOTOGRAPHY early.Without a transplant, he would not have survived. In the best circumstances, patients wait at home for an organ to become available and then go to the hospital for their surgery. However, my husband’s story took a dramatic turn. He was no longer able to wait at home and had to wait in the hospital for a matched heart donation. After being put on the ECMO machine to sustain his life as he waited, he received a heart. Since then, my husband has thrived in every way. We went on to have two healthy, beautiful little girls who are now five and two years old. My husband has also excelled in his career and with his personal hobbies. Through this process, we learned that many people have misconceptions about organ donation. From our story, however, you see that donation created a legacy. Through our girls, the gift of one heart will bless generations to come. ■ http://brendarodgers.com/a-story-of-a-heart-transplantand-miracles/ www.athensparent.com 11

money mindset


By Amy Lasseter

3 Steps

to a Healthier, More Financially Successful You!

“Gah. Here. Again.” {insert sigh filled with guilt and shame}

“It doesn’t seem to matter what I do; the numbers remain the same.” {place head on desk}

DO THESE THOUGHTS AND feeling sound familiar? At some point and time in your life, I bet these feelings have seeped in. Feeling the breadth of the emotions that would (and maybe still do) roll right over and through you. Shame. Guilt. Fear.Worry. Anxiety. Just talking about them, I can feel my unhealthy emotions and symptoms getting all stirred up.Yuck. If you haven’t figured out what I’m talking about yet, it’s:

YOUR HEALTHY & FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL MONEY MINDSET You and I know exactly what poor health feels like when it comes to finances…however, can you identify and understand what a healthy mindset is around money and success? That’s a little bit harder and it’s been a question that has been popping up a lot for those I work with; something I’ve been personally exploring over the last two years. 12 Athens-Oconee Parent

The question I get asked the most often when it comes to success and money is, “How do I change my money mindset?” Well, as I discussed in the February 2018 issue [“Simple vs Easy], the solution seems so simple and easy on the surface, right? However, it’s only through exploring the journey you can take light and steady steps into and out of the unhealthy mindset. You already know the unhealthy ways of a financial money mindset that lead to guilt and anxiety, right? What you don’t yet know is what a healthy money and success mindset is, so today we’re going to be talking about three steps to start the process to get you healthy!

is because it helps me feel warm and safe… like when I would help my mom make pumpkin pie during the holiday season. NOTE: Smell is the strongest memory trigger, so let’s bring balance to your stressedout, worried emotions by bringing in some happier, nurturing thoughts through scent! ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION: What do I need that will make the process even slightly more enjoyable for me?

STEP #1:

The very next time you go to sit down (or avoid because, let’s be honest, okay?) I want you to have your identified enjoyable scent going along with a scratch piece of paper (or journal) and pen. Logging your thoughts and progress is important because this how you to dive into your journey. This is a really great way to help you track your progress because you’re not giving yourselves enough credit. Having a journal or piece of paper to write about the queasy feeling you get when you sit down to your check book or spreadsheet allows you to write down: • the unhealthy thoughts you have around money • what it is that you’re trying to hide from • how you can best support yourself so you can take more positive steps

Gross Feelings Leave When Allowed If you know that numbers, budgets, and spreadsheets aren’t your strength, and maybe they aren’t your partners skills or gift either, then give yourself permission to make it more enjoyable! There is no rule in the universe (that I have come across) that says doing something that makes you feel gross should always feel gross. Can you imagine a time when sitting down and going over your numbers feels good? Maybe even exciting? That place can come…I swear! One addition I made is that I light a cinnamon scented candle when I must do something that feels hard. The reason for this

STEP #2:

Know and Acknowledge Healthy & Unhealthy Thoughts

Often, when you start to do this you realize how much closer you are to your financial goals. That can often be intimidating because you must sit with several contradictory ideas: • you’re more powerful than you thought • you’re more knowledgeable than you realized • you have no more reasons for why you can’t do {x, y, z} This comes down the final and third step…

STEP #3:

Money Reflects Your Values This may be a tough one for you to follow because it’s a very powerful realization and is tough even for a lot of the high-achievers. (I include myself in this category too!) High-achievers, like you, struggle with this because you can see the end result that leaves you wanting it all, like, yesterday! I think this is a GREAT thing! The world needs people like you (and me…) otherwise how would anything get done? Your money reflects your values and when you start looking at the numbers it forces you to get real and prioritize your values…which means you’re going to have to: • start saying no to things you typically say yes to • start prioritizing the need to take better care of yourself (you can’t get to where you want to be if you’re riddled with shame and guilt!) • see places where your spending and intentions are out of alignment with who you are (and who you want to be!) These three things are extremely challenging because it forces you to slow down, pay attention, and sit with emotions and thoughts you don’t want to sit with. This is hard and insanely uncomfortable; however, you can’t create an end result you love if you’re out of alignment with your values. When your money and values line up, things start to flow and feel easy, which can be scary for numerous reasons that mostly tie to our stories of success (and we’ll save that for another day.)

YOU’RE MOVING FORWARD As you take and use the steps of:

1. Allowing gross feelings to leave 2. Acknowledging the healthy & unhealthy thoughts 3. Allowing your money to reflect your values …and you start moving forward into your healthier, more financially and successful self, there will be moments when you will feel all the familiar, unhealthy feelings because of the old thoughts and story lines you’ll bump up against. This happens because you’re steeping closer and more deeply into your wisdom, inner truth and trust.You can only do this through confronting old patterns and letting them go. While I typically don’t make promises, I’ll promise you one thing: if you courageously put on your #bravegirlpants and find a loving way through and past the guilt, worry, stress, fear, shame and anxiety you will start to lead a life and business that’s in alignment…and it’s one of the most liberating and exhilarating experiences you’ll ever have! I hope you’re showing up in the world in a way that truly feels good to you and who you are. ■ Amy is a Psychotherapist + Growth Mindset & Business Strategist.You can learn more about her at lassetertherapies.com. www.athensparent.com 13

healthy minds


By Deane Alban

Art Makes you feel good!

THERE ARE A LOT of misconceptions floating around about art. Some think you have to be creating paintings or sculptures to be considered a real artist. Others believe that you are either born with talent – or not. Many are afraid that since they aren’t very good at something, there is no point and they won’t get any benefit from doing it. Another myth is that you have to work with an art therapist to get any therapeutic benefit from doing art. But we are all born with an innate desire to express ourselves and art encompasses a wider range of activities than you may have ever imagined.

