Local Students Get Life Skills Behind the Camera at the DBAP
Students in Explorer Post 50 produce the Bulls television broadcasts.
‘Zoom! Focus! Don’t chop his head off!’ Behind home plate at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, these shouts fly as local high school students learn the art of television broadcast.
Explorer Post 50 is a program that gives youth hands-on broadcasting education while helping them develop interpersonal skills and self-confidence. During Bulls games, members engage in filming, directing and producing live game footage.
Charlotte Claypoole was a member of Explorer Post 50 from 1999 to 2001. But after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2005, Claypoole returned as a program adviser. She understands the initial pressure of the program, but appreciates its impact.
“There’s a lot of learning, a lot of things to think about that you’ve never had to think about all at once. So it’s a little overwhelming to them at first,” Claypoole said. “Just watching them learn and experience has had a profound impact on me. It’s part of my career and it’s just fun.”
Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, created Explorer Post 50 in 1998 in hopes of providing local youth with a unique opportunity and a positive way to spend their summer. Explorer Post 50 is part of a larger organization, Learning for Life, for educational character development.
Participants between the ages of 14 and 20 are recruited from Durham, Orange and Wake County high schools. Interested individuals who meet the age requirement, and have completed eighth grade, are all accepted. As the only program of its kind, Explorer Post 50 has doubled its roster within the past two years.
Sixteen-year-old Casey Ellis is in his second year with Explorer Post 50 and has mastered the basics of television broadcast. He decided to return this year because of his fellow members and the overall experience.
“We have good friendships and we’ve learned so many skills,” Ellis said. “Plus, it’s really good to put on college resumes.”
Philip Mitchell, another adviser, is in his eighth year with the program. After his first year, he felt the need to come back and share his passion for sports broadcasting.
“I really came back as a way of passing on what I’ve learned to a new crop of kids, to continue the cycle, it’s such a unique opportunity,” Mitchell said. “If I couldn’t be an athlete, I wanted to cover athletes. So this was a unique and interesting way to do that.”
The students have been broadcasting live game footage and replays to television sets in the DBAP and on the web at MiLB.com as practice. Beginning May 1, their broadcasts will air on FOX 50’s digital cable channel 251.
Thanks to Jamie Richardson for this capcom story.