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Here's a wrap up of a few of the biggest and best Easter egg hunts coming up in the Tuscaloosa area. Time to grab those Easter baskets and get out to enjoy these events!

UA Panhellenic Association Egg Hunt

The UA Panhellenic Association will be hosting their annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 29, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the President’s mansion.

Children ages 12 and under are invited to come out and hunt for Easter eggs this coming Sunday. There will be plenty of photo ops with a visit from the Easter bunny and face painting stations. Refreshments will be provided by Bama Dining, the event will go until 4:00 pm or until the last egg is found. Parking is available behind sorority row, for more information visit www.uapanhellenic.com.

 

Junior Belles Easter Egg Hunt

The Junior Tuscaloosa Belles are proud to announce the return of the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 29 from 3-5 p.m. at the Battle-Friedman House and Gardens. This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to spend time with old and new friends and neighbors at one of Tuscaloosa's premiere historic houses.

This year our Easter Egg Hunt features games and prizes, visits with the Easter Bunny, refreshments, and a petting zoo from Tuscaloosa Barnyard. Following the Hunt, we will have a raffle for the adults.  It's fun for the whole family! Please bring your own basket. Admission is $5 per adult; the first two children are free – and it’s $2 for every child after.

 

EasterFest

First Wesleyan Church presents EasterFest, a city-wide celebration on April 4 from 10 a.m. to noon at Snow Hinton Park. Each year, this event has grown – and now, thousands participate. People from all walks of life, from all over Tuscaloosa can come enjoy all sorts of fun activities for free. 

Now in its seventh year, EasterFest is are once again expecting around 4000 people to come and enjoy free family fun. Well over 300 volunteers work to make this day happen. More than 25,000 eggs will be a part of the largest Easter egg hunt in Tuscaloosa. There will also be games, inflatables, a rock climbing wall, live music, free food, a petting zoo and more.

The Easter egg hunt begins promptly at 10:30 a.m., and parental supervision is required.


By Allison Adams

 

Ah, the sounds: buzzing bees, boats in high gear across the glassy water working hard to warm itself in the sun. And as I write this, a different buzz of the Blue Angels as they prepare for their weekend show. ​

Spring brings with it thoughts of hope, revival, and change. 

The bulbs I planted in the dead of winter are now peeping their way through the still-cold soil. They didn't wait to see what the weather was going to do. They knew, as designed, that it was time for them to burst forth and push their flowers to the surface.

Perhaps God knew how these cold winters might drive us nearly to the breaking point, offering little hints of life throughout the trees so that we might "hang on" for warmer weather. 

Rooted trees planted deeply into the soil are now displaying tiny caterpillar-like buds of color on the once smooth, ice-like limbs. 

Spring is upon us, and after the winter we have had, I too am relieved that I can get outside more and spend less time in front of the fireplace (although that has its perks too). I pull out my Pinterest boards, which I notice, even when perused during winter, share ideas for open, cool, spring-like spaces. Hours of daydreaming in front of my iPad of colorful changes I might add to our decor are evident - and inspiring. 

It is spring when we put away the heavy, furry blankets. It is also the time "spring fever" occurs, making us ready to go, to do, to make a move, and to splurge! I, as a Realtor, have been eagerly working to help change-seekers find their match.

Spring is when I get most inspired to write and paint. The same scenes of winter begin to change; They take on a new life, color, and movement. 

Spring is when we start making plans to hit the lake, a beach, a park. It’s also the time we possibly panic about the quickly approaching bathing suit weather, spurring us to hit the outdoor running trails in addition to the gym.

Spring is when festivals beacon us to enrich our minds, our walls, our stomachs with new things. 

On April 11, there are a number of great excuses to get out and proclaim your stake in spring. Runners: Join the Will May 5K Run, which this year will be at Sokol Park in conjunction with The Tuscaloosa Association of REALTORS Bark in The Park at the Will May Dog Park. 

On that same day, The Druid City Arts Festival is going to be in full swing, with art, music, food and plenty to get you inspired for spring.

Get your shorts out of the bottom of the drawer, pull out your flip flops, grab your dog (they’re washing dogs for a world record at Bark in the Park, and couldn’t “Fido” use a good bath?) and get ready to have some spring fun.

