The talents of the community will be in the spotlight in the coming months as The Tribune-Democrat launches two exciting features.
One will showcase your photography skills, and the other will explore topics such as courage and wisdom through the eyes of local young people.
If you’re a camera bug, get ready to have some fun, have a chance to win prizes and get your work published in the newspaper, on the Web and through social media.
And watch for the insights of youngsters, who will share their experiences through stories, pictures and poetry.
Through the lens
This new weekly feature was the brainchild of local freelance photographer Ron Shawley and the Laurel Highlands Historical Village.
Ron shoots for StormChasers, which is connected with AccuWeather, and his weather images appear in our pages and on our website occasionally.
Ron said: Why not get more people involved with the newspaper and celebrate the many talented shutterbugs in our region? I said: Great idea.
We met with Ron and Paulette Baker from Laurel Highlands Historical Village and mapped out a plan.
Readers may submit photos monthly in four categories: history, landscapes/nature, family or community events and weather (of course!)
The images will be judged in two age groups: adults and youth (under 18), and two winners will be announced and featured each Monday in the paper and online.
The winners will receive prizes and also will be showcased on the Facebook pages of The Tribune-Democrat, the Historical Village and AccuWeather.
We’ll run a slideshow of various submitted images each week, so nobody will get left out.
The Laurel Highlands group is especially interested in promoting the region’s heritage in pictures.
“There’s so much history in this region,” Shawley said, “not just in Johnstown but also in the communities around it.”
Baker agreed: “There’s a lot of history here. You just have to look for it.”
So, we’ll start with history.
Please submit your images of historical sites around the Cambria-Somerset region by Jan. 26. We’ll publish the winners on Feb. 2.
Send those pictures to: Photo@tribdem.com or by traditional mail to: Photo contest, The Tribune-Democrat, P.O. Box 340, Johnstown PA, 15907.
The next topic will be weather – snow and ice abound! – with a deadline of Feb. 2 and winners announced Feb. 9.
Watch for more details on this fun weekly reader-participation series.
Children shall lead
On Jan. 25, we’ll debut a new monthly feature on our Sunday Living front.
Working with Tranquility Gardens and the Goodwill GoodGuides mentoring program, we’ll showcase the creativity of local young people who are involved with GoodGuides’ camera and writing clubs.
Other key players include Steve Purich and Tresa McVicker of Tranquility Gardens, Goodwill photography leader Jill Marsh, Penn Highlands Community College humanities instructor Wes McMichael, and Pitt-Johnstown creative writing professor Eric Schwerer.
They’ll be gathering stories, photographs and poems produced by area youth and coordinating the monthly pages with our news editor, Renée Carthew.
The January edition will be an introduction to the programs and the series, with Purich, McMichael and Schwerer contributing columns.
Then each month, the kids will explore different themes found at Purich’s Tranquillity Gardens in the teachings of Plato, Confucius and other great thinkers from history.
What do local young people’s experiences in and around Johnstown tell them about compassion? About wisdom? Or strength?
Some of these bright youngsters’ work was on display recently at Art Works in Cambria City.
If you saw those photos and read those verses, you know this will be powerful and thought-provoking material.
Look for their insights on the last Sunday of every month.
Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat and www.TribDem.com. He can be reached at 532-5091. Follow him on Twitter @MinemyerChip.