Creating Art Relieves Stress

Activities like painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography are relaxing and rewarding hobbies that can lower your stress levels and leave you feeling mentally clear and calm. Creating art provides a distraction, giving your brain a break from your usual thoughts. The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same day in, day out! When you get totally immersed in a creative endeavor, you may find yourself in what’s known as “the zone” or in a state of “flow.” This meditative-like state focuses your mind and temporarily pushes aside all your worries. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Painting embraces all the ten functions of the eye; that is to say, darkness, light, body and color, shape and location, distance and closeness, motion and rest.” Creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment. In this way, it acts like meditation.

Art Encourages Creative Thinking

Dr. Lawrence Katz is an internationally recognized pioneer in neuron regeneration research and author of Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 14 Athens-Oconee Parent

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” - Pablo Picasso Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness. He found that mental decline was due mainly to the loss of communication between brain cells, not from the death of brain cells themselves. Dr. Katz coined the phrase “neurobics” to describe brain exercises that use your senses in new and novel ways, and creating art certainly fits this definition. Art enhances problem-solving skills. Unlike math, there is no one correct answer in art. Art encourages creative thinking and lets you come up with your own unique solutions. Out-of-the-box thinking also stimulates your brain to grow new neurons. Contrary to popular belief, creative thinking does not mean using the right side of your brain. It involves getting both hemispheres of your brain communicating with each other.

Art Boosts Self-Esteem and Provides a Sense of Accomplishment

You may stick your kids’ artwork on the refrigerator door to boost their self-esteem. Hanging your latest work of art on the wall can instill in you the same feeling. Creating art increases the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine. Crafting hobbies of all kinds – knitting, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography, woodworking, gardening, and do-it-yourself home repair – increase dopamine, ward off depression, and protect the brain from aging.

Art Increases Brain Connectivity and Plasticity

Every time you engage in a new or complex activity, your brain creates new connections between brain cells.Your brain’s ability to grow connections and change throughout your lifetime is called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. Creating art stimulates communication between various parts of the brain. In this way, creating art has been proven to increase psychological resilience and resistance to stress. It’s thought that intelligence depends more on the number of brain connections than the size of your brain.

Art Lessons Make Children Better Students for Life

Educators and parents alike have long suspected that music and arts programs make better students. Now, with neuroimaging, science can finally back this up. Children with musical training perform better in math, language, and reading. Early music lessons enhance brain plasticity and increase blood flow to the brain. There’s evidence that the brain-enhancing benefits of music lessons received during childhood can follow through adulthood and last a lifetime. The benefits of visual art programs are equally impressive. Art lessons increase brain plasticity, fluid intelligence, IQ, and attention. They improve overall behavior and reduce impulsiveness.

Art Increases Empathy, Tolerance, and Feelings of Love

A study of over 10,000 students found that a one-hour trip to an art museum changed the way they thought and felt. Students who visited a museum not only showed increased critical thinking skills, they also exhibited greater empathy towards how people lived in the past and expressed greater tolerance towards people different than themselves. Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London, discovered that simply the act of viewing art gives pleasure, much like falling in love. Brain scans revealed that looking at works of art trigger a surge of dopamine into the same area of the brain that registers romantic love. Within each of us lies a spark of creativity. It’s been said that art benefits whatever ails

you! Creating art can be beneficial throughout all stages of life. It can help children be better students and improve the quality of life for seniors. It relieves stress, encourages creative thinking, boosts self-esteem, and provides a sense of accomplishment. It works down to the level of changing the structure and function of your brain. Now that you know all the benefits artistic pursuits can provide, I hope you won’t put off exploring your artistic side any longer! ■ Deane holds a bachelor degree in biology and is a health information researcher, author and teacher. She is a co-owner of www.bebrainfit.com She has written and taught on a wide variety of natural health topics, including teaching healthy cooking classes to help people overcome serious illness.



fter 14 years of operating art classes and birthday parties in a small space tucked inside her retail store in Watkinsville, Ann Peden finally has space to grow her art classes and parties with the addition of Spark. The classroom at Spark can easily accommodate more than 50 people and is located right next door to Ann’s retail store. Upon entering you immediately sense the creative energy and happiness in the spacious classroom. Trays of beads and charms, carts of brightly colored paint, purple walls, and a kiln named “Harry” (as in Harry Potter) all contribute to the atmosphere. Spark helps boys, girls and adults find and nurture their creative Spark. A study was done where elementary school children were shown a piece of paper with a black dot and asked to describe everything it could be. On average, the children came up with 90-100 choices – a mosquito, a nose of a dog, an asteroid. Then they showed the same image to high school students. The result? They came up with an average of 6 things the dot could be! Our creativity dwindles as we get older unless we nurture it. What is the secret to Spark’s magic? Valerie Johnson, the painting teacher at Spark, and Ann, both share the same philosophy when doing their classes. Instead of everyone painting the same peacock or owl or making the same necklace or mug, everyone in the class creates their own unique piece of art. “Offer direction, instruction, and materials (and lots of encouragement), but provide enough freedom to inspire creativity.” “One Friday night I was driving home and saw teens hanging out in the Publix shopping center and realized there is very little for teens to do,” said Ann. This was the epiphany to start Downtime, a Friday night time for teens only at Spark where 8 tables are set up with 8 different art projects. For just $12.50 per project, teens can have a place to go to create art with friends in an atmosphere that is fun, healthy and easy to make new friends. Spark offers classes for kids, teens and adults – art classes, painting wooden cut-outs and distressed wood signs, girl’s night out, art club, Friday night “Downtime,” clay hand-building classes and painting bisque-ware, summer art camps, workshops, and of course birthday parties.To find out more, go to www.annpedenjewelry.com, or find them on Facebook at www. facebook.com/AnnPedenArtistMarketplace. www.athensparent.com 15

calendar Ongoing n Athens-Clarke County Library Storytime

Story program for children ages 18 months to 5 years old and their caregiver. Lively time of sharing books, songs, puppets, nursery rhymes, early literacy and preschool activities. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9:30am and 10:30am, 613-3650 athenslibrary. org/athens n Oconee County Library


Storytime is for preschool aged children and their caregivers. Come for stories, songs, movement, crafts, and fun! Free and open to the public. Tues. and Wed. at 10am and 11am, 769-3950 athenslibrary.org/oconee n Teen Tumbling at