Be sure to open your windows all the way down and celebrate life, spring and creativity before the April rains begin to fall.

And I hope you will come see me at the DCAF and see what spring has inspired me to create! 

Blessings from Lake Tuscaloosa,

Allison Adams

 

Photo: Allison Adams

On Being Mr. Mom

28 Mar 2015

A monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.”

When it comes to the everyday tasking of raising girls, I like to believe that the Missus and I evenly distribute the wealth even when it comes to determining outfits and the styling of hair.

Admittedly, she is far superior when it comes to matching tops and bottoms andfar more intelligible when it comes to girlie fashion trends (Confession: I thought “chevron” was just a gas station).

But the better half of our Dynamic Duo of Love is an accountant, and when tax season hits, the resident authority on little girl fashion and etiquette is spending long hours at the client office. As a result, Mr. Mom is resurrected.

Although there is always room for improvement, I believe my ponytail skills to be quite advanced. And I see nothing wrong with some sparkly jeans and a bedazzled shirt everyday of the week.

What I did not grasp early on was the importance of the underpants. And as the girls get older, panty style apparently becomes an integral part of an outfit - even though nobody sees it.

Attempting to understand this logic is an act of futility, like trying to explain why my underwear is categorized as “gross,” even when clean, and their underwear is considered “cute,” even when dirty.

Regardless, problems demand resolve.

The older daughter’s issue was quelled with relative ease. Through a secret, back-room deal with a nice lady at Target I was able to secure the “day-of-the-week” panty pack, which included an unwritten manual on which panties to wear on any particular day.

This solution is only complicated when the “Wednesday” panties get lost in between the washer and dryer, or when the “Friday” panties get put in the wrong drawer. Subsequently, an APB is issued, and a search party is dispersed to find the fugitive panties.

The little girl selection is a bit more involved and is most likely enhanced due to the buffet of characters available. This includes, but is not limited to: Dora, Sophia, Doc McStuffins, Peppa Pig, and of course Anna and Elsa.

Trying to figure out women is one thing. But attempting to discern the mood of a four-year-old girl through panty character selection on a daily basis is impossible. The circumstances surrounding the factors that lead to the decision of “Today is a Dora kind of day!” is a case study in itself.

The resolution is obvious: We must eventually scale back the menu. But for this tax season, the battle of the underpants is on. My money is on Elsa, at least for tomorrow.

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.    

      

Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica.

Photo: Sony Pictures

The West Alabama Leadership Prayer Breakfast is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14. This marks the 17th year for the event, which will be held at the Bryant Conference Center on the University of Alabama Campus.

The Prayer Breakfast was established in 1999 as follow up to the Franklin Graham crusade and seeks to stimulate, enhance, sustain and nurture Christian leadership in the public and private sectors of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama. The Prayer Breakfast committee is comprised of local marketplace and spiritual leaders.

This year’s keynote speaker is Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, author of God Less America and Dispatches from Bitter America.

 

Doors will open at 6:30 a.m. at the Conference Center; the program begins at 7:15 a.m. and will last until 8:30 a.m. A full breakfast buffet will be available for all guests. Individual tickets are $25.

For more information about the Prayer Breakfast, call coordinator Nicole Bohannon at (256) 335-0323 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The annual “Stand Up for Autism” fundraiser for Arts ‘N Autism is set for this Thursday, April 16, at the Bama Theatre. Arts ‘N Autism is a Tuscaloosa after-school program and summer camp for children with autism spectrum disorder, and “Stand Up” is one of the group’s largest yearly fundraisers.

As a local organization, Arts 'n Autism provides a support system for children, adolescents and young adults in the Tuscaloosa community with autism spectrum disorder, and their families. Program director Voni Wyatt says fundraisers like this one allow the organization to provide financial support as well.

“We have never turned away a child, who qualifies for our program, due to inability to pay. Thursday's event will be filled with fun and laughter but most importantly will provide an opportunity for Arts 'n Autism to share about what we do, why it is so important and how you can help.”

