GTPulse: Mancelona Girl Raises Community Up Through Reporting
I love community Facebook pages. They provide a local forum for residents to share happy news, discover events, air complaints and maybe even get a laugh or two. I try to join as many community Facebook pages as I can, and some can be harder to find than others. I have a soft spot in my heart for Mancelona and was very happy to find that they have a community Facebook page called Mancelona NOW. The page features upcoming local events, job opportunities and local news but my personal favorite feature of the page are the mini newscasts that local 12-year-old Bre Bluer hosts.
Mancelona is Bre’s hometown and because Bre is a local reporter, I thought it might be fun for her to see the 9&10 News station and then grab lunch. She agreed that this sounded like a plan and when I picked her up she was enthusiastic and excited to adventure out. She ran out of her backdoor and greeted me with a freckle-faced grin.
“I broke my lava lamp out of excitement when you got here. I hope my uncle can fix it.”
To say that I was charmed would be an understatement. Bre is spunky, quirky and sharp as a whip, so much so that she skipped 6th grade.
“I had to work hard for it, but it was really a relief after I got to go. You don’t have to do a whole other year of school, you get to graduate earlier.”
Not only does she make straight A’s in school, she also starred in her school’s performance of Annie Jr., naturally she was cast as Annie. Her natural talent for theatre is what landed her the reporting position for the Facebook page. Lori and Kevin Wood of local game shop, The Woods of Mancelona wanted to find a fun way to promote local businesses in the town and Bre was a perfect candidate. The Facebook page is run by the couple, and the video newscasts are shot by Lori and edited by her son Kyle.
“I thought, ‘oh yeah, that would be so much fun. I love acting and everything.’ Our first interview was about the downtown music festival happening. She said that it was really good and we should do more of them and so it just blossomed after that,” Bre said.
Bre’s reports always come with her signature opening; “This is Bre Kid Reporter reporting for Mancelona NOW! Let’s get to it.” She is very energetic and engaging to watch and her interviewees always seem at ease during her interviews. The newscasts have gained a lot of popularity and she’s become a bit of a local celebrity.
“People recognize me when I ride my bike around,” Bre told me. “They say, ‘you’re the kid reporter! Keep up the good work!’ and I say thanks. It’s funny. I like it.”
She’s not letting the local fame get to her head, however. She takes her work seriously and is committed to being a great news anchor. Out of all of the interviews she has done so far her favorite was on local collectibles store Honey Hollow Treasures.
“I really liked reporting for Honey Hollow Treasures. I got more in character when I went there. That’s where I got to wear a dress.”
Bre’s mom is proud of her accomplishments, both on-screen and academically.
“She loves it! She watches every one and now she gets the inside scoop ‘cause she’s my mom,” Bre said.
Not only is Bre’s mom proud of her, but the Mancelona community is as well. Her earnest, unabashed love for Mancelona is truly projected in her enthusiastic reporting. Her four siblings are all significantly older than her so she has been raised like an only child. She turns to her community for engagement and is always riding her bike around the neighborhood and finding things to do or people to talk to.
“I have three different bikes, one is a mountain bike because, you know…. you never know when you’re gonna need to go mountain biking. I go see my friends, I talk to a lot of people, I know a lot of people here because I grew up here.”
When she’s not biking around town, Bre volunteers at the Food Pantry. Her volunteer duties range from running the cash register to sorting and hanging clothes. She goes in on scheduled volunteer time as well as when she just feels bored and wants to get out of the house.
Bre is a hometown girl that loves her community and her community loves her back. She’s a ray of light and a burst of fresh air in her reporting and in her town. Her favorite part of reporting is getting to shine a light on her community.
“I think it’s helping the community. Maybe it’s helping people see it’s a better community than they say it is.”
If you wanna keep up with Bre’s reporting, head over to the Facebook page Mancelona NOW and give it a like. Who knows … you may just see Bre reporting on your TV one day.