2018 Serviceship Communities/

McCook THETA Camps

April 6, 2018
  About McCook, Neb. As the Red Willow County seat, McCook, Neb. has 7,526 residents. McCook is the go-to spot in southwest Nebraska! McCook has all kinds of recreation, including walking trails, horseshoe pits, and disc golf! About The Serviceship …

Host Team

  • Nate Bickford (Lead)
  • Sarah Wolford (Lead)
  • Matthew Bice (Lead)
  • Greg Brown

Tyan Boyer

Hometown: Plainview, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska at Kearney
Major: Exercise Science

Collin Fleecs

Hometown: Sutherland, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska at Kearney
Major: Exercise Science

Bradley Schoch

Hometown: Marquette, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska at Kearney
Major: Exercise Science

 

About McCook, Neb.

  • As the Red Willow County seat, McCook, Neb. has 7,526 residents.
  • McCook is the go-to spot in southwest Nebraska!
  • McCook has all kinds of recreation, including walking trails, horseshoe pits, and disc golf!

About The Serviceship Experience

In conjunction with the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the goal of this project is to bring education about health, exercise, technology and aquaponics to rural areas in Nebraska.

Brad, Collin, and Tyan were able to run the THETA (Teaching Health Exercise Technology and Aquaponics) Camps in the McCook community. They were also able to add some community outreach this summer. They worked with the McCook Community Hospital to provide two presentations for the public.

Accomplishments

The THETA Camp was eight weeks long with eight different modules. Each week there were between 12-15 student attendees. There were weekly assessments to track what each kid was learning and retaining.

The community outreach programs were very well received. They were about fitting exercise into a busy schedule and why you should. There were about 20 individuales in attendance for each presentation.

Impact

  • Brad: Learned how to communicate with people he didn’t know and how important it is to communicate with people in a rural community and share my purpose.
  • Tyan: Realized that not everyone responds to the same leadership styles.
  • Collin: Grew as a leader in terms of diversity and inclusion, thinking on his feet and improvising.

 

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

July 20, 2018

THETA camp is in its final stretch down here in McCook. It is crazy to look back on how fast this summer has gone and where we are at now. It feels like just yesterday we were rushing down to the radio station to promote our THETA camp.

We’ve covered a lot of ground to this point. Various modules have covered topics from aquaponics to nutrition to technology. All of our teachings have kept the students very engaged and allowed to them to relate the information we are supplying them to the real world right away. Although we have hit some road blocks along the way, as any good project will, it has helped as individuals by making us to work on our problem-solving skills to make the best out of the situations.

All Week Nine Updates

July 6, 2018

THETA continues to keep trucking along as we’ve completed 5 modules of our camp already. It’s crazy to see how fast this summer is passing. It feels as if just last week we were all in Lincoln completing our serviceship training.

At THETA, we are continuing to make impressive advancements as we have expanded our reaches from physical activity and nutrition into technology now as well. It has been a very good mix of speed for both RFI interns as well as our students. The kids continue to stay excited about the material that we are presenting them.

All Week Seven Updates

June 8, 2018

We implemented Module 1 of THETA camp the past week, and it has been very successful for our team. In Module 1, after getting to know everyone, we started fast by germinating plants with our students. The students were very interactive with this step in the growing of our produce.

After getting some plants started, we moved on to the next step which was constructing our hydroponic and aquaponic systems. The students seemed very interested in how these growing systems worked as well as very excited to be able to get their hands dirty and do a little construction project.

Students were able to use drills and cocking glue guns in order to build the structures we needed. It was very rewarding to teach a new skill to kids that had no experience with, specifically using a drill. It was also very interesting to watch kids work together to lift heavy bags of gravel and place it within our systems!

All Week Three Updates

May 25, 2018

The THETA trio talked with Rich Barnett of High Plains Radio about RFI and their camps live on the air.

