Ashby Henry discovers 'new home' in Camden
Less than a year ago, I did not know what the City of Camden was, I did not know anyone from Camden (except for the governor), and I could not have pointed it out on a map. Now, it is a place that I can call home.
I visited Camden twice before I moved in for the summer of Living Democracy, and I quickly got the impression that the town was made up of good, kind, hardworking people. It is that and so much more.
I have been welcomed as one of their own this summer, and I am so honored to have gotten to be a part of it, even for a little while. The people I met are smart, interesting, hardworking, genuine, and care deeply about their communities.
Spending most of my time at Blackbelt Treasures, I got the privilege of getting to know the staff.
I cannot thank my community partners, Sulynn Creswell and Kristin Law, enough. Their efforts to introduce me to the community, answer my questions, and suggestions on who to talk to were incredibly beneficial, and my internship would not have existed without them.
My thanks also go to all those I interviewed, spoke to, or met. It was intimidating for me to move into a community I knew almost nothing about, without knowing anyone previously, but every step of the way I was greeted and welcomed by this community. I am so thankful for all those that I got to interview. I enjoyed the interactions I had and enjoyed getting to know new people.
Those I spoke to may not have even realized the impact they made on me, simply my engaging in conversation or answering my many questions.
Another person I must thank is Betty Anderson. I met Ms. Betty for the first time on my first visit to Camden last December. She took the time them to show my mother and I around her museum. Little did I know then the impact Ms. Betty and her museum would have on me.
I chose to dedicate my project this summer and the proceeds received from it to Ms. Betty’s museum for an air conditioner. Ms. Betty has worked very hard over the years to accumulate, display, and maintain her Shoe Shoppe and Quilting Museum, though she is still without air conditioner.
In observing how difficult the heat made it to comfortably maintain the museum and give tours, I decided this was a strong investment. The museum itself is full of local history, and a big lesson I learned this summer is how significant that history is.
Personally, I had never considered West Alabama to be a historically and culturally significant part of the state. I knew very little about it. But constantly throughout the summer I learned that Wilcox County is such a treasure, as are the people there. Contributing to Ms. Betty’s museum was a small way for me to help preserve that history and beauty.
I am so thankful for Ms. Betty. For her introducing me, allowing me to help her, and for becoming a friend.
The investments you make are important, and I am so grateful I got the chance to know and to love Camden. Though I grew up only about an hour north of it, I learned about its differences and quirks, the challenges it faces, the people who live there, how they interact, and how they worship and how they live.
Embarking on this summer I was very unsure of what it would bring. I am so grateful that it brought me a new place to call home.
- June 26, 2018
- Janeisha Broome's determination leads to healthy change
Many struggle to maintain healthy eating habits but staying healthy in rural communities is even more challenging. Camp Hill area resident Janeisha Broome decided to meet that challenge when her health declined. By cutting drinks, fried foods, and junk food from her diet, drinking primarily water, and walking three to four miles daily, Broome has lost 256 pounds over the past 18 months.
- By Daphney Portis
- June 27, 2018
- Restoration 154 looks to the future
Restoration 154, a nonprofit responsible for many events, programs and improvements in Elba, continues to look to the future. Special Restoration 154 projects include providing citizens a chance to kayak down the Pea River on a Saturday afternoon or enjoy an event at the Elba Theatre on the downtown square.
- By Pearce Miller
- June 18, 2018
- Nursing Home Boasts Rich History of Service to Community
Collinsville Health and Rehab, located on Highway 11, is one of the last family-owned and operated nursing facilities in Alabama. The home, owned by Coker family, has a deep history in the area and offers a different mindset when it comes to delivering care.
- By Erin Blythe
- June 26, 2018
- Gaines Ridge Dinner Club
Gaines Ridge Dinner Club in Camden serves up Southern hospitality, history, ghost stories and a dessert recognized as one of “100 Alabama Dishes to Eat Before You Die”. From 1898 to 1985, the home was lived in and passed down through generations of the Kennedy family. The home was re-invented in 1985 into the dinner club by Kennedy and her sister, Hayden.
- By Laura Agee
- June 25, 2018
- City Clerk Retires After 37 Years of Service to Community
On the evening of June 11, the Collinsville City Council met for their routine meeting as the mayor, council members and citizens came together to discuss town business such as improvements going on at the city hall building. Peggy Wright, City Clerk and Municipal Court Clerk for the town, stood before the Council to announce her retirement after 37 years of service to the community.
- By Erin Blythe
By Ashby Henry
Last Updated: September 11, 2022