Bishop Park

For teens who enjoy tumbling and want improve their skills for cheerleading. This is the perfect class to work at your own pace with your friends or your squad. Have your parents pay by the class and attend as many as you would like. Ages: 12-16, Bishop Park, Wednesdays through 4/25, 6-7:25pm, $10/$15, register online for this program at accgov.com/leisure n Georgia Renaissance Festival April 14th - June 3, Saturdays and Sundays plus Memorial Day, www.garenfest.com

March 2018 20 Crafts and Community Club

Open to boys and girls ages 8 to 10, the new Crafts and Community Club will focus on making a difference in our community! This month we’ll be making toys for the animals at the Animal Shelter. Bogart Library. 4-5pm. 770-7259443, athenslibrary.org/bogart

20 Veggie Kit Giveaway

The Keep Oconee Beautiful Commission will be providing vegetable growing kits for free! Swing by to pick one up anytime on Tuesday March 20- while sup16 Athens-Oconee Parent

Compiled by Chris Parsons

plies last. Bogart Library. All day. 770-725-9443, athens library.org/bogart

23 Creative Writing

Join Mr. Will as we see how creative you can be in writing. We’ll have writing prompts and journals! (Grades 6-12th only.) Athens-Clarke County Library, 4:30-5:30pm, 613-3650, athenslibrary.org/athens

24 Bears’ Birthday Party

DJ turns 15 and Athena and Yonah turn 8. We’ll celebrate by offering the bears special birthday treats and presents, which they will receive at 2:30pm. There will be treats (while supplies last) and crafts for party guests. This party is free and fun for the whole family! Ages: All (children must be accompanied by an adult). Bear Hollow Zoo at Memorial Park, 12-3pm 613-3580

24 4th Annual School Lunch Challenge

This cooking competition invites four teams of local chefs to create school lunch plates for attendees to sample. Competing teams include Last Resort Grill, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, Dondero’s Kitchen, and the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Whitehead Road Elementary School, 12-1:30pm. Tickets are free at https://schoollunch challenge2018.eventbrite.com. 542-5788

24 Bug Boogie Storytime

Come out for a storytime where we will hear about bugtastic adventures, sing silly insect songs, and create a glowing craft to take home. For children ages 4-11 and their caregiver. Athens-Clarke County Library, 11am, 613-3650, athenslibrary.org/Athens

24 Family Craft: Stained Glass

Learn how to create beautiful faux stained glass using crayons and wax paper! Great for ages 6 and up! Bogart Library, 2:30-4pm, 770-725-9443, athenslibrary.org/ bogart

30 Pagemasters: Kids’ Book & Movie

Which was better, the book or the movie? Read the book and come to our end-of-the-month

Some events, dates and times are subject to change. Please call individual event organizers to confirm schedules. All area codes are 706 unless otherwise noted.

Friday book club! We’ll talk about what we think and watch the movie, too! For elementary school-ages. Oconee County Library, 4pm, 769-3950, athens library.org/oconee

31 Bunny Hop

Hop into the library for bunny stories and crafts! For children ages 2-6 and their caregiver. Athens-Clarke County Library, 11am, 613-3650, athenslibrary. org/athens

31 Five Points Easter Egg Hunt

Bring your family to see the Easter Bunny and participate in an Easter Egg Everyone is welcome to this free event. Memorial Park, 1111:30am. friendsoffivepoints.org

April 2018 3 Lego Robots Workshop

Come learn how to build real, working LEGO Robots! Practice your teamwork and see how you can make them move. Ages 7 and up. REGISTRATION REQUIRED - call the library or ask at the desk to register! Oconee County Library, 4pm, 769-3950, athens library.org/oconee

5 Littlest Family’s Big Day

One morning, very early, a little family came to the woods. What will the little family discover in their new home? Find out in this special woodland storytime, also featuring Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Little Fur Family. With craft to go. For children ages 3-8 and their caregiver. Athens-Clarke County Library, 3:30pm, 6133650. athenslibrary.org/athens

7 Family Day: Mindfulness and Mandalas

Look at Buddhist sculptures from Afghanistan and Pakistan and make your own mandalas, or decorated circles. Georgia Museum of Art, 10am-12pm, 542-4662

7 Australian Outback Adventure

Join us for a culinary journey through the Outback with Mem Fox’s Possum Magic. Learn about the animals and food of Australia through books, songs, crafts and snacks. For children ages 4-8.

Athens-Clarke County Library, 11am, 613-3650, athenslibrary. org/athens

14 3rd Annual Fairy and Elf Festival

Spend a magical day at the Athens-Clarke County Library as we share stories, fairy house building, crafts, and more. For ages 3-11 and their caregiver. Costumes are encouraged. Athens-Clarke County Library, 1pm, 613-3650. athenslibrary.org/athens

14 “Journey through the Stars”

Follow Hercules across the sky to see his connections with other constellations. Sandy Creek Nature Center, 10-11am, $2/$3. Online registration at www.acc gov.com/leisure by clicking the “Nature” tab. 613-3615

19 Baby Music Jam

Children and caregivers play musical instruments, sing, and dance together. Oconee County Library, 10:30am 769-3950 athenslibrary. org/oconee. Also on 5/17

20 Froggie Spring Fling

Join nature center staff for an evening of amphibian hunting. Bring a flashlight and wear closed toed shoes. Ages: 4 and older (children must be accompanied by an adult). Sandy Creek Nature Center, 7-8:30pm, $2/$3, register online for this program at accgov.com/leisure, 613-3615

21 Slime-ology Workshop

Come and learn how to make multiple types of slime from slime-creation experts! Everyone will get to keep and take home their slimes. REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Ages 7 and up- please call or ask at the desk to register so we have enough materials for everyone. Oconee County Library, 2pm, 769-3950. athens library.org/oconee

21 Sheila Rae the Brave

Sheila Rae is a very brave little mouse who claims that she isn’t afraid of anything! Join us as we share Shelia Rae’s story and discover the secret to her bravery. Make a craft to go. For children ages 4-8 and their caregiver. Athens-Clarke County Library, 11am, 613-3650, athenslibrary. org/athens

21 Festival Day at Athens Academy

Join us for a fun family event that’s open to everyone in the community! We will kick off the morning with a musical performance by the Athens Academy Pre/ Lower School, followed by exciting games, activities, and booths including a dunking booth, rock climbing wall, face painting, laser tag, and more. Athens Academy, 1281 Spartan Lane, 549-9225

