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Share Your Travel Adventures with Grand Rapids Students

For the students at the Creative Youth Center a postcard is more than a marker of a place they’ve been or a way to share a note with a friend. For Creative Youth Center students postcards are an opportunity to explore the world, to dream about a place they’ve never been, and find inspiration for a new story.

Each new class at the Creative Youth Center gets to meet Captain H. Tanny, the Center’s elusive friend. Captain H. Tanny is a mythical individual with no gender, race, ethnicity, or age. Captain H. Tanny becomes whoever each student wants Captain H. Tanny to be. No one has ever met the captain, a shy yet adventurous writer-traveler who communicates by postcard. If you’re lucky, you might spot the captain’s hot air balloon over Grand Rapids on a clear day.

Throughout the year Captain H. Tanny sends postcards to the students to act as story prompts, writing exercises, and opportunities to dive into the unknown. These postcards are a fun way for the students to step out of their typical day and explore a universe otherwise foreign to them.

In retirement, many of you are exploring the world yourself, visiting new places, and collecting postcards. The Creative Youth Center is hoping you can share those experiences with their students by sending postcards to the Center as Captain H. Tanny.

If you are out on an adventure of your own, consider sending a postcard back to the Center. It only takes a few minutes, but could mean a great deal to the students reading it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing as Captain Tanny:

  • Consider describing a favorite cultural experience or historic landmark from your travels to spark students’ curiosity about a particular place or tradition. Postcards can serve as springboard for discussion, learning, and imagination.
  • Keep your note gender- and race-neutral. For example, avoid comments like “My husband and I saw the Great Wall of China” or “I was so pale when we left and now I have a nice tan!” Keeping the captain undefined in these ways helps each of the Center’s students see themselves in the captain’s shoes, traveling the world and having adventures.
  • Feel free to encourage students in their writing and learning! 

Tuck this address into your pocket next time you are on the road: The Students of the CYC, 413 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 and keep the post cards coming!

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