The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Programs and Education Department has roared back to life during the past few months. Community outreach, on-site education, and collaboration between the lighthouse and the Volusia County School district has all returned almost explosively from the hiatus of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Summer came to an end, the programs department volunteers made their first steps back out into the community, distributing information and meeting with the public at Port Orange Family Days. Hundreds of families visited the booth during the two-day event, asking questions, soaking in history, and reveling in our beautiful lighthouse models. Port Orange Family Days was only a precursor to the big things coming to the department this fall.
In addition, school age children are once again visiting the lighthouse in droves. Homeschool co-op groups, public school classes, and private schools are lining up for dates to tour the museum or have our costumed docents in their classrooms. Educational workshops are provided fee-free to all Volusia Public schools, and with a nominal charge to homeschool groups. For more information about group and school tours, please contact Programs Manager Zach Hopple at email@example.com.
In mid-November, the Programs Department eagerly reengaged one of its most ambitious events by hosting Homeschool Day. Opening the doors to one of the largest group of homeschoolers ever at the lighthouse, students from all over the state of Florida flocked to the light station for this exciting day of learning and fun. Students reveled in quality, standards-based educational programs focused on various aspects of early living at the lighthouse. These offerings included hands-on activities and a take home packet to reinforce the learning of the day. The workshops were delivered by the wonderful volunteers, and included programs on food acquisition, food preparation and preservation, education at the lighthouse, laundry and household chores, as well as a look at the various games and leisure activities that the children participated in throughout the history of the light station.
Fall Homeschool Day 2021 was a success due to the hard work and diligence of our volunteers. Another aspect to the success of the day is attributed to the collaboration between the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Programs Department and Daytona State College. Dr. Maryann Gromoll, professor of education at Daytona State, assisted in organizing 17 aspiring teachers to participate in various roles to make the day happen. These student-teachers helped facilitate workshops, lead groups of students throughout the rotations of the day, prepare materials, and breakdown and clean up the site following the completion of the day. All of us at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse are deeply thankful for the opportunity that this collaboration has allowed and we look forward to working together again in the future!
Adult education has become a focus of the Programs Department. Lead Docent John Mann spent an afternoon entertaining an enthusiastic group at DeBary Hall’s vaunted Lemonade Lecture series at the end of October. Bringing maritime education to all parts of Volusia County, roughly 60 guests experienced a memorable afternoon learning all about the Three Lighthouses of Volusia County.
Speaking dates are continuously being announced for the volunteers and staff of the lighthouse. If you are interested in further information, please refer to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse website.