Comedians Tim Statum and Deno Posey will perform at “Stand Up for Autism,” along with local comedian Brad Fisher and Max Karrh, who will emcee. Statum has a southern style humor and incorporates real life stories of growing up in the country with classic stand-up comedy. Posey brings his own unique brand of humor that is hilariously relevant and reverent. He points out the funny side of everyday life that we all experience, but seldom talk about. Fisher and Karrh are members of the Tuscaloosa Comedy Group and have been entertaining Tuscaloosa audiences for years.

The doors open at 6:00 p.m. with food and a cash bar. There will be a silent auction and raffle along with entertainment by the band Sweet Kick. The Comedy Show will start at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are available online at www.artsnautism.org and at Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe, Hudson Poole Fine Jewelers, Downtown Gallery and Confetti Interiors. For more information call (205) 247-4990.

By Chloe Monte

Who doesn’t love a great food festival? Fortunately for those of us who live in Alabama, we’ve got a ton of great ones to enjoy. These are some of my favorites – though it can be tough to choose. From barbecue in Huntsville and Birmingham to excellent food and wine in T-Town (and beyond), mark your calendars and prepare to be amazed.


UA’s Greek community partnered with Habitat for Humanity for the annual all-Greek service project.

The University of Alabama Greek Week, held last month, fostered friendly competition among campus fraternity and sorority organizations, but more importantly it will have a lasting impact on the Tuscaloosa area. All total, $101,000 was donated to over 30 different area non-profits. All total, UA Greeks contributed 1200 hours of service to the community.

 

Greek Week consisted of competitions between fraternities and sororities, including bowling, basketball, dodge ball and a dance competition. The highlight of the week was a service component, in which UA’s Greek community partnered with Habitat for Humanity for the annual all-Greek service project.


 Mark Mayfield was working as the executive editor of Southern Accents magazine when he made a bold inquiry to one of America’s most beloved authors ever – Nelle Harper Lee.

“I wrote to her, asking if she would consider writing an essay on southern photography to coincide with an exhibit we were featuring,” Mayfield said. “This letter is her wonderful response. She declined, but it’s the nicest turndown I’ve ever had.”

This letter exemplifies Lee’s charm and eloquence.

Students in Tricia Schuster’s art class at Holy Spirit Catholic School recently had the opportunity to learn all the different ways engineering is used to create Automata Artwork. Local artist Chris Davenport demonstrated pieces of her work to show the students they move by cams and crank power or pull strings. The students will get hands on experience by creating their own Automata designs in art class.

Photo: Laurie Mitchell


By Cokie Thompson

The storms that blew through Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, had come and gone in a matter of hours, but residents have spent the years since trying to get back to normal. On January 6, the students, faculty and staff of Alberta Elementary School began a new routine on their old stomping ground--now The Alberta School of Performing Arts.

 

Principal Brenda Parker is excited to be back in Alberta.

 

“We looked at video clips later, and everyone--every teacher, every child--talked about a homecoming,” Parker said.


Josh Watkins, Attorney

Watkins Law Firm LLC brings real world experience to the table for their diverse clientele. With offices in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, they have the capability to handle cases in a variety of practice areas, including the following:

  • General Civil Litigation in all State and Federal Courts,
  • Business & Corporate Law,
  • Real Estate, and
  • Wills, Estates & Trusts. 

Full Name

 Joshua M. Watkins, esq.

Job Title

 Owner/Attorney with Watkins Law Firm, LLC

Current City of Residence?

 Birmingham, Alabama

Family (Names & Ages)? 

 Wife: Ann Watkins, Daughters: Emma (11) and Ella (7)

What is your educational background?

 BS in Accounting, University of South Alabama; Macc, University of Georgia; Juris Doctor, University of Georgia School of Law

Where did you grow up?

 In Oneonta, Alabama as a little boy and then moved to Birmingham in 4th grade.

What was your first job?

 Janitor for Law Lamar (CPA)...he was my basketball coach and it was actually a lot of fun.

Why did you choose your profession?

It seemed to be a logical choice that would be a good career, plus we did personality tests in school and it was always one of my top recommended careers.

In 10 years you’ll be?

 Hopefully, I will still be helping people build and maintain their businesses and legacies.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

 Check my email and calendar.

What’s a hot topic in your industry?

 With the baby boomer generation retiring or thinking about it, succession planning is an important topic for many business owners.

What’s the most influential book you’ve read and how did it influence your career?

