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Time to ‘Saddle Up’ for family fun July 29 with ACE Learning Center

Every day at the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center seems to be a party in the making, so why not share the fun at a giant community party on Friday, July 29?

Four of the youngsters who attend the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU explain their favorite parts of the school day during a recent visit. The ACE Learning Center’s annual fundraiser, Saddle Up!, is set for Friday, July 29, at MTSU’s Murphy Center and will feature plenty of kid-friendly events and family fun for a $10-per-person admission. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Four of the youngsters who attend the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU explain their favorite parts of the school day during a recent visit. The ACE Learning Center’s annual fundraiser, Saddle Up!, is set for Friday, July 29, at MTSU’s Murphy Center and will feature plenty of kid-friendly events and family fun for a $10-per-person admission. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

“Saddle Up,” the MTSU program’s annual fundraising event, is more family-friendly this year, opening up Murphy Center from 5:30 to 8 p.m. July 29 for kid-focused fun, hands-on activities and, of course, great food.

“This year is the 10th anniversary, and what a great year to completely change everything!” says Christy Davis, the new director of the ACE Learning Center.

“Historically, it’s been an adult-focused event, but we serve children, so what better way to celebrate than to make children the heart of the event?”

“Saddle Up” tickets are $10 per person or a $50 maximum per family. Included in the admission price is great food donated by local businesses.

Suggested attire, as always, is jeans, boots and cowboy hats.

A silent auction will feature Walt Disney World tickets, tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium, Southwest Airlines tickets, a gift card from Bell Jewelers, Discovery Center passes, MTSU football, baseball and basketball tickets and more.

Tickets and more information are available at www.mtalumni.com/saddleup.

Christy Davis

Christy Davis

ACE Learning Center logo web“The Discovery Center (of Murfreesboro) is bringing animals!” Davis says, “and we’ll have a huge straw-bale maze, a live bee observatory, a magician, a horse-grooming station … Dance Murfreesboro is going to come, too! We’ll have lots of sensory activities for children, so there are many opportunities for kids to have some fun. We’ll even have a gigantic coloring book!

“This is a great opportunity for any community members, if they’re curious about our center and what we do, to come and find out more about us.”

Davis spoke on WGNS Radio’s weekly “Action Line” program June 20 about this year’s Saddle Up event. You can listen to her conversation with station president Bart Walker here, beginning at the 19:58 mark.

The June 20 WGNS show also featured Dr. Dawn McCormack, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, discussing MTSU’s new Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree, and Drs. David Gotcher and Peggy Carpenter of MTSU’s University College offering more details on the new Applied Leadership Certificate Program launching this fall with the help of Bridgestone Americas.

MTSU’s ACE Learning Center provides learning environments for children with and without developmental delays, allowing them to play together and learn from each other. Teachers at the center plan activities that help each child develop good communication, social, cognitive and motor skills.

Davis, an MTSU alumna with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, was named the new director of the center June 7, replacing director Susan Waldrop, who retired last year.
Saddle Up 2016 graphic web

Dr. Ann Campbell, a faculty member in MTSU’s Department of Elementary and Special Education, established what was then known as Project Help in 1983, creating what would become one of Tennessee’s first inclusive early childhood programs for children ages 15 months through kindergarten.

Campbell died in 2011, and the center, now expanded from its main MTSU facility on North Baird Lane into additional space in the university’s Fairview Building, was renamed for her in 2014.

MTSU students are integral to the ACE Learning Center and its young charges. They work and volunteer in the center’s four classrooms throughout the academic year, interact with and play alongside the children and support the teachers by assisting with daily activities.

The annual Saddle Up event supports ACE Learning Center projects alongside funds from tuition, MTSU, the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, the Charity Circle of Murfreesboro and private donations.

To learn more about 2016’s Saddle Up, donate silent-auction items or become a sponsor for the event, contact Davis at christy.davis@mtsu.edu.

For more information about the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center and its work, visit www.mtsu.edu/acelearningcenter or call 615-898-2458.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

A couple of “the Green Room Guys” at the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU don their gloves for a day of learning about plants and gardens. The center's annual fundraiser, Saddle Up!, is set for Friday, July 29, at MTSU’s Murphy Center. (Photo courtesy of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU)

A couple of “the Green Room Guys” at the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU don their gloves for a day of learning about plants and gardens. The center’s annual fundraiser, Saddle Up!, is set for Friday, July 29, at MTSU’s Murphy Center. (Photo courtesy of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU)

The "Yellow Room Kids" at the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU pose for a photo with their lemonade-stand sign in the Fairview Building playground. (Photo courtesy of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU)

The “Yellow Room Kids” at the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU pose for a photo with their lemonade-stand sign in the Fairview Building playground. (Photo courtesy of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU)

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