homepage logo

Duncan launches Rec Center’s reading program with a classic

By Staff | Oct 12, 2011

Following the inaugural Guest Reader Day last week at the Sanibel Recreation Center, participants and members of the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District pose for a picture in front of the ladder truck.

As a means of introducing some remarkable people to a younger generation, through the power of literature, the Sanibel Recreation Center’s After School program hosted the first Guest Reader Day last Wednesday afternoon.

The activity will bring some prominent or well-known Southwest Florida residents, business people and community leaders to the Center’s Pelican Room, where they will read a children’s book in front of the program’s kindergarten and first grade-aged participants.

Danny Duncan, chief of the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District, launched the weekly series by reading the popular Margret and H.A. Rey tale, “Curious George and the Firefighters.”

“My daughter, Danielle, is a kindergarten teacher,” said Duncan. “She gave me a couple of suggestions for some books. I thought the ‘A B C’ book might be a little simple, and this (book) looked a bit more interesting.”

Seated in a rocking chair, with a semi-circle of kids surrounding him, Duncan read from the softcover book, sharing the Curious George illustrations when he finished each page. When the book was finished, youth program director Dave DeFonzo led the group in a warm ovation.

Sanibel Fire Chief Danny Duncan with the book, "Curious George and the Firefighters."

Later, Duncan passed out plastic fire helmets to each of the children before leading them outside for a hands-on tour of one of the district’s fire trucks. Each child took turns sitting in the engine’s cab.

When Duncan and his fellow firefighters drove away, they turned on the truck’s flashing lights and sounded the horns, much to the youngster’s delight.

“What we are trying to do is encourage more community interaction with the kids here at the Rec Center,” said Andrea Miller, director of the Sanibel Recreation Center. “Maybe some day they’ll want to grow up to become a fireman or a police officer or a vice mayor.”

Sanibel’s Vice Mayor, Mick Denham, joined the group in week two of the series. He read the Hans Christian Andersen classic “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

“I think this is a great program and I’m glad to participate in it,” said Denham. “I was read to as a child and I think it’s a wonderful experience.”

Denham also explained that while his favorite children’s book is “The Wind In The Willows,” that story was too long.

Upcoming Guest Reader Day participants will include Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott (Oct. 19), Florida Everblades mascot Swampy (Oct. 26), CROW’s Steve Greenstein (Nov. 2), Dr. Edward LaMotta (Nov. 9), City Clerk Pamela Smith (Nov. 16) and FGCU President Dr. Wilson G. Bradshaw (Nov. 30).

For more information about the Sanibel Recreation Center’s After School program, call 472-0345.