Student learn etiquette; head to camp

TROY — Table etiquette, what is that? Thirty-two Van Cleve sixth graders learned just that in preparation for their spring break camp coordinated by The Future Begins Today (TFBT).

It has been the tradition of 15-year TFBT Club Adviser Janet Rhodes to lead a Table Etiquette Training for first-time campers so they can become more familiar with family-style dining and appropriate manners at the table.

“I enjoy doing this for our students each year. TFBT focuses on introducing important life skills with Troy’s students, and our kids will not only get to apply these skills in the camp setting, but also in their homes, school, future work settings and during their upcoming sixth grade Washington, D.C. field trip if they are able to participate in that.”

Students learned what to expect during a family-style dining setting, how to properly pass serving ware, where to place your napkin, and what manners to remember while in a dining room. Rhodes delved a bit deeper to quiz the students about how they should handle an accidental spill at the table, what the appropriate portion size is, and how to make conversation to include others. The students even had a little fun with the lesson “gas happens, here’s how to excuse yourself or others.”

Rhodes and TFBT Executive Director Natalie Rohlfs arranged for food for the after-school meal. For the second year, Donato’s Pizza of Troy donated pizzas for the lesson. Beverages were served from pitchers, and bowls of oranges, snacks and a dessert were also passed politely around each table.

Twelve-year-old Hunter Shamblin shared, “It’s always good to treat people how you want to be treated. Mrs. Rhodes taught me to keep my elbows of the table and show others respect while we’re eating.”

The Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation invited TFBT to coordinate the eighth spring break camp at no charge for Troy City Schools’ middle school students. More than 80 of Troy’s students applied to attend this year’s three-day camp, which departed Saturday, April 8 while Troy City Schools are on spring break. Camp applicants were up by more than 20 from last year. Nine trained chaperones will also travel to Campbellsville, Ky., with the group.

Community relations manager for Tim Horton’s Camp Kentahten, Chrissy Jennings, has worked with TFBT for more than seven years.

“We feel very fortunate to have developed a partnership with The Future Begins Today and to provide Troy kids the opportunity to spend a couple days each year at Tim Horton Camp Kentahten. The campers (and staff) are enthusiastic, engaging and a joy to have at camp. While at camp, the participants are introduced to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation program values. The experience is designed to develop life and leadership skills and support group growth and connection, which provides the building blocks for youth engagement. It is our hope that participants transfer the skills, values, knowledge and attitudes developed at camp to their school, neighborhood, home and community.”

Students often attend this camp up to three years in a row. In many cases, this is the first opportunity students have to travel out of state. A majority of campers are TFBT Club students, but the program is extended to include other Troy students as well. First-time camper, Karlee Hensley is excited for the experience. “I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and am excited for the food. It’s going to be pretty cool to ride in a charter bus, too!”

The Future Begins Today provides nurturing, mentoring and scholarship programs for Troy students. The organization benefits students who are elementary-aged through high school graduates and was established in 1993. For more information, visit