Marco Island Eagle

Fire chief leads 'story draw'

06/18/2003

By SEAN ERNST, Staff writer



Marco Island Fire Chief Mike Murphy led children in some midmorning magic June 13 at Mackle Park.

Murphy was the celebrity guest reader for the second meeting of the city's summer "story draw" program. Each meeting of the program, which is scheduled for two more dates in June, features a different guest who reads the children a story. The children then create an art project related to the story.

Murphy brought props to accompany his story, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Sally Grindley and Thomas Taylor. With 6-year-olds Joseph Byrne, Lauren Hanscom, Rebecca Lopez and Stephen Neptune gathered around him on the floor, Murphy handed out "sorcerer's hats" (red plastic fire helmets), "magic wands and bags" (pencils and pencil cases touting fire safety), and "magic creatures" (fuzz-ball characters wearing miniature fire helmets).

The children would be sorcerer's apprentices themselves, Murphy said.

"Make sure you hold the rubber end out," he said of the pencil's eraser. "That's the magic part of the wand."

The story draw program is part of the city's new slate of summer recreation programs. Last month, the city distributed brochures listing the programs, which are divided into several youth age categories, an adult category and a family category. Other youth programs include baseball camp at Tommie Barfield Elementary School, tennis camp at Marco Island Racquet Center and environmental camp at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

After Murphy finished the story, Krista Corrado, owner of The Pottery Burn on Bald Eagle Drive, supervised the children as they painted ceramic sorcerer's hats. Each hat was divided into two pieces so it could function as a container.

Joseph and Stephen chatted about magic as they painted, but Lauren and Rebecca stayed silent and concentrated on their pieces. Lauren, the only lefty in the group, sat up on her knees with her bare feet tucked behind her. She held the top of her ceramic hat with her right hand and steadied her purple brush with her left hand.

"Are these real magic?" Stephen asked Corrado.

"Only if you believe," she said.

Corrado, who started The Pottery Burn about a year ago, will also host the city's hands-on clay program next month. Because that program will be held at The Pottery Burn, participants will be able to glaze and fire their ceramic pieces. With no kiln at Mackle Park, children in the story draw program take home their pieces after each class.

"This is easier. They don't want to give (the pieces) up," Corrado said, laughing.

The guest reader at the first meeting of the story draw program was Pat Reese, commissioner of the island's Senior Softball League. And Marco Police Chief Roger Reinke has committed to read at the fourth and final meeting, said Dana Souza, Marco's parks and recreation coordinator.

The children's finished ceramic hats varied in colors and designs. Joseph's had gold, yellow and blue streaks with pink trim. Lauren's had a blue moon, yellow stars, and pink, yellow and blue top. Rebecca's had yellow stars, green polka dots and pink trim. And Stephen's had a gold top, green bottom and blue stars.

As the children washed their hands, Corrado placed a piece of foam between each hat's top and bottom half to prevent the halves from sticking together.

When Julia Byrne, Joseph's mother, came to pick him up, she said he had been excited about the class after missing it last week.

"He met Krista a couple of days ago and he fell in love with her then," she said. "He's been looking forward to it for days and days."