We have had an amazing first few days here in McCook. As a trio, THETA is continuing to build upon the foundation laid last summer. We have instantly been thrown into action here in the small community of McCook where we have been making several connections as well as increasing the numbers for our camp attendance this summer.

Our first full day in town, Monday, we started off by stopping by the hospital to visit with Sarah Wolford and let her know that we made it and are ready to get to work. We also visited the local YMCA, the new facility for the THETA camp, to continue to build relationships and look over the utilities and room we will have access to this year. We believe that the YMCA will be a much better location for us to have another successful camp this year as we have plenty of space and resources at our fingertips.

Continuing on to Tuesday, we were notified in the morning that we were to be at the local radio station, High Plains Radio, in 45 minutes to promote the Rural Futures Institute and our THETA camp live on the air. We had a great time at the radio station where we were able to visit with a few locals as well as the radio host, Rich Barnett.

All Week One Updates

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Black Hills Energy

April 6, 2018
About Black Hills Energy Based in Lincoln, Neb. Services eight states, with Nebraska using natural gas In Nebraska, Black HIlls serves 290,000 in almost 300 communities, which is more than almost all of its other states About The Serviceship Experience …

Host Team

  • Melissa Garcia (Lead)
  • Brandy Johnson
  • Jill Becker
  • Alisa Neff

Student

Emily Coffey

Hometown: Lincoln, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Political Science

About Black Hills Energy

  • Based in Lincoln, Neb.
  • Services eight states, with Nebraska using natural gas
  • In Nebraska, Black HIlls serves 290,000 in almost 300 communities, which is more than almost all of its other states

About The Serviceship Experience

Black Hills Energy’s pilot serviceship experience with Emily began in April 2018, with the goal to address the company’s community and government relations needs on a statewide and regional level. Projects included assisting with employee advocacy and communications planning, Nebraska community giving strategy and natural gas safety outreach plan for college students. Unlike her 2017 serviceship experience, Emily was based in Lincoln, Neb,

Accomplishments

Natural gas safety outreach plan for college students

  • Researched social media tactics and applied them to purpose and target market
  • Created online promotions and giveaway plan to increase college students’ awareness
  • Wrote script for educational video
  • Created communications calendar
  • Composed social media posts

Governmental affairs team

  • Helped create strategic plan to educate existing PAC members and recruit new members

Exceptional perspective-building opportunities

  • Visit to the Nebraska Legislature
  • 2018 Safety & Wellness Summit
  • 2018 Extended Leadership Conference
  • Community Affairs Team Meetings
  • “Safe Digging Month” at the Capitol
  • Tour of Lincoln’s Town Border Station
  • Ride-along with a Black Hills Energy Service Technician
  • Visits to Holdrege, Neb., and Humboldt, Neb., where she saw how Black Hills to see how Black HIlls impacts rural communities directly
  • Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Meetings

Impact

  • Challenged Emily to work independently and establish new professional relationships.
  • Emily learned more about the utilities industry — it’s relationship with government and community leaders as well as crisis communications.

 

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

June 15, 2018

Over the last few weeks, Black Hills has welcomed a number of new interns to the company. Although many are located at the corporate headquarters in Rapid City, South Dakota, there are interns throughout the region, specializing in everything from Human Resources to engineering. In July, headquarters will be hosting all of us for their annual “Intern Week,” during which we will have the opportunity to network, present our individual projects and learn more about Black Hills.

One of the internal programs at Black Hills is their Ambassador Program. These employees are the face of the company at volunteer events and present to various groups throughout the community about natural gas safety. Recently, I was able to join them for 10/11 News’ “Can Care-a-Van,” an annual food drive which takes place in communities throughout Nebraska.

All Week Four Updates

June 1, 2018

Unlike the other RFI Serviceships taking place throughout the state this summer, my experience with Black Hills Energy has been in progress since the beginning of April. My experience is also unique in that, because Black Hills is a regional natural gas provider, my work deals with the company’s priorities at a statewide and regional level.