 I've read a lot of business books, but probably Steven Covey's 7 Habits is my favorite.

#1 item on your bucket list?

 Play in a PGA event.

What’s the first website you check in the morning?

 Gmail, then I usually check our Facebook statistics.

If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

 As a younger man I wanted to be a professional golfer.

What’s your guiding business principle?

 Find a way to be helpful.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 Do your best and leave the results up to God.

What keeps you up at night?

 Processes...I'm a big fan of developing processes and since I work with so many new/small businesses they are always in short supply.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

 I have a bunch, but I really enjoy restaurants that use fresh ingredients. I'm a big fan of the Farm-to-Table movement.

What’s your favorite local or professional sports team?

 Roll Tide!

 

  • Click to enlarge image WLF-logo.jpg
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Website:
www.watkinslawfirm.com

Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone:
(205) 529-5723

 


Jim Page, President and Chief Executive Officer

Jim became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama on January 1, 2012. He is responsible for management of the professional staff and has oversight of all Chamber programs. Jim serves as lead spokesman for the Chamber on all public policy issues, economic development projects and strategic community initiatives. He represents the Chamber’s interests to the media, community leaders and elected officials as well as through active involvement in local, state and national organizations. Jim works directly with the Chamber’s Board of Directors, Executive Committee, foundation and political action committee.

Full Name

 Jim Page

Job Title

 President and Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama

Current City of Residence?

 Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Family (Names & Ages)? 

 Wife: Sara,   Daughter: Elly (6)

What is your educational background?

 BS in Political Science from the University of North Alabama

Where did you grow up?

 Born in Huntsville, Alabama, then in grade school I moved to a family farm in Grant, Alabama.

What was your first job?

 Had some young person odd jobs, but first real job was working as the sole staff member of a Lucy Baxley campaign as a loaned employee from Fine Geddie and Associates.

Why did you choose your profession?

I was always interested in politics and public policy, then after transitioning into a government relations role within a Chamber, I found out I loved the other aspects of the job.

In 10 years you’ll be?

I don't think about it a whole lot.  I feel like there is a plan for me and I don't want to close the door on anything. My career with the Chamber is an example of that.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

 Check my email and then get a cup of coffee, really just regular stuff.

What’s a hot topic in your industry?

 With the societal demographics changing, staying relevant and connecting with the newer generation.

What’s the most influential book you’ve read and how did it influence your career?

Its an obvious one, but the Bible.  It addresses and applies to so many different situations in life.  I also really like John Maxwell's leadership books.

#1 item on your bucket list?

 Even though I don't like to fly, I wold like to travel and see the world.

What’s the first website you check in the morning?

 Twitter, since I can check several news sources all at once with it.

If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

 Something in politics, since that was where I started.

What keeps you up at night?

 Having a child and wanting to make sure she has all her needs met...spiritual, physical and emotional.  I'm replaceable in the office, but that little girl only has one daddy.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

 ***(note) I didn't ask this one since I figured that was a loaded question for Jim :)

What’s your professional sports team?

 New England Patriots, although I'm not a die hard professional sports guy.

 

 

Website:
http://www.tuscaloosachamber.com

Email:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone:
(205) 391-0562

 


Ken Gaddy, Director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum

Ken handle the direct operations of the museum and is dedicated to the collecting, display and research of the history of University of Alabama sports.

The Paul W. Bryant Museum opened its doors to the public October 8, 1988. The museum exhibits artifacts and memorabilia that trace the long history of University of Alabama football. State-of-the-art displays enhanced by videos highlighting great players, plays and games are produced from the museum's archives.

Full Name

 Kenneth Gaddy

Job Title

 Director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum

Current City of Residence?

 Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Family (Names & Ages)? 

 Wife: Scarlett, who is a teacher at Hillcrest Highschool. Son:  Michael (25)

What is your educational background?

 BS in Biology and Geology from the University of South Alabama

Where did you grow up?

 Born in Thomasville, Alabama

What was your first job?

 At 14, I worked in a veterinarian's office.

Why did you choose your profession?

It sort of choose me.  I worked for National History and it led me into this position.

In 10 years you’ll be?

 Still be here. [Good Lord willing.] Right.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

 Check my email and then I check the exhibit hall to make sure it is ready.

