By Andrea Cordle
James Hale has always had a strong interest in history.
“I always say, what happens today is history tomorrow,” said Hale.
Hale is a member of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society. He, and the historical society members, want to encourage young people to explore local history and keep the interest going for generations to come.
The historical society has formed a new group – Young Historians. They are looking for members.
According to Hale, the historical society had a small junior group about 10 years ago, but it only lasted a short time.
“The idea was brought up again about a year ago,” said Hale.
The members of the historical society started planning and now they need interested youngsters. The target age is 10 to 14, but Hale said they are open to youths of other ages who have a strong interest in local history.
“We want to encourage kids to want to learn about history,” said Hale.
Larry Finley, who retired from the Grove City Division of Police in 2003 after 35 years of service, will lead the youth group. In his time with the local police department, Finley organized the DARE program in South-Western City Schools.
“We are very pleased to have him on board,” said Hale. “He is familiar working with kids.”
Finley said there is much he still does not know about Grove City and took it as a challenge to learn himself, while leading the kids.
“I was born in Grove City, had a paper route in Grove City, worked here and I’ve been here about all my life,” said Finley. “I have an interest in Grove City history. My ancestors lived in Grove City.”
The first meeting of the Young Historians was Feb. 17 at the Grove City Welcome Center. Finley said the next meeting will be March 17 and he will take the participants on a tour of the Grove City Division of Police. Future programs may include field trips to the Grant-Sawyer House, the Ohio-Erie feeder canal in Lockbourne and the Ohio Historical Society.
Hale said the group will focus on Grove City history.
“There is a strong wealth of information in the area and we want to share it,” he said.
Hale said the group will also explore the Indian mounds in Jackson Township and the city’s history with greyhounds.
In addition to the field trips, members of the youth group will be encouraged to write stories or journal entries about teen life in 2018.
“This would not be a one-time homework assignment,” said Finley. “Instead, we would hope it would become an activity that would be interesting for teens 10, 20 or more years in the future to read.”
The journal entries or stories would include topics like sporting events, clubs, church activities, music and television.
Hale said he hopes young people will get behind the group and want to participate, especially with the growing interest in ancestry.
“To understand who you are, you must understand where you came from,” said Hale.
For those interested in becoming a member of the Young Historians or those who want more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.