I’m fortunate to have started my Serviceship while the Nebraska legislature was still in session because it gave me the opportunity to accompany my lead mentor to the capitol on one of the legislature’s final and busiest days. It was really fascinating to see the lobbying process firsthand, and helped me to understand the importance of educating and working with elected officials on issues that have implications for the utility. Each year there are a number of legislative bills that have the potential to affect the ability of Black Hills’ customers and employees to safely access affordable natural gas.

 

All Week Two Updates

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Omaha Land Bank

April 6, 2018
About Kyle & Sydney worked with the Omaha Land Bank this summer and got an inside view of how important housing is to a community, its city and its state. The Omaha Land Bank is a local governmental nonprofit organizations …

Host Team

  • Marty Barnhart (Lead)
  • Mary Wells
  • Laura Heilman
  • Dave Schreiner
  • Kurt Holmstrom

Sydney Armbruster

Hometown: Falls City, NE
Campus: Peru State College
Major: Disease & Human Health

Kyle McGlade

Hometown: Council Bluffs, IA
Campus: University of Nebraska at Omaha
Major: Public Administration

About

Kyle & Sydney worked with the Omaha Land Bank this summer and got an inside view of how important housing is to a community, its city and its state. The Omaha Land Bank is a local governmental nonprofit organizations that was established by the Nebraska Legislature to develop housing strategies for regional organizations in rural communities across Nebraska. This included the management of the 600 properties currently overseen in Omaha by the Omaha Land Bank, working with property acquisition organizations to build an understanding of reforming problem properties, and potentially working on a plan to cost effectively landscape and care for the properties. They worked to better the understanding of how such housing strategies could be used by regional organizations to better rural communities across Nebraska.

About The Serviceship Experience

“The chance to be involved in community development that will be enacted by mid-November is exciting, said Kyle. “The work team at the Omaha Land Bank has a chemistry that makes you feel like you aren’t really even at work. It’s fun and rewarding.” Kyle said.

Sydney pointed out that future expansion of the work of the Land Bank is exciting. Her work here has really made Sydney realize the importance of teamwork and how well the Land Bank does it. She hopes to be a part of a team like this in her future.

Accomplishments

  • Attended a wide variety of community organizations in public input settings: OneOmaha, 30th and Ames Redevelopment, Land Bank Board, City Planning Department, etc.
  • Assisted in creating legal documents and the work of the Foreclosure team
  • Assisted in reviewing presentations used by the Land Bank as well as handouts
  • Made a rough draft of social media posts
  • Made suggestions for business website
  • Reviewed the media plan for the year and added recommendations
  • Met and talked to the community during outreach
  • Assisted in filming/photographing a transformed house

Impact

Key takeaways for Kyle and Sydney included:

  • Community input is very vital to the success of a community
  • Listening to all views/perspectives is crucial
  • There are key qualities it takes to be a successful community member
  • Collaboration is key to change
  • There is a critical connection between health and housing

 

Final Presentation

Weekly Updates

July 13, 2018

One major takeaway was to highlight that those in different areas all have the same desires for their neighborhoods and that different areas have strengths that may not be immediately apparent. The chance to be involved in community development that will be enacted by mid-November is exciting as this is something Kyle will see progress made on while attending school after I have finished my time as an RFI intern. In the last couple of weeks Sydney and Kyle will be looking for as many opportunities in Omaha as we can to learn from others and try to contribute a small piece of the larger picture.

Sydney has been able to help with multiple projects and loves having the variety in her day. She has been able to talk and understand what each person in the office does and how they contribute to the Omaha Land Bank team. Each of the team members plays a vital role in the success to the Land Bank. With the Land Banks success, it seems work will only continue to build up which is very exciting. Working here has really made Sydney realize the importance of teamwork and how well the Land Bank does it. She hopes to be a part of a team like this in her future.

All Week Eight Updates

June 29, 2018

Week five and six at the Omaha Land Bank has been a learning experience for both Kyle and Sydney. Sydney has started to help in the foreclosure process by helping the team generate documents to assist in the ten-step process of foreclosure. The land bank is a busy place in efforts to transform Omaha’s distressed properties into positive community assets. Every day, Sydney, Kyle and their co-workers are making huge strides in the success of many Omaha neighborhoods.

