By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Emma Crumpton, daughter of Amy and Joe Crumpton, and Smith Wolford, daughter of Lesli and Bubba Wolford, are both raising money to help fund what each girl said is an exciting learning opportunity. The Starkville Academy students have been chosen to participate in the People to People Ambassador Program and travel to Canada next summer to act as representatives of Starkville and north Mississippi.
According to its website, People to Peopleâs mission is to bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange, making the world a better place for future generations. The program offers what it calls extraordinary, life-changing educational travel opportunities for students, educators and professionals.
While in Canada, the girls will have the have the honor of joining in a drumming and dancing circle with the Piikani Nation. They will meet at Mountie and learn about the organizationâs history, interact with wildlife and marine biologists, study daily life in a Hutterite colony, learn how to make an obsidian arrowhead from a renowned archeologist, go behind the sceneâs in Victoriaâs Parliament, sing sacred songs inside a sweat lodge and spend the night in a teepee. The girls will also have the opportunity to go on a whale-watching expedition in the San Juan Islands, howl with the wolves at the Northern Lights Wolf Center and visit the bones of Albertosaurus, a cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The educational subject matter afforded the students will cover paleontology, anthropology, geology and glacier formation, First Nations heritage, Canadian colonial history, marine biology, sustainability and ecology.
Lainie Anthony, who teaches computer skills at Starkville Academy, is the North Mississippi Delegation Leader for the trip.
âThe students who are chosen to go on this trip will learn so much about the history, culture and people of Canada,â Anthony said. âThey take quizzes and do a project in preparation for the trip, so it wonât be like the girls are just going as tourists. This is an educational travel organization, so the students do a lot of pre-travel work in order to get to go on the trip.â
Anthony said the trip will teach the girls responsibility and maturity.
âThey have to learn to pack; theyâll have to keep up with their own things. Theyâll have to get up each morning and be ready to participate in the different program activities,â Anthony said. âItâs pretty advanced for kids their age, but thatâs why they were chosen. They have to be nominated by a teacher or an alumni delegate of the program in order to be considered for the trip.â
Anthony said the students who go on these trips come back with a new level of confidence.
âThey have to do things that challenge their self expectations, such as rappelling off a cliff, so when they come home they have all of these new experiences under their belt,â Anthony said.
Anthony said being accepted into the program is quite an accomplishment, and sheâs very proud of both girls.
âThe students have to complete an interview process and submit three letters of recommendation to be eligible to be chosen,â Anthony said. âTheyâve worked hard for this opportunity.â
Emma Crumpton, 11, has been making and selling various baked goods and bracelets in order to earn money to go toward her trip. For a $25 pledge, Crumpton will make a beaded bracelet using a Japanese braiding technique called Kumihimo and will send one of these to contributors in their favorite two colors. For a $50 pledge, Crumpton said she will send a bracelet and a post card from Canada.
âFor a $75 pledge, in addition to a bracelet and a postcard, I will send you a digital scrapbook of my travels,â Crumpton said.
Crumpton said she loves science, and is most excited about the whaling trip.
âWhen I grow up, I want to be a marine biologist,â Crumpton said.
Crumpton is currently selling her bracelets and baked goods on a website. Her goal is to raise $2,500, and so far she has raised $725. Those interested in donating to her trip can visit http://http://peerbackers.com/projects/emmas-trip-to-the-frozen-north/, or they can call Crumptonâs mother, Amy, at 662-617-4702 to purchase baked goods.
Smith Wolford is raising money for the trip by selling her art work. She is also looking forward to a trip to another country.
âI want to go and learn about new cultures, and about how different people in the world live,â Wolford said. âIâm particularly interested in other peopleâs customs.â
Wolford, 12, said she has been selling her paintings and notecards to help fund her travel expenses. So far sheâs raised about $1,500. The girlsâ trips each cost well over $5,000.
âI love to paint,â Wolford said. âI want to be an artist.â
Those interested in Wolfordâs paintings or note cards can call her mother, Lesli, at 662-769-8783. The note cards are $15 a dozen, the small canvas on foam board paintings are $60 and the canvas on stretch board are $125.
Each of the girlsâ moms said the girls were both eager to earn money to help with the expenses.
âAlmost all of the delegates nationwide raise money to fund all or at least part of their trip,â Anthony said. âItâs a big part of the total learning experience.â
For more information on People to People Ambassador Programs, please visit http://www.peopletopeople.com/AboutUs/Pages/default.aspx.