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Youths have fun while learning at Renfrew in Waynesboro

May 26, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Alex Jackson, 11, has concluded that "bananas rock," a decision that has nothing to do with their taste or nutritional value.

Instead, the assessment came after watching the fruits peak to 100 volts in a test at the 19th annual Youth Festival at Renfrew Park.

"We're connecting wires to fruits and vegetables and things, then connecting them to a voltmeter," said Alex, of Greencastle, Pa.

Alex and his new friends participated in "Sputterin' Sparks!" on Sunday to explore electricity in a tribute to Benjamin Franklin. They learned about static and electricity produced by batteries.

Danny Stoner, 11, led the effort to connect all the produce with copper wires and paper clips, bringing the total charge to 150 volts.

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Many of the activities at the festival were designed to coincide with "The Industrious Mr. Franklin," a production from The Traveling Lantern Theatre Co., according to Tracy Holliday, a Renfrew Institute staff member who coordinated the event with a committee of three community volunteers.

"There's some real opportunities to go back in time," Holliday said.

Crafts filled the lower lawn, kayaks bobbed in the stream, and the theater company and Waynesboro Children's Theatre Troupe performed on the back lawn. There, families spread out on blankets or settled into lawn chairs for the shows.

"It's a great day to lay back in the park and catch some rays, listen to some music," Holliday said.

Alex and his friends most enjoyed the kayaks.

"We've actually missed the kayaks for several years, and we're really excited to have them back," Holliday said.

"It was awesome," said Colton Walker, 10.

"It was fun. I got my butt wet," said Tyler Shue, 9.

The boys became amateur Benjamin Franklin experts through their school readings and the presentations at the youth festival.

"Ben Franklin used prestige in France to convince the French to join the war with America in (the 1700s). Thanks to them, they helped us take Yorktown, which won us the war," said Grant Sanders, 10.

"He used to swim while flying a kite," Alex said.

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