MEIGS COUNTY — For more than 30 years, the Yesteryear program has been providing Meigs County children a hands-on approach to learning history. Fifth graders from around the county had the opportunity to do so this year at the Syracuse Community Center.
Volunteers from the Meigs County Senior Center demonstrated their crafts, and then helped the students in creating their own. The students chose from one of four crafts available, leather-working, tin punching and candle making, rag basket making, and cooking. All participants took home at least one finished project.
The students in leather-working went home with a leather bracelet and a coin purse that they worked themselves. The tin punching and candle making students left with a Mason jar lid ornament that they punched with a design of their choice and hand-made candles. The rag basket making students took the baskets they made with them. The cooking students took home rolls and bread that they made themselves, and enjoyed the chicken and noodles that they made under the guidance of the volunteers.
Students also are given a booklet on the crafts they complete, as well as a booklet on the history of Meigs County. At one point during the program, they watch a video made by Roger and Mary Gilmore.
The Yesteryear program began in 1985. At that time, it was funded through a grant to the RSVP program at the Meigs Senior Center. Volunteers would visit Meigs County Schools and demonstrated their crafts, which then included the above, plus embroidery and primitive stitchery.
Eventually, the program was reworked, and students began coming to the volunteers, first at the Meigs Museum for many years, and then several years at the Bradford Church of Christ. Currently, it is run entirely through the Senior Center, partnered with the Meigs County Council on Aging, and this year was the first year it was held at the Syracuse Community Center. The program is available for all fifth grade students in Meigs County, including home schooled children.
Each year there are about 13 days set aside for the program. Diana Coates, coordinator for Yesteryear, said that the program wouldn’t happen without the support of the community. It’s critical, in fact. The Syracuse Community Center has been especially helpful this year, both in allowing the program to be held there, but also in making certain that the volunteers have everything needed, noted Coates.
Coates was especially grateful for the volunteers, who gave up their time over several days to share their knowledge and skills with the students. The Chester Shade Historical Society also donated $1.50 per student, which helped to offset some of the costs of running the program.
Anyone who would like to volunteer for the Yesteryear can contact Coates at 740-992-2161, ext. 226. Volunteers must be 18 years of age.
Jessica Marcum is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.