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Campaign opens door to learning
Madison Floyd stared in amazement at a hermit crab Thursday afternoon at Tidelands Nature Center on Jekyll Island.

Her friend, Victoria Brow, 12, grabbed her arm and brought her attention to the center's sea turtle display.

"I've never seen anything like this before," Madison said.

The pair were among members of the Needwood Boys and Girls Club who spent the day on Jekyll Island at no cost during the United Way's "Days of Caring" campaign.

The Jekyll Island Authority hosted the students, providing a day of speeding down water slides at Summer Waves Water Park, splashing along the beach and exploring maritime animal life. Meanwhile, around 150 volunteers made renovations to the Needwood Boys and Girls Club on the mainland.

Volunteers during the Days of Caring campaign descend upon a different project each year hoping to make a difference in the community. This week, volunteers are painting, landscaping, building shelves and creating an outdoor education center at Needwood Boys and Girls Club.

The campaign is a way for residents to make a difference in their hometown, said Missy Neu, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Coastal Georgia.

It's not often that members of the Boys and Girls Club are able to venture to the beach as a field trip, said Brian Plotner, site supervisor for the Needwood club. Plotner said he is thankful for the opportunity to give the children a unique experience.

"We never get to take our kids to the beach, so that was a new thing for us," he said. "Some of the kids haven't even seen the beach before."

Work at the Needwood club will continue today, while students take another field trip to Jekyll Island, taking a dolphin tour and visiting Summer Waves again.

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