What’s a hot topic in your industry?

 The digital world and how you manage it. We have 20,000 films and another 10,000 tapes, so how to move it all into digital, preserve it and pay for it is a huge challenge.

What’s the most influential book you’ve read and how did it influence your career?

"How to lie with statistics"...it was for a class and it really was all about understanding data.

#1 item on your bucket list?

 That's easy, visit the Grand Canyon.

What’s the first website you check in the morning?

AL.com

If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

A veterinarian...all the way back to that first job.

What’s your guiding business principle?

 Don't ask anyone to do something that you aren't willing to do yourself.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 Choose your battles carefully.

What keeps you up at night?

 Very few things, I'm not really a worrier.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

 (After a pause) Bob's Victory Grill

What’s your professional sports team?

 Atlanta Braves

 

 

Website:
http://bryantmuseum.com

Email:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone:
(205) 348-4668

Bobby Bragg, CPA with Jamison Money Farmer PC (JMF)

JMF is Alabama’s seventh largest CPA firm with three offices in Alabama, was founded in 1920 by the late Carl C. Jamison, one of the first Certified Public Accountants in the state. JMF employs over 90 professionals and support personnel, including 14 shareholders. JMF serves privately held businesses and their owners, government and not-for-profit organizations and individuals in Alabama and throughout the southeast with a full range of accounting, tax, estate, trust and international advisory services. JMF was recently recognized as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Alabama and by the American Institute of Certified Accountants as one of the 500 largest firms out of 44,000 in the United States.

Full Name

 Bobby Bragg, CPA

Job Title

Director of Practice Growth and Marketing; CPA with JamisonMoneyFarmer PC

Current City of Residence?

 Birmingham, Alabama

Family (Names & Ages)? 

 Wife: Amy; Daughter: Becca (10) who is in 4th grade at Rock Quarry and Son: Beau (6, in 3 weeks) who is at Rise

What is your educational background?

 BA and Masters in Accounting, University of Texas

Where did you grow up?

 New Orleans, Louisiana, born and raised. Graduated from St. Paul in Covington.

What was your first job?

 First real job was at TCBY, but my brother and I used to cut lawns for $8 or $10 if was added edging.

Why did you choose your profession?

It really choose me. It was recommended to me by a Professor that would be a good career, plus it was a really good program and I just never left the field.

In 10 years you’ll be?

 I will have a child in college and one driving, so I will have a head full of gray hair.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

 COFFEE, and that stops about 2pm.

What’s a hot topic in your industry?

 International markets and growth, plus direct investment from those markets too.

What’s the most influential book you’ve read and how did it influence your career?

 Most recent was "Go Giver" and the most influential was "Liars Poker", I've probably read it a dozen times.

#1 item on your bucket list?

 I don't really have one. If I really want to do something, then I set a plan and get it done.

What’s the first website you check in the morning?

 Wall Street Journal.

If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

 (Pause) I don't really know.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Do the right thing...whether anyone is looking or not.

What keeps you up at night?

 Kids...sometimes its actually them in the bed, but not that often anymore.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

Five.

What’s your favorite local or professional sports team?

 New Orleans Saints!

 

Website:
www.jmf.com/

Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone:
(205) 345-8440


Andrea Mayfield, Ph.D., President

Shelton State Community College is part of a state system of public colleges. This system originated in the Alabama Trade School and Junior College Authority Act enacted by the state legislature in May 1963.

Shelton State Community College was established by resolution of the ASBE on January 1, 1979. That resolution combined two existing institutions: Shelton State Technical College, established in 1952, and the Tuscaloosa branch campus of Brewer State Junior College, an institution whose main campus was located in Fayette, Alabama. The Tuscaloosa branch campus of Brewer State had been in operation since 1972.

Full Name

 Andrea Mayfield, Ph.D.

Job Title

 President

Current City of Residence?

 Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Family (Names & Ages)? 

 Husband:George; Children: Michael (32), Kelly (28), Alex (26)

What is your educational background?

 BS in Biology, Livingston University; Masters of Arts in Teaching, University of West Alabama; Doctor of Philosophy, Mississippi State University

Where did you grow up?

Livingston, Alabama

What was your first job?

 Dental Hygienist Assistant for my Grandfather

Why did you choose your profession?