22 Read to Rover

Beginning readers read aloud to certified therapy dogs, a.k.a. Tail Waggin’ Tutors! All dogs are insured and with trainers. First come, first served. Athens-Clarke County Library, 3-4pm, 613-3650, athenslibrary.org/athens

22 Tail Waggin’ Tutors

Could your child use a helping paw with reading? Or does he or she just love dogs? Come read with the sweetest dogs ever, Star and Comet! Reading aloud to a dog creates a relaxed, non-judgmental environment that helps children develop their reading skills and builds confidence. And, it’s a lot of fun, too! All ages! Oconee County Library, 3pm, 769-3950, athenslibrary.org/ oconee also on 5/20

26 Infant Storytime

Babies love books, too! This is a special Storytime for our youngest readers-to-be, 0-24 months. Come for stories, songs, nursery rhymes, bouncing, and cuddling, and then stay for some playtime with friends. A great way to introduce your baby to the joy of books, learn new ways to share books with your baby, and meet other parents. Oconee County Library, 10:30am, 769-3950, athens library.org/oconee. Also on 5/24

27-28 AOC Twilight

The AOC Twilight Criterium has been dubbed the most

insane criterium in the world. The weekend offers a great festival environment plus bicycle racing including races just for kids. Great for the family, the festival offers live music, a food court, expo, and demonstrations. Downtown Athens, athenstwilight.com

28 Pitch, Hit, and Run

Presented by the Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department, in conjunction with Major League Baseball and Scotts, this competition is open to boys and girls ages 7-14 as of 7/17/17. Winners from four age groups will have the opportunity to progress to a sectional, regional and national competition. No pre-registration is necessary. A waiver must be signed on site for participation. Bogart Sports Complex, 10:30am-1:30pm 769-3965

29 Athens Youth Symphony Spring Concert

More than 100 young musicians from North Georgia will perform a Spring Concert when the Athens Youth Symphony and Philharmonia take the stage. UGA Performing Arts Center Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. 4pm, free admission, 543-1907

May 2018 5 Forces at Work, Building Momentum

Join forces with Sandy Creek Nature Center as we dive into the world of robots and machines that move. Help build lego models, see drones flying learn about trains from Dr. Maruice Snook, watch a planetarium program, enjoy a hike using technology and much more. Ages: 5 yearsAdult. Children 13 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Sandy Creek Nature Center, 12-4pm, $3, register online at accgov. com/leisure, 613-3615

11-12 Canopy Teen Student Show

7pm, $10, Canopy Studio, 160-6 Tracy St. canopy studio.org

12 Family Fun Day at the OC Library

A petting zoo, moonwalk, crafts, music, games, and more! Fun for the whole family – and it’s free! Pick up your reading log and you can earn prizes for reading all summer long. All ages. Oconee County Library, 10am-1pm, 769-3950, athenslibrary.org/oconee

13 Mothers’ Day Concert: Sights and Sounds of Music

Join the Athens Flute Choir for a program featuring familiar works that will conjure colorful images every mother will love! Botanical Garden, 2-3pm, 542-6156

19 Family Fun Day

The Summer Reading Program officially begins! Pick up your reading logs and join us for a host of fantastic activities at our fabulous summer kick-off! Enjoy crafts and activities for children of all ages. Athens-Clarke County Library, 10am-1pm, 613-3650 athenslibrary.org/Athens

19 Family Day: Bloom Where You are Planted

Celebrate spring at this special flower-themed Family Day. Gorgeous still lifes and landscapes provide plenty of inspiration and a breath of fresh air. Create your own masterpieces. Georgia Museum of Art, 10am-12pm, 542-4662

19 Snake Day 2018

Join local experts for a day of snakes! Enjoy games and crafts, as well as food from local vendors. Sandy Creek Nature Center, 12-4pm, $4 Children younger than 3 are admitted free. Pre-register before May 19 for a $3 price or day of the event is $4 per person. accgov.com/leisure, 613-3615

www.athensparent.com 17

w a parent shares

Story and Photos by Sally Gustafson

“The Me Inside”

WHEN PEOPLE SEE MY name “Sally Gustafson,” it’s usually on a website, magazine, or newspaper attached to an image. As a photographer, I try to capture life as I see it. I love taking candid photos at all types of events.You name it, and I probably have photographed it. While I have an interesting style of editing, one thing has set me apart from the rest. If you see me out taking photos you will catch me with my youngest daughter Eleanor, who goes by the name “Baby Lady.” From the first day I took her out on our very first

adventure, people were amazed how I had just had a baby. And there she was looking at everyone with her big brown eyes, not crying, not wiggling, just sitting in the carrier attached to my chest and the whole entire room started taking our photos too. I laughed and told them to stop stealing my job. Eleanor was unlike any other child. My mom always says, “Eleanor is just an old soul.You can see it in her eyes.” I think that was something people always notice about her. She was calm, didn’t mind people, always had a smile, but everything had to be according to her own terms. Out of all my four children, she was the only one who wanted mama at all times, and would even give my husband a hard time if he held her a little longer than she anticipated. Being the youngest was not hard in our home, they passed her around like a sack of potatoes and she just went along with it. A year passed and I lost count of how many events we covered together. They always 18 Athens-Oconee Parent

said, “Sally, plus one” and she was also not shy of attending informal meetings at the Athens Banner-Herald office where she would stand by the glass walls and make faces at people as they walked by. It always made them laugh, but this all changed on February 22 of 2017 when we found ourselves in the emergency room right after one of the meetings. She was diagnosed with pneumonia. I was like how, what, when, but I knew flu season was a huge factor. Just 5 hours later, her breathing was worse and her eyes were more swollen, almost like she had an allergic reaction. I knew something was wrong. I called my mom and asked her to join me at the hospital, while my husband Richard stayed at home with the other kids because they had school the following day. The nurse practitioner said her heart looked swollen and they wanted to repeat the test from earlier. As we waited to hear about her lab results and x-ray, her face became paralyzed on the left side. My mom who is trained in EMS, jumped into action. Not only did she check her vitals, but she went and found the nearest nurse and doctor. Before you could say anything else, the room was filled with people poking Eleanor, looking at her vitals, and attaching wires to monitor her heart. At the same time, I felt like everything was going in slow motion. A nightmare you can’t escape, unfolding before your very own eyes. I thought about her Grandpa Ivan who has a heart condition and wondered what our lives would be like if she needed a heart transplant. The results came back. Baby Lady

