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Magazine focuses on things to do
Homeschooling mother and daughter start magazine to showcase some of the interesting people and events in Orange County

 Orange Explorers features stories and photos geared to the youth.
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Date published: 9/19/2010

By CATHY DYSON

When the Orange County mother started searching for homeschooling field trips for her children, she heard typical remarks about life in a small community.

"You hear it all the time," said Terry "Resi" Connell. "There are no jobs here, there's nothing to do."

But the more Connell looked, the more interesting people and places she found. She started brainstorming with her 9-year-old daughter, Eryn, about a magazine that would get the word out about opportunities in Orange.

"We decided we should showcase what's really here," Connell said.

The mother-daughter team serves as editor and assistant editor of Orange Explorers, a bimonthly magazine that debuted in July.

The Connells thought, at first, the magazine would be geared to other homeschooled students in Orange County, with stories and photos produced by them.

"But we've gotten so much feedback, we're definitely going to open it up to everybody," Connell said.

The magazine is designed for ages 7 to 18.

The Connells also are broadening their coverage to include Culpeper, Louisa and Madison counties.

Eryn, who's in fourth grade, designed the logo that shows a youngster hiking through the woods. She drew the trees and penned the words in her handwriting. Her mother just tweaked the "O" in Orange, so it turned into a sun shining over the adventurer.

Connell wishes she could design logos for clients as quickly as Eryn came up with the one for the magazine.

Connell is a graphic artist who does contract work for various government agencies. Her husband, Christopher, is a retired Marine who works at Quantico.

The Connells also have a 4-year-old son, Thomas.

The first edition includes elements that will be regular features. There are submitted pictures of pets and stories about expeditions that allow kids to get their hands dirty.

One segment is about an archaeology program at Montpelier; another is about collecting gems at Morefield Mine in Orange.

A third illustrates the importance of geology in terms of rocks and minerals taken out of the ground, as well as the number of tourists the sites bring to the state.

Another article focuses on a woman who has an interesting job--she trains horses--as well as a young person who volunteers in her community.

There are lots of pictures, colorful illustrations and graphic elements throughout.

A "Say What?" page shows a funny picture--the summer edition had a mama kangaroo peeking into her pouch--and children suggest what she might be saying.

Connell has committees of children to pick which submitted photos of pets or stories written by contributors run in the magazine. She's hoping young writers and artists will be anxious to see their names in print.

"I'm trying to get the kids involved as much as possible so they'll feel like they're a part of it," Connell said.

The magazine is free, and Connell is looking for sponsors and advertisers, as well as submissions from area kids.

Items can be sent to her at
Email: editor@orangeexplorers.org.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com


On Oct. 16, Orange Explorers will visit the James Madison Museum on Caroline Street in the town of Orange to learn about the art and history of land surveying. Participants will be able to see one of the first maps George Washington ever made, when he was a teenager, as well as examine new and old surveying tools.

Then, participants will head to a nearby park to do some land surveying of their own. The event begins at 10 a.m. It's free, and those interested should call 540/672-1776 to register.