Members Of The 3:21 Club Learn About Using A Camera

Sonshine Club, an after-school experience

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Luke Manning was caught doing "something good," at the SonShine Club, so he was able to choose a prize in time for an older student in the SonShine's 3:21 Club to snap his photograph.

None of the 3:21 students in the after-school program at Payson United Methodist Church remember who took the photo as part of a class project. They just remember they had fun as they learned their way around a camera.

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Luke Manning gets a laugh after taking part in a 3:21 Club event at Payson United Methodist Church.

"That picture still scares me to no end," Morgan Shimono said, then grinned.

"We were shooting on a digital camera, then on the computer, I learned how to crop and fix the red-eye and make (my subjects) look good," Sierra Royer said.

During a two-week period, the 3:21 youths practiced how to use a camera -- how to hold the camera, where to stand in relation to the subject, "Not too far away," Brett Royer said, and to make sure the sun was not causing anyone to squint.

They practiced portraits, candid photos, as well as indoor and outdoor shots.

The girls in 3:21 designed the bulletin board lettering and borders. The boys were responsible for the layout of the photographs.

SonShine is for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. 3:21 is a club within SonShine for middle-school youths.

After school, students at SonShine can have a snack, do homework and enjoy supervised free time.

Because several of the 3:21 members are in band at Rim Country Middle School, they often practice their instruments.

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Free time at the SonShine Club.

In their free time, they might play Uno or chess.

"Brett and I play chess all the time. It is like a battle of wits you can't get anywhere else. Due to time constraints, SonShine goes until 6:30 p.m., Brett and Shimono have only finished three games, but Shimono estimated they were about equal in skill.

They youths also get supervised time on the computers. They can watch appropriate videos and are learning about the new Vista operating system.

On Wednesdays, the older youths get to teach the younger children to dance -- the Macarena, the hokey pokey or other age-appropriate dances.

During Friday reading time, Sierra often reads to kindergartners through second-grade children.

"Gloria" is a current favorite book.

"It's a book about a police dog who goes to school. She teaches children what not to do, like, don't stand on a chair with wheels while putting up a sign," Sierra said.

"We also help out with snacks," Brett said.

"Older kids teaching the younger ones gives the older students a sense of accomplishment. It teaches them responsibility. I had one of the older students come up to me and say, ‘Wow, Brad. So-and-so was not following the rules and I reminded them and then they did perfect. So they feel a little like adults," SonShine director, Brad Bolt said.

The middle schoolers chose their own name for their club.

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Morgan Shimono, 11, Brett Royer, 11 and Sierra Royer, 14 are just three of the youths in the 3:21 Club who took a short course in photography.

Bolt said they told him they wanted it to be "cooler" because "SonShine sounds like little kids" and "we want to be able to tell our friends we are going someplace."

3:21 is chapter three, verse 21 from the book of John in the Bible.

Music history of the 20th Century is the next ongoing course for the 3:21Club.

"That's a lot of time," Brett said.

"It does cover a lot of ground, but we have a lot of time and we don't have to learn it all in one week," 3:21 instructor, DJ Craig said.

Call (928) 474-KIDS for more information on the SonShine Club.

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