Reach and Teach

Reach and Teach is Where Entertainment Meets Education

Reach and Teach is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization that provides real-life educational experiences to high school students. Available both nationally and internationally, Reach and Teach benefits students of all abilities. However, the team designed the program specifically for students who struggle in a traditional classroom setting. Often falling through the cracks, these students can discover their unique purpose and gain confidence through the organization’s authentic experiences.

What’s more, the student-led curriculum is free, and administered by teachers on a local level. Reach & Teach is a life-changing opportunity for students and a helpful tool for high-school teachers. This remarkable organization is available in all areas, so let’s dive in and learn more about how it can benefit students in the Sevier County community.

How Reach and Teach Can Benefit Local Students

Pigeon Forge is known for its popular and award-winning attractions like Dollywood and the many theaters along the Parkway. Professional musicians, dancers, and actors can find an array of employment opportunities in the Smoky Mountains. Furthermore, the local entertainment industry offers non-performing career paths such as lighting technicians, camerapersons, business managers, and marketing professionals.

In essence, the entertainment industry has jobs for all interests and talents. Reach and Teach highlights this and encourages students to consider the various roles that make up the industry.

The team at Kellum Creek Business Solutions learned of Reach and Teach after meeting Cameron Flenor, lead singer for the 80’s hairband group The Velcro Pygmies. Flenor co-founded the fascinating organization, and we are thrilled to share how it can be especially beneficial to students in Sevier County and East Tennessee.

The Reach and Teach mission:

  • Motivates and encourages students to discover new career paths. 
  • Provides opportunities for students to develop essential soft skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and time management. 
  • Inspires teachers to explore new teaching methods.  
  • Facilitates productive partnerships between schools and community leaders.

Inspiring a New Generation of Leaders

Participating students develop real-life skills that can be applied in their upcoming careers. These skills include entrepreneurship and marketing, communication, and networking. Additionally, the program promotes teamwork and leadership via real-life experiences. Throughout a series of nine lessons, students will focus on:

  • Goal Setting 
  • Target Market 
  • Strategic Planning 
  • Budgeting 
  • Operations 
  • Sponsorships 
  • Selling 
  • Promotions 
  • Analysis of successes and failures

Along with these incredibly valuable skills, students also build friendships in a positive environment. The participants enjoy camaraderie with peers, and then the team gets to show off its hard work to the school and the community. From start to finish, the programs from Reach and Teach build character and sharpen skills while being a healthy creative outlet for students.

Reach and Teach Programs

The Velcro Pygmies
Photo courtesy of The Velcro Pygmies

Campus Tour

With the Campus Tour curriculum, students plan, promote, and produce a broadcast incorporating four segments. The broadcast is shared worldwide via the Reach and Teach website for thousands of viewers to enjoy. After completion, participants can potentially win a $1,000 grant for their school! Learn more about the Campus Tour program and view past episodes including grant winners here.

Concert Tour

With the Concert Tour curriculum, students plan, promote, and execute a real concert on the school’s campus. Students gain experience in all areas of the process including planning and promoting the show and then making it all happen during the concert. In the end, all the money raised by the concert stays with the school.

Interview Series

Students have access to a huge library of interviews with some of the sports, music, and entertainment industry’s most influential individuals. When watching the interviews, students receive expert advice from exclusive vantage points. The interview series is meant to provoke self-introspection within students as they determine their next steps after graduation. Worksheets accompany the series to keep students focused on the wealth of information contained in each interview. View the interview series here.

Applying the Curriculum in the Smoky Mountains

Pigeon Forge

While the Campus Tour and Concert Tour curriculum focuses on inspiring students, the program is a huge asset and support tool for teachers! In addition to this free curriculum, the team at Reach and Teach offers free professional development lessons for teachers. Especially in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, the Reach and Teach program can be creatively implemented to inspire a new generation of professionals in our local tourism industry.

Outside the Smoky Mountains, working in Nashville, New York City, Orlando, and even California is a dream for many students aspiring to work in entertainment. Our own Dolly Parton dreamt of making it big in Nashville. After graduating from Sevier County High School, Dolly moved to Music City and has made a huge impact in the industry. Whether your students are dreaming of making it big like Dolly or securing a job at Dollywood, the Reach and Teach program is a great place to start.

Teachers can sign up to receive a free information kit here. Community leaders can support Reach and Teach by donating here or partnering with local classrooms during student projects. Are you a local teacher or do you have a child in the Sevier County School System? Share this exciting program with your school’s leaders and get started today!

Kellum Creek Business Solutions commends Cameron Flenor of The Velcro Pygmies for co-founding Reach and Teach. We see a huge value in this organization for students everywhere, but especially in Sevier County. Professional development and leadership skills gained at an early age gives our youngest residents a solid start, and these individuals are ultimately responsible for the continuation of our beloved community. Reach and Teach is an excellent tool to spur this success.

See The Velcro Pygmies in Sevierville

Shine and Dine on Bruce Street

See Flenor and his band at the annual Shine and Dine on Bruce Street in Downtown Sevierville. The event takes place on August 10. Additionally, the Velcro Pygmies are touring nationally with their outrageously fun style of entertainment. The top 80’s hairband hits never sounded so good! Learn more about the Velcro Pygmies here.

Authored in Appalachia || Amy Morton

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