USD 410 endorses city youth program

Staff writer

The USD 410 school board unanimously agreed on Monday to help sponsor Hillsboro Youth Adventure, a new program meant to help students learn more about their city.

“The mission is two-fold,” said Clint Seibel, executive director of Hillsboro Development Corporation. “We want kids to know that Hillsboro is a great place to live, work and raise a family. But, we also hope that, by seeing what the city does, it will foster a sense of volunteerism — and that one day these young people will want to get involved.”

The program is modeled after a similar civic-minded initiative in Great Bend, where students learned more about how their local government operated through a one-day camp. It was designed to give them a variety of hands-on experiences, so that they could learn about the different local departments while getting a real feel for what they do on a daily basis.

“They’ll be able to do anything from working a forklift to driving a dump truck and unloading sand,” Seibel said. “Even at my age, I haven’t had the chance to do that yet. Many students don’t know where there water comes from — and that there is a department behind it. This camp will give them a close look at what really goes on.”

Families and Communities Together Director Ashley Gann
said they plan to start small, allowing only 15 to 20 seventh and eighth grade students to attend per session. She currently plans on holding two sessions in the summer, one in June and one in July. The total program cost is expected to be about $2,000.

“We don’t want to start out too big,” she said. “This is a good number of students — and after this year, we can see what we might want to do differently.”

They are reaching out to the community for help in raising these funds, but Gann said she also is looking for grants that would be able to underwrite the entire cost.

Gann and Seibel added that they did not want to limit the program in any way. They want to reach students at all levels of achievement — and give each student an opportunity to learn and an opportunity for fun.

“We’re going to visit many of the local departments, so they can see what goes on there,” Seibel said. “But we are also considering doing fun things, like having a water balloon fight.”

In the next month, Gann plans to coordinate with the remaining city departments. She has already talked with several, including the fire and police departments.

Gann said the program will positively reinforce the students’ love for their hometown and will end with lunch with the mayor and a discussion with a city administrator, where students can present their ideas for improvement.

Gann said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students — and that, once they participate, they won’t be allowed to attend another session.

However, she said, they will bring all of the alumni back for an annual party. They are currently planning to rent out the bowling alley and have a large pizza party.

“It reinforces what the program is all about, that we want kids to grow up thinking that Hillsboro is a great place to live and that they can be involved in civic leadership when they’re older,” Seibel said.

Board president Eddie Weber said he thought the program would be good to implement. The school board voted in favor of the program, 7-0.

In Other Business

  • The school board approved the implementation of the ID badge policy. Each staff member will now be required to wear one whenever they are on duty.
  • They approved the 2013-2014 calendar, which aligns itself similarly the 2012-2013 calendar.
  • The school board decided to purchase four commercial fans for $15,940, which will be installed in the school gym. Experts expect game play won’t be affected by the wind currents because of the nature of the fans.
  • Linda Ogden has signed a work agreement to do the administrative services of a grant writer. Ogden will be writing grants, which ask for more than $25,000. She will be paid a flat fee of $500 for this service.
  • Tim Isaac has been reinstated as a bus driver, filling the vacant position of Milford Klassen who recently passed away.
  • The school board agreed to accept the contracts of Eileen Butler and Doug Dick as Walking School Bus Coordinators. They also extended the contracts of the following individuals through June 2015: Elementary School Principal Evan Yoder, Middle School Principal Greg Brown, and High School Principal Max Heinrichs.

 

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