Macon Citizens Group: Leadership Night

Written by Chardae Caine, AU Community and Civic Engagement Capstone Student.

Notasulga LeadershipOn Monday, March 31, 2014, I hosted a Leadership Night at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Notasulga, Alabama.  The event was held from 6:00-7:30 pm.  Students from Macon County gathered to have dinner, and they spent the remainder of their time working through an exciting leadership curriculum that focused on improving teamwork skills. Immediately following dinner, the group played Kum-cha, which was a five minute ice breaker. The game is a mind teaser in which you have to pay attention to the person who has the “power” for those few seconds in case they hand the “power” to you.  After that, we moved on to Kerplex, which is a team-building Legos game.  The students were randomly divided into three groups. The game required that each group select at least one person to play each role.  The five roles were leader, communicator, collector, builder, and observer. The game’s objective was for each team to build a Lego toy based on a premade toy. Notasulga Leadership 2However, the game requires each player to fulfill a different role. The leader was the only person who got to see the pre-made toy.  The communicator was supposed to get information on how to build the toy from the leader and then pass it on to the collector and builder.  The collector’s job was to gather parts from a mock store based on the information.  The builder’s job was to construct the toy with the parts he or she received and the directions given from the communicator.  The observer could see everything, but could not speak. Each group had its own strategy, and each got relatively close to the pre-made toy. Each team worked together to achieve its goal.  The game was not about getting the toy exactly as the pre-made one looked, but about working together to complete a task.  After the game was over, I distributed some candy for the students to take home as a keepsake.

Notasulga Students Work to Connect School with Community (April 1, 2014)

Written by Blake Evans, AU Graduate Assistant.

Notasulga students met on Tuesday, April 1, to collaborate on their community garden and outdoor ecology classroom project.  The students collected four wooden pallets, which were donated by Vulcan Materials Company in Notasulga PlanLoachapoka.  The pallets will serve as planters for flowers and vegetables.  Additionally, the students began sketching plans for how they believe the finished space should look.  One of those plans is seen in the picture to the left.

The students have also thought about how they plan to design one of the mosaic tile benches.  They want to spell the word “UNITY” across the seat of the bench.  They selected that word because it reflects a value that Notasulga students Notasulga stonecherish.  Furthermore, the students plan to begin work on stepping stones soon.  To do so, they will go to different classes in their school to lead younger students through the process of creating unique stones.  The picture to the right is an example of what some might look like.

Big Event at the Lee County Historical Society

Big Event 1Community and Civic Engagement (CCE) Fellow Kaleb Kirkpatrick organized a group of Auburn University students in order to help the Lee County Historical Society (LCHS) with a list of projects. The group participated in the Big Event, Auburn’s volunteer day for faculty, staff, and students. The group assisted LCHS with building benches, putting up a fence, and setting up the base of a water tower.

Big Event 2LCHS has volunteer opportunities for anyone on the second Saturday of each month. Contact Charles Mitchell at if interested in volunteer opportunities or check out the website at In addition students can minor in CCE, for more information visit Big Event 4

Big Event 3

Notasulga Students Work to Connect School with Community

Students at Notasulga High School are working to develop an outdoor space that will connect their school and community.  Watch and listen as they explain the project plans.

Appalachia 2014: Wednesday

Some pics from Wednesday:

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Appalachia 2014: Tuesday

Some pics from Tuesday.

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Appalachia 2014: Monday

IMG_0922Pruden Cemetery stands in the middle of a coalfield, although at one time coal camp houses surrounded it.  Upkeep of the cemetery is difficult, since there are so few families nearby.  Our group picked up where Berry College and Berea College students left off last week.  The progress is amazing, and the work provides a nice opportunity to get some sun, burn some energy, and learn to navigate thorns. Gayle Huddleston told us that there is huge seam of coal under the surface, but families resisted offers from the coal companies to move the cemetery.  One section of the cemetery is known to be African American, but, sadly, only stones without writing mark the graves.

IMG_0934Gayle organized a hot dog roast for lunch to go along with the macaroni salad and desserts she prepared for our group.  For a few students, this was the first time to roast a weenie on a stick over an open fire.   The group worked hard, students and volunteers alike, and the progress shows.  Families who haven’t been able to locate headstones now have a chance to find them.  Cemeteries are a public space in this community, and the tradition of bringing flowers to graves on Memorial Day is still alive and well.  Marie Cirillo, founding director of CCI and community developer here since 1967, reminded us of that fact over dinner.

In the evening, we rode over to Henderson Settlement to watch our young, friend Ariana play her last basketball game of the season.  The red team played a good game, and Ariana’s personal cheering section displayed the same amount of enthusiasm and energy from the stands as the teams had on the floor.

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