was severely anemic and had a mass pushing on her heart. We were transported to Scottish Rite-Children’s Hospital of Atlanta where we waited to see what type of cancer she may have, or hoping that perhaps it was all just a nightmare. After waiting for hours with no sleep, a doctor walked in and told us it was Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL). It’s a type of cancer where the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) and she had a mass just sitting there waiting like a ticking bomb. Her face stayed the same and I wondered if she would ever be herself again. The Pediatric Intensive Care doctor told me he didn’t even know if she was going to make it. My heart was broken and I leaned towards family and friends for support. After a while they move us from the indescribably sad place to what is called the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders wing and we stayed there for weeks. Each morning they took her blood, she had lumbar punctures, chemo, blood transfusion, platelet transfusions, pain medicine, nausea medicine, steroids, there was much to learn about caring for a baby who was still in diapers and radioactive. Her hair started falling out almost right away; that’s how we cut her first curl. It was not exactly what we had in mind. She could not even eat some of her favorite foods and my husband couldn’t bring the other children to the wing because they were under the age of 12. It turned our world upside down. We always did everything together: going church,

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: An angelic photo to celebrate embracing Eleanor’s hair being gone after her first phase of cancer treatments in May 2017. Eleanor picking dandelions as we celebrated one year of treatment on February 22, 2018. The Gustafson family’s first visit to Eleanor’s hospital room: Eleanor’s dad, Richard, with Eleanor (center), along with her brothers and sister, Lauren, Owen and Vincent. Sally Gustafson, holding newborn Eleanor, on a photo assignment at the Annual Coldwell Banker Upchurch Realty BBQ (PHOTO BY MARIA CARDARELLI).

taking photos at events, grocery shopping, and running errands. Now, cancer took over and we had to do everything based on what was best for Eleanor. We devoted our time to making things work and came up with a system where my husband would come on the weekend after work. And thank God for technology! We would video chat until we all fell asleep; this became our new life. It was just like the survivor stories I heard from other parents at the childhood cancer events. They talked about how everything was normal one day and bang! There they were in the hospital with a child with cancer. Everything they mention was just as described and I was thankful for all the resources I knew before embarking in these heavy shoes.You start to miss birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and you can’t go some places because it is considered a health-risk.You have to rely on others for support, and while most times it was a blessing, it also a burden. I recalled one particular time when someone walked in to visit after Eleanor had her Lumbar Puncture and she was still asleep. They announced themselves with pride of how they were related to Eleanor. I smiled that they cared so much, until they said the words, “I should probably not say this…. but my friends said Leukemia is the good cancer.” My childhood friend sat across from me with her husband, with her mouth and eyes wide open.

I was not even sure how to respond, thinking maybe I was just being sensitive and were trying to be positive. I will be the first to tell you NO CANCER IS GOOD and I thought maybe this would just end of just something that was not said as intended. As we returned home, people started commenting on Eleanor’s weight and how FAT her little body was. I carried a smile regardless; we just wanted to be back to “normal.” Then strangers started approaching us with phrases like: “She’s too heavy for you,” or “Why is your child not walking?” or “Look at the fat little baby,” or “Why is she crying like that, you spoil her too much,” or “Can’t you just take her yourself, it’s only Leukemia,” or “So, and so had Leukemia, and they’re fine.” And others who we knew on a personal level couldn’t comprehend why we needed the emotional support. Eleanor had reverted to an infant-like state and she needed constant care. Even her siblings would go the extra mile to accommodate simple needs like getting her a fresh pacifier, grabbing gloves for us to change her diapers, and helping feed her cat that she called “Poopsie.” This was our new life and it affected each and every one of us in our own way. Our eldest son Vincent became more mature. Lauren, our oldest daughter, became more silent. And Owen just wanted more attention. My husband and I would fall asleep from complete exhaustion. It was a non-stop marathon of juggling new personalities. And we started hurting financially; my husband had to miss work to take us to Atlanta and back for chemo and it was devastating psychologically and physically. The further Eleanor went into treatment, the more people would say something about her appearance. They would ask “Why is that boy wearing a bow?” or “She looks like a boy with those knee pads.” Others would give us dirty looks and sometimes even followed us around stores commenting loudly and thinking the worse of us. I literally pulled us away from public places; I realized people do not like “different” and not everyone was like us. We were used to being around people with disabilities, and as a person who also has a disability with hearing impairment; I always called myself handy-capable. Nothing could stop me from doing what I loved, until cancer hit me in the face. Cancer is not shy of religion, sex, or ethnicity. What is it that sets us all apart as individuals? What is really considered “normal?” Do we judge people base on their appearance and not their personality? Call me crazy, but sometimes disabilities can be internal and you would never know until you meet an individ-

ual. Other times it’s more obvious, and then you have people like my Eleanor. Her face has gone back to normal, but people are afraid that she’s different. Just because of knee pads, or no hair, a bump on her chest where her port is, and how she waddles when she walks. That’s not who she is. She’s more than that! She smart, funny, artistic, beautiful, and is caring. This is temporary, it’s like breaking an arm and eventually it heals. When coping with something out of your hands, you struggle, you bite your tongue, and you avoid contact with the public. So, we took another approach and used my photography skills for people to see my Eleanor for who she is. We took photos and called the shoot “NO HAIR, DON’T CARE.” She became confident and started embracing her new look. We even rubbed her head for good luck and compare it to a kiwi. We surrounded ourselves with people who wanted to be there for us; we distance ourselves from others, and eventually, she became a new person with a little of her old-self. I hope after you read about our journey so far, that the next time you see someone that you may consider “different,” to just smile or not acknowledge the situation at all. Being different could be a personal choice or it could be a life altering experience due to a medical condition. We just do not know.You have to have empathy, start listening, ask questions, and if you want to go the extra mile, just be there. Eleanor and I have found a new meaning and understanding to life. I hope she never loses her confidence, and she continues to be compassionate to others.You can catch her trying to sing with the St. Joseph choir at mass, playing with the children at SJS, taking photos with mommy, meeting famous people, or cheering with the North Oconee Titans 9U, even if she’s technically only an honorary member. She has never been excluded. It really takes a village to raise a child, but you have to find the right tribe to succeed. It doesn’t have to be cancer – people discriminate and critique what is unfamiliar and what is not considered “normal.” And perhaps sometimes when that little voice inside our heads says, “I should probably have not said that,” we should think before we put more burdens on someone walking a difficult road in life. We have two more years left of treatment. While we have found a method that works for us, we hope that others learn about empathy and compassion from our story. ■ Sally Gustafson is the Spotted Coordinator for the Athens Banner-Herald, freelance photojournalist, wife, and mother of four. Keep up with Eleanor Gustafson at facebook.com/BraveBabyLady. www.athensparent.com 19