I always loved school and education.  I started teaching after I got my degree and then I knew.

In 20 years you’ll be?

 Governor

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

 Say good morning to everyone and ask about their weekend/evening, then I unpack and I'm ready for the day.

What’s a hot topic in your industry?

 It depends on your perspective, but right this instance it is budget, since we are in the middle of the legislative session.

What’s the most influential book you’ve read?

 The T.H. Kelly Handbook, "The Little Green Book"

#1 item on your bucket list?

 I'm not unhappy with things and I try to address them as I go.

What’s the first website you check in the morning?

 It depends on the day...mostly weather and national news, then email.

If you had to choose another career, what would it be?

 Politics

What’s your guiding business principle?

 Always do the right thing...and for the right reasons.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 be patient

What keeps you up at night?

 Generally issues that revolve around money.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

 That's a loaded question, I'm a foodie and have a bunch. It really depends on the kind of food...I like Jalapeno's, Side by Side, Chuck's, Evangeline's...really there are a lot.

What’s your favorite local or professional sports team?

 [New England] Patriots

 

 

Website:
www.sheltonstate.edu

Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone:
205.391.5880


By Marlena Rice

Mercer Mayer and his wife Gina could not have summed up a parent’s late night frustration any better than in their popular children’s book, Just Go to Bed. In the book, one in the Little Critter series, Little Critter attempts to bypass bedtime by becoming a robot, a cowboy and even a space cadet flying to the moon, all before finally giving in to his stuffed animal and bed. Does this sound familiar?

 

After countless nights of waking up after midnight after having fallen asleep on one of my living room couches with my son, not only do my back and neck hurt into the early hours of the morning, but I find myself wondering who in their right mind would air cartoons on TV after 8 or 9 p.m. The people who make this call must not have children, but, if they do in the future, I’m sure they will come to believe in karma. As my son nears age two, I’ve had to get creative when it comes to television rules and bed time.

Here are a few tips...

By Mike Green

Before I talk a little about parenting teenagers, please allow me a minute to share part of my story.

In the winter of 1983, I walked through the doors of the old Campus Life Teen Center off of 15th Street. It was a building I had been in as a kid when it was the Southern Grass Tennis Academy. I had spent many summers swimming in the pool and playing pinball with other youth my age. Now, as a college student, I was drawn back to these familiar grounds. That night I would meet a guy named Perry Liles. Perry was a volunteer with Campus Life and had invited me to learn more about what the organization was doing for area high school students. That night I began to learn the nuts and bolts of Campus Life, but what really impacted my life was the people I met.

 

Though I couldn’t quite label what this ragtag group of teenagers and adults had going for them, I sensed something unique. And I wanted to be a part of it. So, what was it that made this group so inviting? Yes, they were Christians, and that resonated with me. I had given my life to Christ in junior high. And this group gave me the opportunity to live out my faith. But there was more. They were fun. Campus Life in my college days was some of the most fun I have ever experienced. Trips to Gatlinburg, Scream in The Dark, Burger Bashes, the electric chair and more are the most vivid memories I have of my college days. But that wasn’t really it either. So what is it that made Campus Life, Campus Life?

There is one word that keeps coming to mind when I think of the people and relationships I made in those days, and it is “authentic.” These people were real. So much of my teenage and college years before Campus Life seemed to lack any of the honest relationships that I so eagerly desired. Many friends seemed focused on impressing me with the drinking escapades. My committed Christian friends wanted me to believe they were perfect and somehow had “arrived.” But here, I found others like me who were still trying to figure life out and were honest enough to say so. This place created a safe environment for teenagers and young adults to actually have honest conversations about life, God, church, and whatever the controversial issues were of the day.

I wish every person could experience what I found in Campus Life. I can’t imagine my life without these very special years of college. They have laid a foundation for my life and, of course, have a whole lot to do with why I still am a part of Campus Life 32 years later.

So here is my point: Help your teen find this authentic, safe, honest, challenging, and fun place to lay a foundation for life. Create this place at home. Find a youth group or youth ministry that will do the same. In doing so you will change the course of your child’s life.

Mike Green is Executive Director of Tuscaloosa Youth For Christ/ Campus Life. He and his wife, Laura, have two grown children.

Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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