Two times a year, the Potter Leader-Enterprise sponsors a coloring contest for kids who are 12 years old and younger. Local businesses buy an ad to sponsor the contest and the coloring page is usually festive and season appropriate.

The paper has been doing the coloring contest for a while now. This year, we received more submissions than we have in the past. We hung the submissions up in the office lobby for everyone to see. It was fun to see the different creative styles of each child and see the excitement on their faces when the submission was dropped off.

There aren’t many rules to the contest. The submissions need to be in by a certain date and it must be the original copy. The contest page states the names of the winners will be published in the paper and they will receive a goodie bag. The entries are not limited to any specific area. There is no requirement to pick the prizes up at the office, nor is there a requirement to have their picture taken.

It’s important to understand the coloring contest isn’t really “judged.” It would be somewhat cruel to do so. After all, they’re just kids! Instead, we divide the submission tickets into age groups and stick all of the tickets in a box. A staff member pulls a ticket out of each age group and that is the winner. Simple and completely random.

We have been able to publish pictures of submissions and the winners with their prizes. If someone from out of the area won, we would have sent that winner a gift card and asked for a picture to be sent to us to use in the paper.

I’m not artistic at all and many of these kids colored way better than I could have. I’m so glad each and every one of the kids took the time to color the page and the family took the time to bring or mail it to our office. It’s great that local businesses are willing to support something like this, too. It’s a unique thing that our small, local newspaper can offer.

The staff at the paper works hard day and night to deliver local news that is both fair and accurate. I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve produced and I’m happy to see the coloring contest — and the paper — grow. It’s a nice way to incorporate a new generation into the news and give them something to feel good about.

Thanks for reading!

Halie Kines is the associate editor of the Potter Leader-Enterprise. She can be reached at hkines@tiogapublishing.com.