Students in Kelly Gregersen’s dramatic literature class have been begging him to select Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker” as an upcoming play.After a year spent rallying fellow classmates, the student-led production will open this weekend. “A lot of the senior drama students asked for the show,” Gregersen said. “When the kids keep requesting something, it really brings a nice energy to the piece.” The musical is set in 1880s New York City and Yonkers, where grouchy store owner Horace Vandergelder refuses to let his niece marry the poor artist she loves. Meanwhile, he himself is tired of being lonely and plans to re-marry, using the talents of local matchmaker Dolly Levi, who is scheming to wed Vandergelder at the same time she pretends to find him a suitable bride. The story is the basis for the musical, “Hello, Dolly!” which ran for years on Broadway and is still one of its longest-ever running shows. “It’s a really cute story,” said Gregersen. “If people like, ‘Hello, Dolly!’ they will know the characters, and the story will be very familiar.”
Just when you thought fall would stretch on endlessly, November hits.This month typically kicks off a flurry of holiday bazaars for those looking for one-of-a-kind gifts. During the next month, several bazaars are coming to churches, schools and civic centers. Local shoppers will have the chance to help local non-profit groups, support the local economy, buy handcrafted items and have fun. For the environmentally conscious, there is a bazaar featuring recycled and reusable items.
It’s close to midnight Something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark Under the moonlight You see a sight that almost stops your heart You try to scream But terror takes the sound before you make it You start to freeze As horror looks you right between the eyes You’re paralyzed ‘Cause this is thriller Thriller night These lyrics to Michael Jackson’s 1982 mega-hit “Thriller,” are some of the best known on the planet. And every year, performers from around the globe, including a group from Camas, participate in “Thrill the World,” an international dance event and world record breaking attempt, in which participants simultaneously emulate the zombie dance seen in the music video. Sarah and Steve Bang began what has now become an annual tradition in the Lacamas Shores neighborhood, by participating in “Thrill the World.” Not wanting to limit their dancing to just one performance, the group also puts on a show for neighborhood trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. “We practice and practice and practice, and just don’t want to stop doing it,” Sarah said. “We also started doing it on Halloween night because if we didn’t, the festivities would go until midnight here. It’s a very popular place to trick-or-treat. This makes it fun for the kids and no one feels bad about turning their lights out at 8:30 p.m.”
Fall is in the air, and with that comes Halloween — the spookiest of holidays. Special events and activities are happening throughout the month, most geared toward kids, but at least one has some adult fun in mind.
The sounds of delighted children intermixed with the aroma of Dutch oven crisp and the smell of fresh air at Camas Camp-n-Ranch Saturday. For the fifth year in a row, the ranch offered hayrides, horse rides, pumpkin bowling, crafts, a forest walk, homemade apple cider, dutch oven apple crisp and other events to celebrate the Halloween season. “I love looking over the crowd and seeing happy faces,” said owner Tina Goodnight. “It is a place for families, and kids of all ages.”
Raina Kennedy has always loved Halloween.Since she was a little girl, growing up in Staten Island, New Jersey, with eight brothers and sisters, she has eagerly anticipated this time of the year. Her favorite costume was a mermaid that she made at the age of 11. “I remember most the fun we had getting ready to go out: Finding the costume and pulling it together with my brothers and sisters,” Kennedy said. “The late nights of trick-or-treating with a pillow case cover was another highlight.” Now, she helps other families find just the right costume for their child. “It is so much fun to dress up and create,” said the 37-year-old Camas mom of three. “My kids and I love playing with costumes.”
You could say that cooking is a career for Heidi O’Connor, but that might be selling it short.O’Connor, of Vancouver, lives and breathes the culinary arts at The Kids Cooking Corner, a school that teaches children, “the art and joy of cooking.” The 45-year-old mother of three opened the school three years ago, when she realized her son didn’t know how to make a box meal because he didn’t understand how to measure ingredients. “The schools don’t have the budgets for home ec anymore, and with parents having full-time careers, it is challenging to find time to teach kids in the kitchen,” she said. O’Connor speaks from personal experience. She balanced a full-time career in the restaurant industry and then in sales while raising her family. She was searching for a new business to start when the idea for a cooking school came about. “A light bulb went on,” she said. “Why not teach other people’s children how to cook? You get to a point in life where you start wondering, ‘What am I really here for?’ This was the answer.”
When asked what he enjoyed most about Camas, Michael Wagener, mayor of Wissen, Germany, said “the people.”“It’s the contact with the people that is most rewarding,” he said. “When you come to another country, you can learn a lot of things by listening. We can learn how a city gets a vision, and comes up with ways to make it happen.” Wagener needed no translator to communicate his statement. He speaks fluent English. He was part of a Partner Cities delegation visiting Camas. The group arrived on Sept. 13, and included professionals from the cities of Krapkowice, Morawica and Zabierzow in Poland; Lipova Lazne in the Czech Republic and Wissen, Germany. The official partnership between Poland and Camas has been in existence since May 2004, when then-Mayor Paul Dennis signed a declaration of cooperation with the intent to: “Seek to establish and develop effective cooperation between the towns’ communities, institutions and trade. We are aware that this cooperation is a major factor in popularizing and promoting our town and that it opens up new perspectives for European and transatlantic integration.”
While some teens were spending their summer kicking back with friends, others were working up to 40 hours per week in professional internships. These students, from the CHS Math, Science and Technology Magnet program, worked at internships ranging from designing a program at Underwriters Laboratories to spending time in the operating room of a plastic surgeon’s office, to measuring the health of local waterways. The internship program was spearheaded by CHS Magnet teacher Ron Wright and community volunteer/business organization developer Chad Stewart four years ago, as a way for students to gain real-world experience in potential future careers before going to college. Students are paired with businesses or experts in various fields and also had mentors.
It has been said that if one wants to broaden their perspective on life, volunteering is the way to begin. Several local teens are doing just that by making a difference in the lives of homeless animals. Eric Hou, Malini Naidu and Julia Bedont, all of Camas, participate in the Humane Society for Southwest Washington’s teen volunteer program. With only 30 spots available each term, and approximately 80 applicants, it’s a highly competitive process. Hou, 16, was motivated to apply because of his love for animals. “I have a dog of my own, so it really made me want to help animals who don’t have a home,” he said. “They really need love and attention.”