Sydney has been busy with various meetings. One that stuck out the most was when she had the opportunity to visit the Scooters that was recently opened in North Omaha. She had the opportunity to meet with the owner of that store location, Julian Young, who is a North Omaha advocate and entrepreneur. The opening of Scooters in North Omaha was more than just a coffee shop, it was a way for Young to tell the people of North Omaha that they mattered, and it was a place for the community to come together. It was inspirational for Sydney to hear Julian Young talk about his love and passion for his community. It made her question, what if everyone had a love for the community like Young? How would our communities look today?

The College World Series has been making our office location very busy. We are only blocks away from the number one destination in Omaha currently—TD Ameritrade. Our office had the opportunity to go tour the downtown area with all the pop-up shops, food trucks, and a top-notch train the Governor of Arkansas has been living in the last two weeks. While the unfamiliar faces have been very welcomed by our staff, we are ready to have our morning and afternoon commutes back to normal!

All Week Six Updates

June 15, 2018

Following the OMLB board meeting we were able to tour the Metro Community College campus’ new Construction Education Center. This brand-new building is a way that students working towards their certifications in trades like plumbing, and HVAC have the opportunity to work on a capstone project in which a full-scale home is built and then sold to the community. In partnership with the landbank, the first house out of the new building will go on a Land Bank vacant lot and be a 1600 sq. ft home with a two-car garage.

This will help in the redevelopment of North Omaha and the area around Metro Community College’s Fort Campus. The partnership will enable new homes to be put out at a competitive rate and eventually get up to three homes per year out into the community. What we saw this week was a much closer look at the governing structures of the land bank and various ways in which it is a key player in revitalizing areas of North Omaha and the city at large.

All Week Four Updates

June 1, 2018

The first two weeks in Omaha, Neb., at the Omaha Municipal Land Bank have been nothing short of amazing. Between being welcomed in the office to going to the house sites and exploring the city we have been able to really feel like a part of the OMLB team.

As a group, Sydney and Kyle went on a trip to a home the Land Bank has acquired. With Kurt, Dave, and Laura we were shown the types of property that OMLB takes on and looks for individuals to redevelop. At this property, securing the house and cleaning up the lawn were big priorities. The home had sat vacant for 12 years and will in the next few months be purchased for redevelopment (which needs to happen within nine months) thanks in large part to OMLB having the ability to waive leans and other blockades to developers having interest.

“The work team at the Omaha Land Bank has a chemistry that makes you feel like you aren’t really even at work. It’s fun and rewarding. I can’t wait to see what the next 8 weeks has in store for us,” Kyle said.

All Week Two Updates

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McCook, Neb.

April 6, 2018
  About McCook, Neb. With a population of 7,526 residents, McCook, Neb., is the county seat of Red Willow County in southwest Nebraska. The city of McCook was established in 1882 as a result of an agreement between the Burlington …

Host Team

  • Carol Schlegel (Lead)
  • Ben Dutton
  • Lena Koebel
  • Denise Garey
  • Greg Brown

Emily Frenzen

Hometown: Fullerton, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Communication

“We wanted to represent the University of Nebraska and RFI the best we could, so we thought that bringing in the energy we have, trying to be positive and setting an example for students in high school that it is cool to come back to your rural community at the end of your college experience.”

Sage Williams

Hometown: Eddyville, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agricultural Education

“I think the best part about the RFI Serviceship this summer was that we got to really invest in a community and get to know those people, and then they reinvested in us. Forming those relationships was really cool and an experience I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else.”

 

About McCook, Neb.

