Asheville teens visit Atlanta for educational vacation providing life experience and leadership development

group of children from Shiloh community center on spring break trip to atlanta

Over spring break, a group of 40 local teens visited Atlanta as part of an educational excursion made possible by a collaboration between Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) and Team Us. Members of teen leadership programs at Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside, Linwood Crump Shiloh, and Stephens-Lee community centers, they explored Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, World of Coca-Cola, Cascades Skating, College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Aquarium, and State Farm Arena for an Atlanta Hawks game.

“Educational trips like this provide teens with experiences outside of their day-to-day routines,” according to Tameka Crudup, Crump Shiloh Center Facility Manager. “Expanding their knowledge by engaging with history and hands-on connections allowed them to participate in dialogue with others, ask questions, and have those ‘aha moments!’ This opportunity was designed so they might envision a life outside of peer pressure, violence, and current stressors while affording them a new outlook for setting goals and executing strategies to reach those goals – knowing that they can be just as successful as anyone else.”

Impacts on Asheville Teens

Teens recorded thoughts on the trip in daily journals. Some of their thoughts are shared below.

Mason Williams: “I learned many things on this wonderful trip. I learned about one of the many people who helped Black people become free. I learned the importance of the NCAA Hall of Fame. And the community is surrounded by many museums that show our history.”

Trinnane Holloway: “I learned that Coca-Cola is located in 206 countries and that their mascot is Cola Polar Bear. I was also able to try all types of different sodas from all the different countries.”

Zamari Baird: “I learned that Coca-Cola is 137 years old. My favorite part of the trip was going to an NBA game as I have never been to one before and to see it in person was cool.”

ZayNya Greene: “My experience on this trip has been both extremely fun and informational. I learned a lot of new things about Martin L. King and how he began preaching at his church when he was 17 years-old. I never knew much about Coca Cola but found out that its original color was yellow before red. The basketball game was something I’ve never experienced and to do so was enlightening. I also enjoyed meeting new people and being around everyone.”

Clement Davidson: “I really liked this trip. What I liked the most was that I got to meet new  people and learned new things. I learned about life outside of where I’m from, like my city. I loved the NCAA Hall of Fame because I got to learn and understand my favorite sport and I liked that we got to play games at the hall of fame.”

Kara Green: “I learned that Coca Cola was made in 1886 and that the logo became red in the 1970s. I learned that blue soda means it’s chilling, red/orange soda means it’s tangy and zesty, and green soda means it’s natural and calm. I loved seeing the big sea animals. Seeing their actual size in person was really cool and I got some really fun pictures. I also liked how we got to see real sports jerseys that professional players wore from every sport at the hall of fame and the wall of helmets were really cool too. 

“I loved the whole trip because I met new people and learned new stuff. I got to taste and smell many different flavors of soda. I learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and why using words speaks louder than violence. I learned about the many different sea animals and the importance of just playing simple games to build relationships.”

Shilah Sutton: “I learned that Diva Brown wore the first ever beach shorts and that the Coca-Cola recipe was sold for $25 million. They have many different flavors all over the world, but if you get to try them, don’t try the Beverly because it is disgusting! My favorite part of the trip was the World of Coca-Cola. I learned about MLK and learned things that I never knew about him. I came on the trip because I’ve never been to Atlanta before and the Hawks game was also fun.”

Zi’Kara Plummer: “I learned that there is an old syrup dispenser that was made in 1896 that Coca-Cola was made out of. Ice cubes used to cost one cent per ice cube. When the factory was first bought, it was bought for $1,800 and then later sold for $25 million. What I enjoyed the most was going to the Hall of Fame and watching a short film about how the football players feel and what was on their minds about the sport they play. I enjoyed standing beside the sculpture of the football player to compare our heights. I also enjoyed the aquarium in general and everything about this trip.”

Jaz Cox: “My favorite experience is learning more history about Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. and skating and the aquarium. At the aquarium, I learned that the whale shark is the biggest sea animal in the ocean. And at the hall of fame I learned that the center is the leader of the team. And at Coca-Cola, I learned that Cokes used to be 5 cents per glass.”


Check Out Asheville Programs and Events

APR team members offer more than 100 opportunities for community members of all ages to explore, connect, discover each week – including many designed specifically for teens. Use these resources to find opportunities: