02 01 Cover to use for MARCH 3rd PUB PenHowdy folks! Truman the Dragon here from Kidsville News! I know you may be wondering why I am writing an article in the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper. Well, this is a first for me, but I have a very important message for the Fayetteville and Cumberland County community. You see, I created the Kidsville News! Educational Resource back in the day with my friend Bill Bowman and the assistance and guidance of Cumberland County Schools. Yep. My friend the Character Bear and I came to the Fayetteville and Cumberland County community at the very same time. Together and with the support of CCS and local businesses and educational sponsors, we have had the privilege of supporting Fort Bragg, Cumberland County and Hoke County schools for 23 consecutive years.

Pretty cool, huh? It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience providing this fun and valuable literacy and educational resource to the young K–5th-grade children, their teachers and parents. Now, summer is fast approaching! With all the lockdowns and prudent precautions our educational leaders are taking to protect our teachers and children's health and welfare, it is essential that these caring adults understand that children also need to have fun and recreation! So, my message is one of awareness for parents, teachers and the dozens of local Fayetteville and Cumberland County businesses, daycare centers, churches and nonprofit organizations that are considering hosting Summer Camps in 2021. These essential SUMMERTIME SANCTUARIES are more critical now than ever to develop a child's physical and mental health. I want to encourage every business and organization thinking about hosting a Summer Camp to know how vitally important it is to get their camp information and message out to families and the general public about what creative and exciting adventures await their children. Here's why: First and foremost - children need to have fun! They need fresh air outside of the house and away from their computer screens. They need to run, jump, play and socialize with their friends and children of their age. In other words, "kids need to be kids!" That's also why I want to remind teachers, parents and guardians that they are responsible and in full control of their child's health, development and happiness. I have tens of thousands of young friends, and it has been heartbreaking during the last year to see them sad, lonely and missing their friends and classmates. Unfortunately, that's not all they are missing. They are missing playgrounds, field trips, music venues, sports, theater. More concerning, they are missing way too many nutritious meals with healthy fruits and vegetables.

Getting children enrolled in a Summer Camp with educational and fun summertime activities will prepare them better for dealing with social and academic challenges in the coming school year. Again, this is why I am encouraging anyone (businesses, daycares, churches, theaters, schools, etc.) who is having a Summer Camp this May, June, July or August to contact me. I want to assist them in marketing and advertising their Summer Camp in the Kidsville News! 2021 Summer Camp Directory. I'm providing significant discounts for local businesses and nonprofits, a free camp directory listing, and free reading and educational resources with activity worksheets for every child. This is an important publication because parents, teachers and guardians need to know what is available for their children other than COVID masks, social distancing and a computer screen. Children need to have FUN! and parents and guardians need to know where the fun is. So, if you know a business, church or organization offering fun and exciting summertime experiences, ask them to let me help them get their message out.

Businesses and organizations promoting Summer Camps in Kidsville News! will have a chance to win a FREE $100 Shopping Spree at my very, very favorite place — Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop. Yep, and all the participating Campers will receive a delicious FREE gift from Rocket Fizz and a special edition of Kidsville News! For more information or to advertise, promote and market your Summer Camp call Up & Coming Weekly at 910-484-6200 or contact me directly at Kidsville 910-391-3859. Thanks a million! I will be looking forward to seeing you at Rocket Fizz this summer.

Oh, by the way, if you see my friend Bill Bowman make sure you thank him for allowing me to use his space for this important message. I'm sure he would want me to tell you, "Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly."

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