It's summer vacation for the kiddos and you're worried about two things: they're going to be bored and they're going to lose some of the ground they gained over the school year.
Problem solved. All you'll need to do is load up the young-uns and head for the Catoosa County Library. What's going on this summer is like nothing you've seen before.
"Our summer reading program," says Children's Coordinator Shannon Neal, "incorporates reading, art, crafts, games, parties, movies, entertainment, acting – and that's not all."
The library's reading program is open to all ages, infant through age 18. There are activities going on five days every week all summer long. Here's a small sampling: June 9, movie day for teens, Lego-time for the whole fam, and an after-hours lock-in for tweens; June 10, storyteller Kaye Rose for the entire family; June 14, Builda-Fort day and Nerf War for tweens; June 22, a science show by Doc Atom and a martial arts show; June 23, a Mad Hatter Tea Party for tweens and teens. There will be a Harry Potter party another day.
Running through all the fun is the theme of reading. Children receive reading logs to record their progress and are entered into drawings to win prizes and gift certificates.
Charts for prereaders provide suggestions to help parents make reading with their children more fun: "Play peeka-boo by covering pictures of people and animals in books; Adopt a stuffed animal pet and talk about how to care for it."
For older children, there's Reading BINGO. Each square on a BINGO chart suggests some reading topic or activity: "Read to your family; Read a book about a historical event; Read for one hour without stopping; Read a magazine; Have a reading party with friends."
"We want to challenge kids to step outside their usual reading habits and try new things," says Neal. "So we have suggestions about reading fairy tales, reciting poetry, reading about science, things like that. We want to expand children's horizons and get them excited about books."
Each child's Reading Packet also comes with certificates, bookmarks, stickers, ideas and a schedule of events.
For tweens and teens, there's not only the reading and the activities, which are cool enough, but there's the opportunity to help others.
"Our theme this year is 'Build a Better World,'" says Teen Coordinator Lexi Ettenger. "Besides the fun stuff we'll be doing, we'll be putting together bag lunches for a community outreach and doing a food drive."
Ettenger says the teens who come to library events regularly are great about volunteering. "A lot of our tweens and teens help with the younger kids – they read to them and help them with
To learn more about the summer reading program or the library: Web: catoosacountylibrary.org Facebook: facebook.com/catoosacountylibrary Email: Info@catoosacountylibrary.org Phone: 706-965-3600. Or show up in person. Library hours are Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The library is located at 108 Catoosa Circle in Ringgold.
crafts. We have one who does face painting."
Neal and Ettenger say they also have some excellent adult volunteers, as well as groups and businesses within the community that help out. Sponsors of the summer reading program include Friends of the Catoosa County Library, Modern Woodmen of America, McDonald's, Mayfield Ice Cream, McKee Foods and Lake Winnepesaukah.
There's still time for other businesses to become involved, says Neal. "We can use prizes for our drawings and we'd like to establish more relationships with our community."
Neal and Ettenger are both relatively new to the Catoosa County Library and are excited about their common vision and how well they work together.
After 10 years as children's coordinator for the Osceola County, Fla., library system, Neal moved to Catoosa County to be near her parents. "When the position at the Catoosa Library opened up, I jumped at it," she says. "This is what I love doing." She's been with Catoosa since September of last year.
Ettenger, who holds a degree in creative writing and literature from Lee University, has been with the Catoosa Library since January. "I worked for a while as teen and children's lead at Barnes & Noble," she says, "but this is where my heart is."
Both women are passionate about building library relationships with children that will make them into enthusiastic and lifelong readers.
Neal takes her storytelling skills into Headstart classrooms and daycare centers, as well as using them at the library. Last Wednesday, she says, 120 children showed up at the library for Story Hour.
Ettenger says 70 tweens showed up for a recent Harry Potter party and parents begged the library to do one for teens (it's on the schedule for this summer – for teens and tweens).
Neal and Ettenger's enthusiasm has even infected their own parents, all of whom volunteer at the library.
It's only been open for a week, but that hasn't stopped The Dapper Gentleman in downtown Ringgold from becoming a celebrated new go-to shopping destination for all things gentlemanly.
The shop, which is a throwback to the mystique of the classy gentleman, offers a variety of gifts and accessories that will be appealing to local fellas, especially with Father's Day right around the corner.
According to coowner Andrew Stone, he and his stepson, Daniel Morgan, opened the store to create a place unlike any other in the area.
"For several years, I've kind of had a dream of opening my own shop of some sort, and I've been a cigar smoker for years and years, and then my oldest stepson and I got to talking last summer about doing some sort of online cigar venture together," Stone explained. "As the holidays came and went, we talked more and more about it and finally incorporated our LLC back in January with thoughts of going online."
Stone said he was out running an errand one day when he saw the building space available.
"I just happened to recently see the 'for lease' sign in front of the building along Depot Street, called and found out it was owned by the city, and got to talking with them about opening this little shop," he explained. "They (the city) were excited and said they'd love to have
Co-owner Andrew Stone stands behind the counter at The Dapper Gentleman, a new shop in downtown Ringgold across from the historic Depot. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook) something in town geared for men."
Stone says he'd been teaching at the college level for the past few years, and decided it was time to shake things up.
"I just decided to cut the rope and jump, and then everything just kind of fell into place, and here we are," he said.
As far as inventory goes, the store has a little bit of everything.
"We've got a decent selection of premium cigars," Stone said. "We have popular and well-known brands, as well as a full line of cigar accessories with lighters, cutters, ashtrays, and travel cases. One of the big things nowadays is beard care, so my wife
The Dapper Gentleman
118 Depot Street in Ringgold, Ga. Hours: Monday - Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Closed Sunday. Phone: 706-247-1230 Website: www.dapgent.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/dapgent Instagram: @dapgent
and I did some research, and we've actually made our own. We have two different beard oil fragrances, leather goods, messenger bags, wallets, NATO watch straps, hats, fedoras."
Stone says he and Morgan wanted to offer some classy items that regular guys could appreciate.
"We are geared towards men without trying to be fancy," Stone said. "But by the same token, we're trying to cater to guys with more than just camouflage and boots. There's nothing wrong with those things, but we want to offer a variety."
The store offers a great vibe with its antique decor, old barbershop chair for guys to relax in, and artwork and posters that liven the place up nicely.
"We're getting a good response so far," Stone said. "We opened Saturday during the 1890s Day Jamboree, and timed that so we could hopefully get a little foot traffic over here, which we did."
The shop is open Monday through Saturday, but Stone admitted that they may open additional hours based on their location.
"A lot of the downtown shops close at five or six during the week, so we're going to be open until 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and until 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday to try to give people more time to shop here toward the end of the week," he said. "Being located across from the Depot, we can even try to stay open later if there's an event going on like a wedding or something. We want to be open so people get used to seeing us."
Eventually, Stone says he'd like to add a couple of lines of pocketknives, bowties, and other items in addition to hopefully opening up some shelf space for consignment.
"We want this thing to grow organically," he said.
One of the biggest draws to the shop is that Stone is a hometown guy who wanted to open a business right where he grew up.
"We thought about opening in Chattanooga, but the more we talked about it...Ringgold is home, so we wanted to see if we could make it work here," he said. "We're working on launching our online store within the next couple of weeks so that anything we have here in the shop will be available online as well."
More information about the new gentleman's emporium can be found on their website dapgent.com.