The McKinney Center in Jonesborough, which now houses the Jonesborough Story Initiative, just completed the first training series focused on teaching the basic tools in how to collect oral stories from members of the community. Eight members received their training and are now certified story collectors. The interviews they gather will be archived for future generations, and will be used in the production of the many story-based programs in the town, to include an annual play, like the I Am Home production that performed at the McKinney Center in February of this year, as well as the monthly radio shows at the story telling center, the annual play at the Senior Center, and more.
The members certified in the first training session are Paul Braxton, Lee Clements, Judy Donley, Lynda Harris, Deborah Lowery, Marat Moore, Maggie Polden and Jimmy Neil Smith.
With the development of so many new story-based initiatives in Jonesborough, more Story Brigade members are needed to collect these stories. A new training series begins Sept. 17, with bi-weekly meetings that will happen through October. This training is free to the public, and there are 16 spots available during this next session. The sessions include a guidebook, free to participants, as well as bi-weekly meetings, each focused on a different area of story collecting, which includes equipment use, how to do individual interviews as well as story circles, how to index and notate keywords, and how to develop effective interview questions, as well as interview etiquette.
The training sessions this semester take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the McKinney Center. Those interested in learning how to collect family and community stories should contact Skye McFarland at the McKinney Center to sign up by calling 423-753-0562.