  • With a population of 7,526 residents, McCook, Neb., is the county seat of Red Willow County in southwest Nebraska.
  • The city of McCook was established in 1882 as a result of an agreement between the Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company to form a new railroad center halfway between Denver and Omaha.
  • It was named in honor of Alexander McDowell McCook, a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
  • The historical roots in agriculture, the railroad industry and the spirit of the American pioneer are still prevalent in the community lifestyle of McCook today.

About The Serviceship Experience

The Museum of the High Plains is one of McCook’s historical attractions that gives insight into Nebraska’s early pioneers and life on the American prairie. The historic Carnegie Library comprises a portion of the Museum complex. Built in the style of the Spanish Colonial Revival, the library was constructed with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation and continues to serve as a place of education with its archives of scrapbooks, yearbooks and a wealth of genealogical resources.

Sage and Emily’s priority project was an assessment the assets of the museum and created a plan of action for the curation of the facility to appeal to a diverse audience. Their secondary projects included community photography through Southwest Nebraska Tourism Coalition, developing the McCook Mastermind Alliance through the McCook Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and establishing the Accelerated Interns of McCook program.

Accomplishments

Assessed the assets of the High Plains Museum.

Sage and Emily took, inventoried and labeled more than 4,000 photographs of museum artifacts. They also obtained 100+ online survey results and talked to more than 30 residents about the museum. Through their surveys and interviews, they found that more than 90% of respondents would like to see change in the High Plains Museum.

Created a Plan of Action for the High Plains Museum.

Using a software called SketchUp, Sage and Emily created designs for every room in the museum that would improve the spaces logistically while maintaining the historical atmosphere. In their designs they suggested adding bathrooms, improving wheelchair accessibility, labeling artifacts and exhibits, and rearranging rooms into much needed meeting spaces for McCook residents. They suggested interior design features in certain rooms that would highlight McCook’s agricultural, railroad and pioneer roots.

They created and submitted a 30-page Plan of Action to the High Plains Museum board of directors which included their SketchUp designs, inventory assessments, survey responses and plans for the museum moving forward.

Developed the McCook Mastermind Alliance.

Under the guidance of Andy Long of the McCook Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the McCook Mastermind Alliance brings together highly motivated, like-minded community members to invest in each other’s failures and successes while prioritizing leadership development and collaboration. Sage and Emily assisted by creating the structure and application for the Alliance, as well as designing marketing materials, creating a presentation and hosting a kick-off event to advertise the program to the public.

Established the Accelerated Interns of McCook program.

Using the model of RFI Serviceship as an inspiration, Sage and Emily assisted the MEDC in creating the Accelerated interns of McCook program. They organized the structure of the program, designed marketing materials and created applications for businesses and students.

“Sage and I created a model similar to our experience in RFI, because we loved it so much,” Emily said.

Through this intern program, local businesses will receive help finding and hiring interns who will go through a two-day training course prior to the start of their internship. The goal of this program is to connect local businesses with the future generation of emerging leaders in McCook while promoting rural potential to students. Available to high school and college students, this program offers young leaders paid real-world experience, career exploration, service learning opportunities and biweekly meetings with mentors and peers.

The Accelerated Interns of McCook program will launch in the summer of 2019, and applications will be available in December 2018.

Assisted with community photography.

Both photography enthusiasts, Sage and Emily were excited to get an opportunity to travel to towns across southwest Nebraska to take photographs of the main streets, niche locations and hotspots unique to each community for the Southwest Nebraska Tourism Coalition.

Impact

As Engler Entrepreneurship students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, both Sage and Emily were impacted by seeing how entrepreneurship was a vital component to community development in McCook. “Both of us hope to eventually return to a rural community, so it’s awesome to know that there are those opportunities for us should we decide to become business owners,” Emily said.

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

July 20, 2018

This week has been a big week of event planning in McCook! During our last week, we will be holding a “Fiesta” to kick off the two programs we have been working on with Andy Long, Economic Development Coordinator. We will have tacos and fun for all in attendance as we present the McCook Mastermind Alliance and Accelerated Interns of McCook Program.

