Lessons Captured

WWU staff member teaches teens life lessons with cameras

By: Becky St. Clair

One of the photos taken by a student in Drake's class.

 During the summer, WWU staff aren’t just sitting in their air conditioned offices.  They’re getting involved in the community.

Chris Drake, Director of Media Design for the Office of Marketing and Enrollment Services at WWU, spent a week in Dayton, leading a group of teens at the Adventist Church’s summer program, Five Days in Dayton. 

The theme for the week was I.C.E., which stands for Intelligence, Character, and Enthusiasm.  Different from many Vacation Bible Schools, this one encouraged teens to participate, with a goal of preventing substance abuse.

Drake decided to use cameras to demonstrate the daily themes of creativity, responsibility, initiative, self-control, and patience to the attending teens.  Each student was given a camera, a roll of film, and a brief lesson in basic photography.  Then they were sent around the church grounds to capture the day’s lesson on film.

“Photography has many aspects, and it was fun to use it as a medium for both exploring possible careers for these young people, and also developing their characters,” says Drake.

The photos taken by the teens were entered in the Columbia County Fair.  Some received first place prizes, some were awarded second place, and others received third place.  A few were awarded the Fair Superintendant’s Award.

Drake was clear that his part in the program would not have been possible if not for Linda Nelson, chair of the Technology Department at WWU, and current students Maranda Norton and Landon Schnabel.  Also instrumental were Brian Hernandez, WWU alumnus, and Gary Hamburgh and Dan Shultz, previous WWU faculty members.

“It’s a great way to reach the kids in the community and show them possibilities they might never have thought of before,” says Drake.  “It really opened their eyes to a whole new world.”

To view some of the photos taken by Drake’s eager students, visit imagedrake.com/viewer/5days_film_gallery/.

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