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Washington County Arts Council takes storytelling event to Girls Inc.

July 31, 2008|By ANGELICA ROBERTS

HAGERSTOWN -- When youngsters didn't turn out Wednesday for an Around-the-World storytelling session sponsored by the Washington County Arts Council, Stephanie Bickford took the event on the road.

The storytelling activity was scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. at University Plaza on West Washington Street, but when no children showed up, Bickford made a phone call and took the storytelling to Girls Inc.

"If we don't get an audience, we take the story to the kids," said Kevin Moriarty, the executive director of the Washington County Arts Council (WCAC). "Sometimes we get 80 kids, and sometimes only one."

Moriarty said the arts council has been hosting storytelling since the 1960s.

"It's another piece of our mission to serving our commuinty," Moriarty said. "We bring the arts and a level of literacy to audiences of all ages."

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After a crowd of 30 to 40 girls ranging from kindergarten to third grade were situated on a carpet in the back room of the Girls Inc. building, Beckford began to read "Tops and Bottoms."

The story, which is about a family of busy gardening rabbits who outwit a lazy bear, received a thumbs-up from most of the kids.

"I thought it was good for the kids to hear, and they liked it," said Kelsey Winans, 17, a Girls Inc. volunteer.

Bickford encouraged participation throughout the story by asking the kids questions and having them make faces imitating the characters in the book.

One active participant in the storytelling was Cadaen Wilds.

"I read all kinds of books," 7-year-old Cadaen said. "My favorite part of the book was when rabbit tricked bear."

The storytelling session came to an abrupt stop as the kids prepared to leave for a field trip to PetCo and the park.

Makena Berry and Jurnee Carroll, both 6, said they looked forward to taking part in another storytelling activity.

"It was fun," Jurnee said. "Maybe next time, we can read Dr. Seuss. That's my favorite."

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