20 Athens-Oconee Parent




Consider these great camps that Athens and Oconee County – and throughout Georgia – have to offer children of all ages during the summer! We have tried

Guidebook Alice DePass Studio of Dance 706-769-1177 www.depassstudioofdance.com

June 4-6: 9:30-11 Belle’s Dance and Acting Camp, ages 4-6 June 11-13: 9:30-11 Tinkerbell’s Ballet Camp, ages 2.5-3.5 June 18-20: 9:30-11 Cinderella’s Dance and Acting Camp, ages 3-6 June 25-27: 9:30-11 Elsa and Anna’s Dance and Acting Camp, ages 3-8 July 9-11: 9:30-11 Rapunzel’s Dance and Acting Camp, ages 3-6 July 16-18: 9:30-11 Moana’s Dance and Acting Camp, ages 3-8 July 23-26: 9:30-11:30 Poppy’s Pop Jazz Dance Camp, ages 5-8

Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Camps

www.accgov.com/1604/Summer-Camps Registration takes place online at www.accgov.com/leisure beginning Saturday, April 7 at 9:00 a.m. for ACC residents and Monday, April 9 at noon for Non-residents.

Athens Little Playhouse

706-521-4454 Information: alps.camps@gmail.com Registration: athenslittleplayhouse.net Choice of 9 weeks from May 21-July 27. Theater day camp for kids ages 5 and up. Week concludes with a performance for families. Siblings discount.

Athens YMCA Camp Kelley 706-543-6596 office@athensymca.org athensymca.org

Is your child ready for the best summer ever? Camp Kelley is the longest running day camp in our area and we are proud to say that camp

has served many generations over the past 82 years. We are excited to offer your child an unforgettable summer experience. We have carefully designed our camp to provide age appropriate activities that are sure to help your child(ren) develop both mentally and physically. Join us for an amazing summer!

Camp Southern Ground

678-561-9600 scott@campsouthernground.org southerngroundsummercamp.org At Camp Southern Ground we believe in helping to grow more good into the world. We also know that families all across America want their kids to grow into good people. Yet today with our kids stuck behind screens, being bullied in schools, or just struggling to fit in and be themselves, goodness can seem hard to find! Camp Southern Ground wants to be the place where your child can have good fun, eat good food, connect with good friends, and learn the confidence to go put more good into the world. During summer, Camp Southern Ground hosts campers for week-long residential camps from June 17- July 27. As an inclusive camp, we serve children ages 7-16, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races and religions, with programs that challenge, educate, and inspire.

Canopy Studio

706-549-8501 Information: ann@canopystudio.org canopystudio.org Unique trapeze and art camp for rising kindergarteners through teens. Weekly starting May 21-July 27 (no camp week of July 4). No experience necessary. 9am-12pm daily. $175 per week, $149 per week for additional child from family or multiple weeks. Aftercare from noon-3pm also available some weeks for additional $100. Registration form at canopy studio.org/classes/camps/.

to iclude the important information for each camp. However, due to changes that may have occured after press time, please call individual camps or visit their web sites for the most up-to-date details.

Club Spark! Summer Art Camp www.annpedenjewelry.com

June 4-7, 11-14, 25-28 and July 9-12, 16-19, 23-26 Each session is 4 fun-filled days of making art, painting, ceramics, arts & crafts, and jewelry. Taught by Valerie Johnson and Lisa Backs. Monday-Thursday, 9:30am-3:30pm, for boys & girls ages 6 and up. Included: instruction, art supplies, free camp t-shirt, snacks and a pizza lunch on Thursday’s (bring your own lunch Mon-Wed). $300/session or discounted price of $250/ session if preregistered by April 1st (sibling discount of $25). Register at Ann Peden store or via email annpedenstore@gmail.com. Payment must be received to reserve spots.

Double Helix STEAM School

706-521-5477 • office@doublehelixschool.com https://doublehelixsummercamp.word press.com/ • CAMP TALLASSEE June 4-8 Suitable for campers age 9-15, this week long venture is a deep-dive into the summer woodlands: fundamental camping skills; earth studies; and campcraft and games along with traditionally inspired archery. The session concludes with an overnight campout. Some camping supplies required. COST: $275. • JOURNALISM CAMP June 11-15 Students will learn how the news works (media literacy) and then become reporters themselves to produce written articles, photojournalism, and short broadcast news pieces. COST: $275. Appropriate for rising grades 5th-9th. • STRANGER THINGS CAMP June 18-22 Campers will design and create a giant demogorg puppet then bring it to life, taking at least 6 to 8 campers to operate. They will learn to code Christmas lights to spell out messages and exercise their green screen skills in an updated AV club. COST: $275. APPROPRIATE FOR RISING GRADES 2ND TO 9TH.

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Summer Camps

Guidebook • COOKING CAMP June 25-29 Learn how to cook in our commercial kitchen. Students will learn new recipes and techniques and have plenty of outside time so they can balance healthy and delicious eating with lots of movement. COST: $275. APPROPRIATE FOR RISING 2ND TO 9TH GRADES. • CHOCOLATIER CAMP July 2-6 Hand temper and make chocolates, sample chocolates from various regions and learn about their farming practices and climates. Experiment with techniques such as molding, dipping, and making centers. Registration fee includes all supplies needed. COST: $240 NO CAMP 7/4. APPROPRIATE FOR RISING GRADES 4TH TO 9TH. • HARRY POTTER CAMP July 9-13 Teaching muggles how to be wizards! House sorting ceremony, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Herbology, and Care of Magical Creatures classes. Dress as your favorite character every day or wear your Harry Potter inspired clothing. COST: $275. APPROPRIATE FOR RISING GRADES 4TH TO 9TH. • IT’S ALIVE! CODING CAMP July 16-20 We will begin with the basics of coding, then use a problem solving model and our coding skills to teach students that they can use their devices to be creative instead of passive consumers. COST: $275. APPROPRIATE FOR RISING GRADES 2nd to 9th. • SCULPTURE CAMP July 23-27 Visit public and private sculpture studios, museums, and art galleries.You’ll sketch as individuals and execute a group project on the grounds. Registration fee includes all supplies. COST: $300. APPROPRIATE FOR RISING GRADES 5th to 9th. • ADVENTURE CAMP July 30-Aug 3 All field trips, all the time! It’s the last week before (most) schools start, so we’re going to cram every day full of adventure. We will take day trips to museums, swimming pools, Sweet Olive rescue farm, and more. Registration fee includes admission to all sites and a camp t-shirt. COST: $300. APPROPRIATE FOR RISING GRADES 3rd to 8th.

