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Students Organize ‘Pumpkin Patch’ for ‘Trail of Terrors’

Young children who are likely to find the “Trail of Terrors” at Williamsport’s Brandon Park too terrifying still get to participate in the annual fall event, courtesy of the “Pumpkin Patch,” a program coordinated by students in the Early Educators club at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The “Pumpkin Patch” alternative has been available for four years now at the YWCA-sponsored event, with Penn College students mostly Early Childhood Education majors providing the not-so-frightening fun.

Some examples of the types of activities offered include face painting, pumpkin painting, a bean-bag toss, a pumpkin find (in which children search for pumpkins in sand) and “How to Make an Orange Pumpkin” (in which children mix red and yellow paint to get the desired hue).

The Penn College students provide all the preparation and labor, an experience that satisfies the Student Activities Office’s requirement for community service.

“It’s a lot of work; it’s a lot of preparation,” said the club’s faculty adviser, Billie A. Coffman, associate professor of Early Childhood Education. “They have to plan for a lot of children coming through. It’s very rewarding for them.”

Coffman said the organizers were pleased with the effort of the Early Educators club in the Pumpkin Patch’s inaugural year, and have kept asking the students back to entertain the children who aren’t quite ready to tour the “Trail of Terrors.”

“The response was so overwhelming they asked, ‘Would you take care of this every year, now?'” Coffman said.

Candice L. Simmons of Milton, an Early Childhood Education major and president of the Early Educators club, has enjoyed her Pumpkin Patch experience. She said it’s a great way to put into practice what she has learned in the Early Childhood Education associate’s-degree program at Penn College.

“I just enjoy working with the children,” adds Simmons, whose career plans call for entering a four-year program and eventually becoming a Head Start teacher.

About 20 club members are directly involved with the Pumpkin Patch project, Simmons noted. At least that many club members assist with the planning and preparation, she added.

This year’s “Trail of Terrors” is scheduled to run from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, and Saturday, Oct. 28.

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