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Connellsville library attempting to attract more teens

| Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011

The new director of the Carnegie Free Library in Connellsville has been developing the library's new Teen Scene Programs.

Casey Sirochman will bring two new 4-H clubs aimed at youth in grades seven through 12. The clubs will allow teens to explore possible careers and the second will encourage creativity through digital photography. "These are both exciting programs that will offer young people a chance to get together and explore their world, to see and experience things they wouldn't normally see or do," she said.

Both will meet monthly and offer youth a chance to "Express Yourself @ Your Library," the motto of the clubs. Students in the Connellsville Area School District or at Geibel Catholic Junior/Senior High School may join either or both.

Fayette County 4-H membership costs $15 per year and students may join as many clubs as they desire for that fee. Scholarships are available.

The Carnegie Career Club will use the 4-H guidebook "Get into the Act." The club will meet one evening a month.

The organizational meeting will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in the library board room.

"This is an extension of a program once held in Fayette County," Sirochman said. "All the members have since graduated and gone on to college and careers."

The club will allow members to research myriad aspects of future careers, including salary and job requirements. Depending on the career, they will be encouraged to make contacts with individuals practicing their selected career and shadow them on their jobs. Members will also have the chance to develop civic and volunteer work in the community closely related to their future project.

"We'll take field trips to local colleges: WCCC, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, WVU, the Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology and anywhere else they may desire," Sirochman said.

The former 4-H career club attended a youth leadership conference at WCCC and received a campus tour and description of programs offered. "The field trips will be both fun and learning experiences. Although it can be expensive, higher education is needed for many careers. Student loans and scholarships are available. We'll look at scholarship websites and have guest speakers to help the members write scholarship essays. Other speakers will teach leadership skills. Speakers will also discuss their careers."

In addition to touring local colleges, Carnegie Career Club members will have the chance to attend regional, state and national field trips.

Members may also compete at the Fayette County Fair by producing displays, videos, scrapbooks or other documentation of their career explorations.

Careers and career aspirations evolve with time. The former 4-H career club had only been open to high school students. "I wanted to bring it to the junior highs, too," Sirochman said. "They can grow with the club."

The Carnegie Camera Club will allow members to learn or broaden their skills with a digital camera. "Bring a digital camera if you have one, but we have some here from the former Steps to a Healthier PA program," Sirochman said.

The East End Community Center in Uniontown had a club through Steps, in which members learned about healthy and unhealthy food choices, read and photographed labels and foods and took at trip to Wal-Mart to photograph choices available and prepare digital collages.

"We'll suggest something similar and see if the youth are interested in that, or if they want to go in another direction. It will be up to them," Sirochman said. "My dream is seeing them create an informational digital scrapbook of Connellsville area history with programmed search and cataloging functions. We'll see what they want to do."

The informational meeting for the Carnegie Camera Club will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 5 at the library.

The Carnegie Free Library is located at 299 S. Pittsburgh St. Library cards are free and available to all residents of the Connellsville Area School District.

Attracting teens

What : Carnegie Free Library Teen Scene

Where : Carnegie Free Library, 299 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville

When : Carnegie Career Club organizational meeting 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2; Carnegie Camera Club organizational meeting 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 5.

Cost : $15 a year for one or more 4-H club memberships. Scholarships available.

Contact : Casey Sirochman, 724-626-1380 or via e-mail . Website .

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