Exploring the Earth Summer Camp

706-224-4495 • exploring1earth@gmail.com www.exploringtheearth.org Exploring the Earth is a nature-based visual and performing arts STEAM program for kids ages 5-12. Our mission is to foster a connection and

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Summer Camps

Guidebook appreciation for nature, science, art and folklore from around the world.We conduct science experiments, wildlife and environmental studies, engineering challenges, perform plays, engage in games and create artwork to explore the world around us and beyond! June 4-8 or July 2-6: Lovely Land! The week includes animals, their nests and tracks, local plant and tree identification earthquakes and seismology, painting with nature brushes, soil, caves and more! June 18-22 or July 9-13: Wonderful Water! Activities include the water cycle, salty and freshwaters, Suminagashi Painting (Japanese technique of floating ink in water), oil and water painting, Archimedes’ Screw, and water currents. Design, build and test a mini raft from natural resources. Make an Ocean Layer Flip book... and more!

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June 25-29 or July 16-20: Super Sky! Activities include clouds (Cloud in a Jar Experiment), the sky, building your own rubber band-powered helicopter, make your own sundial, sun print art, constellations, tornadoes (design and build a model house to withstand our fan)...and more! All Camps are Monday-Friday, 8:30-2 pm, $200 per week @ Little Rose Nature Adventures (2421 Elder Mill Rd, Watkinsville, GA)

Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia www.gshg.org

Few things are as memorable for a girl as going away to camp for the summer. While she may not remember exactly how this rite of passage made her more responsible and independent or how it gave her an apprecia-

tion for nature, she’ll know it did. And she’ll remember sleeping under the stars, making s’mores around the fire and singing silly camp songs in the warm breeze with her new friends for years to come. • HORSE DAY CAMPS Mon June 4, 8 am-Sat June 16, 5 pm Girl Scout Little House, Columbus, Ga. • SUMMER CAMP SESSION 1 Mon June 04, 3 pm-Fri June 8, 3 pm Camp Tanglewood, Augusta, Ga. • SUMMER CAMP SESSION 2 Sun June 10, 3 pm-Sat June 16, 3 pm Camp Tanglewood, Augusta, Ga. • SUMMER CAMP SESSION 3 Sun June 17, 3 pm -Fri June 22, 3 pm Camp Low, Savannah, Ga. • HORSE DAY CAMPS Mon June 18, 8 am-Fri June 22, 5 pm Girl Scout Little House, Columbus, Ga. • SUMMER CAMP SESSION 4 Sun June 24, 3 pm-Fri June 29, 3 pm Camp Martha Johnston, Lizella, Ga.

Harmony in Motion Summer Performing Arts Camp Camp runs weekdays from May 29-June 8 from 9am to 5pm for all kids ages 9-18. During these nine days, we spend our mornings learning choir, dance, drama, and a musical instrument. In the afternoons, we will be rehearsing the Kids version of a Broadway musical, to be performed at the end of camp on the evening of June 8th! The cost of camp is $300 per child for the two weeks. Each child can bring their own lunch or lunches can be added for an additional $45 per child. To register, or for more information, go to harmonynmotion.com. We’ll see you at camp!

Karate Oconee

706.548.2178 borderstaekwondo@gmail.com www.KARATEOCONEE.com Each day is full of safe and fun activities designed to challenge and educate. During the week, campers will take part in a variety of activities, including: Taekwondo, Games & relays , Arts and crafts, Movies and Group activities. Camp hours are Mon-Fri from 7:30 am - 5:30 pm. Full Day, Half Day, and Single Day options. Session 1: JEDI Camp - June 4 - 8 Prepare for a fierce battle to find out who really is a Jedi Warrior! Session 2: NERF Wars Part I - June 25 - 29 Let the Battle Begin! Our Most Popular Camp so RSVP quickly! Session 3: Ninja Turtle Camp - July 9 - 13

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Summer Camps

Guidebook Learn each Turtle’s weapon of choice and learn the art of Turtle Power! Session 4: NERF Wars Part II - July 16 - 20 Let the Battle Continue! Our Most Popular Camp so RSVP quickly!

New Moon Summer Adventure Camp Travel to different locations throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Activities include hiking, swimming, boating, ropes course, trips to museums, farms, zoos and much more! Ages 6-12. $175 per week covers all activity and travel expenses. Operating weeks of June 11-15 and June 18-22 and July 9-13 and July 16-20; from 8:30am-5pm. Contact Cindy Jones at 706-310-0013 to register.

OCAF Summer Art Camp

706-769-4565 • www.ocaf.com SUMMER ART CAMP: Three 2-week sessions beginning June 4, June 18, and July 9. Designed for children ages 5-12 with a keen interest in art and a desire to learn more. Each session consists of one week of clay and one week of painting & drawing. Camp is held Mon.-Fri. from 9 am - 12 pm, Mon.- Fri. at the School Street Studios facilities in Watkinsville. Campers Exhibit at the end of July. $230 members, $240 non-members. (includes materials, t-shirt & light snack.) TEEN ART WORKSHOP: Three week-long sessions beginning June 25, July 9 and July 16. For ages 12-18. 9am-12noon, Mon.-Fri. Study under advanced artists. $100 members + $20 materials, $110 non-members + $20 materials.

Oconee County Parks and Recreation www.oconeecounty.com/ocprd • 706-769-3965

“Around the World in 10 Weeks” - Summer day camps, sports camps and so much more! Registration begins Mon., April 16. Camps run from May 22-July 27, 7:30 am - 6 pm.Visit www.oconeecounty.com/ocprd for details. Live Active!

More Summer Camp Details and Updates at

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Summer Camps

Guidebook The Preschool Academy

706-353-8183 the.preschool.acad@gmail.com www.thepreschoolacademy.com May 21 - August 10 Ages: 4-12, Cost: $140/Full-Time and $120/ Part-Time. Activities Include: water play, field trips, special visitors, cooking activities, science experiments, archery, valley games, gardening, music classes, and more!

