Younger generation changing the face of Franklin

fr franklinfacesYoung people growing up in a small town usually have one main goal — to get out.

Pisgah High Millennials ready to voice their opinions

op frSomewhere at this very moment, a political science major is writing a dissertation on why young people these days are so apathetic with regard to politics and the issues. In the 2014 election, for example, slightly less than 20 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 29 cast a ballot. According to The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, that is the “lowest youth turnout rate ever recorded in a federal election.”

YO offers support to LGBTQ youth in Franklin

fr YOfranklinThe world can be a confusing and lonely place when you don’t know where you fit in to it and you don’t have a support system. It’s hard enough being a teenager today, but the added difficulties of struggling with gender or sexuality can easily lead youth down a dangerous path.

Roller derby a big hit in the mountains

fr rollerderbyBy Katie Reeder • SMN Intern

No hitting, punching, elbowing or tripping people — and definitely no biting or yelling at the referees. Fourteen-year-old Autumn Pine, or “Fall Out Girl” as she’s known on the track, will quickly tell you there are rules to roller derby.

From the street to the stage — Productive Paranoia

art frTurning the corner at Church and Main streets in downtown Waynesville, I saw them out of the corner of my eye.

Sitting one-by-one atop the brick planter in front of Earthworks Gallery, the five young faces were all smiles amid their sing-along. Each had an instrument, some of which were seemingly as big as the kids themselves. Their sound was a mix of traditional mountain music and modern day Americana. And although these sounds of Southern Appalachia have intrigued folks, young and old, for generations, it was impressive to see these teenagers so interested and passionate about perpetuating the ancient music of this landscape and its people.

YMCA camp coming to Swain County

fr ymcaSwain County will soon be home to a YMCA camp. 

The camp — called YMCA Camp Watia — will be on land located near the Almond Boat and RV Park.

“Probably 5 miles from the highway,” said Swain County Manager Kevin King. “I think it used to be a tree farm.”

Alternative school gets $1.4 million to offer comprehensive help to struggling youth

fr altschoolTucked away on the corner of Kentucky and Virginia avenues in the old Hazelwood Elementary School building, the Alternative Learning Center in Waynesville doesn’t look much like a high school. It’s got just four classrooms, and a stroll through the hall during school hours doesn’t reveal the usual scene of a teacher standing in front of orderly rows of desks. In fact, though about 200 students are enrolled at any one time, only 40 or 50 show up each day.

Snowbird youth club gets a home

fr snowbirdyouthA dream eight years in the making met reality earlier this month when the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians cut the ribbon on a new youth center in Snowbird. The 15,000-square-foot building will offer Cherokee youth opportunities ranging from Cherokee language and craft classes to help with homework. 

Growing the neighborhood: Claiborne preaches unity, community to Junaluska youth

fr claiborneShane Claiborne was a couple minutes late for his interview with The Smoky Mountain News, but for good reason. Claiborne and his entourage of Philadelphia friends-turned-family had encountered some crawfish that needed catching, and the job required a couple of extra minutes to splash in the creek. 

Bryson City shelter gives hurting teens a fresh start

coverDespite the automated security system that speaks up every time a door is opened and the whiteboard grid tracking points for the shelter’s behavior management program, “institutional” is the last word that comes to mind when you enter Hawthorn Heights in Bryson City. Midday sunshine brightens the dining room’s white tile floors and family-style wooden table and chairs, and a few rooms over, couches circle a fireplace and television stand crammed with movies and Wii games. A large porch juts out from the stone building, the perfect place to play cards or read a book on a warm afternoon. 

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