BY DAN TAYLOR, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES PROGRAM COORDINATOR, THE HUB
The Adventure Tourism class at Boone Career and Technical Center and the importance of the Make it Shine program to the community.
Recently, some students we have worked with in Boone County, submitted this blog to us here at the Hub. We are very happy to be working with them and for them to see the value of the outdoors to their community for recreational tourism, for entrepreneurship, for community health and for quality of life. These students are ready to lead West Virginia into the future!
Boone Career and Technical Center (Also known as BCTC) is a technical school in Boone County. The school has a number of programs including Adventure Tourism. This particular class hosts several events, one of which is the Make it Shine project. The Make it Shine project is a biannual event in which students and teachers pick up trash along roughly six miles of roadway from Corridor G, to the other side of Drawdy Mountain.
The point of this event is to help better people’s views of our state and county. The entire school participates in the event and multiple different news stations cover it. The students take busses to different places along the road to pick up as much trash as possible. BCTC has different students for each half of the day. The first half are typically Juniors in High School. The second half are typically Seniors in High School. The first half cleans from Corridor G to the school grounds, while the second half cleans from the school to the base of the mountain. Many students participate in this event and enjoy doing things such as this for their community. Many students pick up multiple bags of trash.
The weeks prior, the Adventure Tourism class gets gloves, pickers, trash bags, and water for the students, along with neon vests to help insure their safety. There are people flagging traffic, and police are present to ensure that everything goes to plan. Safety is the top priority for the staff in regards of the students. Not only is this a rewarding day, but it is one of the few times that students at BCTC get to work together for a common goal. The students of BCTC are made up of students from Scott, Sherman, and Van High Schools, so it’s a rare occurrence for them all to work together. When it does, things get done quickly. Everyone that participates in the event makes an impact on the community for the better.
Written by students in Adventure Tourism, Micaiah Buzzard, Morgan Smith and Nate Miller
We believe that the Make it Shine program is amazing not only for everyone to be able to help the community, but to know that they made a difference. The main fault with this program is that we need to find out a way to prevent the trash from coming back. We can get the road looking nice, but a week or two later it’s already looking the same, which is very saddening. It’s a good feeling to clean the trash up but if people keep doing the same thing it will not help us. We need to devise a plan to want people to stop littering.
Written by Adventure Tourism students Brett Price, Dylan Koockogey and Mason Monhollen
Sometimes in life, the best lessons are learned while caring for others. To find one’s true worth, do not look for it in flashes of brilliance. Rather, look closer and you will find it hidden within the daily ledger of one’s work.
The Boone Career and Technical Center’s Adventure Tourism class is the only one of its kind throughout the state. The students, along with their fellow classmates at the Boone Career and Technical Center have adopted the six-mile stretch of highway from Corridor G to the East side of Drawdy Mountain. Throughout the year, you may see them cleaning the roadsides of Route 3 and the stream of Rock Creek, a tributary of the Little Coal Watershed. The entire school including students, teachers and service employees participates in the fall and spring cleanups on the creek and roadsides. The Boone Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Environmental Protection do a great job of slowing down traffic to keep everyone safe. The D.E.P provides us with the tools to remain visible and safe throughout the cleanup. The truck-driving academy helps us remove the trash immediately during the course of the events.
The students learn about the division of watersheds as they top the mountain at Drawdy. It is here that they enter the Big Coal Watershed. On the way to the top, they pass stone walls built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Safety concerning group projects, cleanups, teamwork, and communication skills are just a few lessons of the day. Perhaps the most important lesson of the day is the power of perception. The students will stop briefly to speak with a few hundred elementary students to discuss the importance of keeping the environment clean. Discussions of why people choose to litter can be overheard throughout the day and during these large group student conversations.
Our students have been doing stream studies with the elementary students for some time. The creatures at the bottom of the food chain that depend upon clean water to thrive, such as stoneflies, caddisflies, dragonflies, worms, snails and crawdads are studied. Students know that every living thing from the bottom of the food chain up needs an abundance of fresh water. The students can determine the overall health of the stream based on the types and numbers of creatures that they find within.
Economics becomes a new lesson in the form of stewardship, which also can teach us important lessons about ourselves. The study of the behavior of people shows us we can improve our community and the perception of our community—-attracting industry and providing a clean safe environment. Good schools, which we have, is also an important pull factor, but we must strive for more recreational opportunities indoors and out.
For every one dollar the state spends on tourism, the state receives eight dollars in return. Local businesses and homeowners send their thanks and small tokens of support to our students for their dedication to these cleanups. In order to attract industry and a growing tax base, we have to do better.
The perception of Southern WV is of the kindest, most hospitable people in the world. It is only after you have spent time here that you can fully appreciate the richness of this hospitality. When there is an opportunity to improve our community, we can depend on our students to rise to the challenge. When other’s perceptions about our community hinders our efforts, it is up to us to replace that perception with who we really are. The Travel Tourism class at the Boone Career and Technical Center is asking for your help in making Boone County a true tourist destination and a place where industry investors offering well-paying jobs wants to locate their families and call home.
Jaxson Miller, Senior. Boone Career and Technical student, Adventure Tourism