Prince Avenue Christian School 678-726-2320 abentley@princeave.org www.princeave.org/campus-life/ summeratprince

Join the fun this summer at Prince Avenue Christian School where we learn to work and play The Wolverine Way... by honoring God, pursuing excellence and discipling students! We offer 12 different camps for rising Kindergarteners through 12th grade.Visit http:// www.princeave.org/campus-life/summeratprince for more details and to register.

Pump It Up STEM Camp

Information: www.mathmindworkshop.com Registration: 706-613-5675 June 4-8 and June 25-29 Ages: rising 1st - 4th graders Get ready for another amazing STEM summer! MathMind Workshop has 8 years of experience in exciting, engaging, exploration-based STEM camps written and taught by certified teachers with STEM experience and training. Our curriculum is aligned to the Georgia Math and Science Standards (GSE) and provides over 180 minutes of STEM activities a day. We conduct science experiments, build engineering projects, apply math skills, and experience the science of bounce as we investigate topics such as force, motion, gravity, elasticity, energy & transfer of energy, magnetism, rebound angles, anti-gravity, and more. With open jump time built in, this week will ignite your child’s love of science. Space is limited, register today. 9am-2pm, $200. For a grade exception, please contact Vonae Tanner at 678-718-8068

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Pump It Up Camp

706-613-5675 www.pumpitupparty.com/ bogart-ga/ Discover, explore, invent and imagine! Pump It Up camps are high-energy, fast-paced and just fun for kids.Themed camps run by local teachers. Call the store for our summer schedule. Check our website for Open Jump times for ages 11 and under or 5 and under.

Rush Athens STEM Camp 706-548-4470 RushAthens.com

Come enjoy jumping at Rush while you learn STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Treehouse kid + craft

www.treehousekidandcraft.com/ 815 W. Broad St., Athens, GA 706-850-8226 May 21-25 SUPERHERO + FANTASY, 10am1pm ages 4-6, $150 STEAMSTER CAMP, 2-5pm ages 8-12, free radical labs, $160 May 29-June 1 (NO CAMP MEMORIAL DAY) A BUG’S LIFE, 10am-1pm, ages 4-6, $125 BRAVERY + KINDNESS CAMP, 2pm-5pm, ages 8-12, $125 June 4-8 DOLLHOUSE DESIGN, 10am1pm, ages 4-6, $180 ANIMAL VILLAGE + ACCESSORIES, 2-5pm, ages 6-8, $170 June 11-15 BLABLA ANIMAL CAMP, 10am1pm, ages 4-6, $170 NATURAL DYEING AND TEXTILE EXPLORATION, 2-5pm, ages 8-12, $150 June 18-22 FAIRY AND NATURE ART,10am1pm, ages 4-6, $150 STEAMSTER CAMP, 2-5pm, ages 6-8, $160 June 25-29 MODERN ART, 10am-1pm, ages 4-6, $150 PERRY HOTTER AND THE TREEHOUSE OF FIRE, 2-5pm, ages 6-8, $160 July 2-6 CAMP & SHOP BREAK

July 9-13 LATIN AMERICAN ART,10am1pm, ages 4-6, $150 WOMEN IN ART, 2-5pm, ages 6-8, $150 July 16-20 STEAM KIDS, 10am-1pm, ages 4-6, $160 SUSTAINABLE SEWING, 2pm5pm, ages 8-12, $160 July 23-27 CREATIVE CREATURES, 10am1pm, ages 4-6, $150 DOLLHOUSE DESIGN, 2-5pm, ages 6-8, $180 July 30- August 3 EXPLORER + ADVENTURER CAMP, 10am-1pm, ages 4-6. $150 PHOTO CHALLENGE CAMP, 2-5pm, ages 8-12, $160

Summer at Athens Academy

706-549-9225 summer@athensacademy.org www.athensacademy.org There’s something for everyone ages 4 to 104 when you spend Summer at Athens Academy! From six weeks of day camp to special camps in the arts, athletics, technology, and more, this is the place to be!

United Team Sports Center Summer Sports Camp 706-850-3100 Info@utscenter.com UTSCenter.com

May 21-July 27 Sports Camp - basketball, baseball, volleyball and other team sports. Ages 7-14 Years. Developmental thru advanced skills and development of team sports. May 23-July 27 Sports Sampler Camp - basketball, football, gymnastics, baseball, soccer, and more team sports. 7:50am-4:00pm.

Wild Intelligence

706-614-7818 info@wildintelligence.org www.wildintelligence.org Wild Intelligence Forest School offers a variety of summer camp nature connection options for ages 4-17. ■ www.athensparent.com 29

’til we meet again

Kids love to see their picture, and you’ll love the keepsake! Send your photos and info to facebook at Athens-Oconee Parent Magazine

Tyler, 8

Cooper, 4, and Chloe 5 1/2

Harlin, 8

Lilia, 9, and Aurora, 4

Stephen, 10

Charlotte, 11, Claire, 6, and Payton, 3

Kylie, 5

Troop 12105 Daisies - Back Row: Amy (Co-leader), Abby 5, Kylie 5, Sheriff Scott Berry,Vivian 5, Nessa 6, Paige 5, Jaylene (Co-leader). Front Row: Emma 6, Ava 5, Caroline 6

Lauren, 5

Asa, 14, Porter, 11, Rin, 12, Decklin, 5, Shya, 9, and Jaden, 16

Please support our advertisers who make this FREE family resource possible! ACC Leisure Services 29

Double Helix STEAM School 24

Newell Orthodontics 13

St. Mary’s Health Care System 2

Alice DePass Studio of Dance 24

Exploring the Earth 26

Oconee County Parks & Recreation 25

Treehouse kid + craft 22

Athens Academy 24

Funopolis Family Fun Center 32

Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation 22

United Team Sports Center 27

Athens Dentistry for Children 3

Georgia Dept. of Public Health 9

Preschool Academy 27

Waugh & Allen 17

Athens Family Vision/Dr. Springer 9

Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia 27

Prince Avenue Christian School 29

Wild Intelligence 26

Athens Little Playhouse 25

Girtz for Mayor 4

Pump It Up 31

Women’s Center of Athens 3

BGR Construction 13

Harmony In Motion 28

Rush Trampoline Park 20

Women’s Healthcare Associates 11

Canopy Studio 28

Linder & Linder Family Dentistry 11

Southern Ground Summer Camp 23

YMCA Camp Kelley 27

Clarke County School District 15

Manning Brothers 9

Spark Summer Art Camp 28

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