Additionally, we will be hosting a membership drive at the High Plains Museum, at which there will be snacks, music and a showcase of 3D designs we have created. To showcase the 3D designs for the Night at the Museum Event, we have been continuously working on exhibit designs through a software called Sketchup. It is so much fun to work with, AND it allows us to give people a visual on what we see for the future of the High Plains Museum!

To prepare for these events, we spent a couple hours walking from business to business with Andy to hand out flyers. This allowed us to meet business professionals in the community we hadn’t been introduced to yet. While we are on the homestretch of our serviceship, it’s refreshing to continue to meet McCook’s stakeholders.

All Week Nine Updates

July 6, 2018

In addition to the museum planning, we have been working on two projects with McCook’s Economic Development Director Andy Long. The first project is called the McCook Mastermind Alliance. The goal of this group is to bring together highly motivated people who are committed to growing personally and professionally. Promotion and connection are two of our main goals for this project. By accomplishing these two tasks, we feel we will be able help start the engine of this creative and collaborative train.

The other project we are working on is the Accelerated Interns of McCook (AIM), which is a program modeled after the RFI Serviceship unique to the McCook community. High school and college students will apply for existing or new internships in the area, and AIM managers will assist with promotion and application screening. Beyond hiring, the program will focus on creating a close-knit community for interns through bi-weekly meetings with one another and local professionals, as well as social gatherings. Interns will also complete 10 volunteer service hours throughout the summer.

All Week Seven Updates

June 22, 2018

Before meeting with the High Plains Museum Board to gauge readiness for change, present our ideas and get feedback, we scheduled individual meetings with the board members. We found it much easier to ask them questions and share our ideas once we had established relationships. They were kind enough to welcome us into their homes or make time to meet us at Sehnert’s, the local coffee and deli hot spot. With each conversation, we got a better taste of McCook’s history.

In preparation for the High Plains Museum Board meeting, Carol also took us on a road trip to three more museums! We were able to speak with Kearney’s Tourism Director, Roger Jasnoch, as he guided us through the Classic Car Collection and Trails and Rails Museum, where we met Director Jennifer Murrish. Here, we gathered several ideas for exhibit presentation, sustainable board leadership, and museum donation logistics to bring back to the High Plains Museum. Following our tour of Kearney museums, we buzzed over to Holdrege to the Nebraska Prairie Museum. The enthusiastic director, Dan Christensen, shared with us his passion for the museum and advice on bringing in future generations.

Emily and Sage pose in the Classic Car Collection and Trails and Rails Museum during their museum road trip around central Nebraska.

All Week Five Updates

June 8, 2018

Over the last two weeks in McCook, we have continued to create an inventory of the items in the High Plains Museum. With nearly 4,000 photographs taken to date, we are nearing the end of our record keeping process! We are also starting to inventory the books in the Carnegie Library. Additionally, we have been interviewing members of the museum board to get their perspective on the future of the High Plains Museum. The interviews have assisted in the stimulation of new ideas and the incorporation of the most significant parts of McCook’s history. Brainstorming sessions have been a vital part of our everyday by keeping our minds moving and fresh ideas rolling in.

One of our secondary projects is to create a library of community photography for future marketing purposes. This means we get to travel across the county capturing small town Nebraska main streets, unique buildings and favorite restaurants in the area like the Rocket Inn where people come from afar for their famous pizza. We discovered the gem that is the Rocket Inn this week while exploring Indianola and then made our way to Bartley for more photographs.

All Week Three Updates

May 25, 2018

Emily and Sage visited Carhenge at the Knights Museum in Alliance, Neb., while looking for ideas to improve the High Plains Museum in McCook.

Day one of week one was spent meeting community members and getting a tour of downtown McCook from our project supervisors Carol Schlegel and Ben Dutton. Walking the brick streets that pave the way for the many successful local shops was definitely a highlight to our first day! We will primarily report to Carol, McCook’s Tourism Director, since our primary project is creating an action plan for organizing and remodeling the High Plains Museum. After touring the museum, we both agreed that we have more work to do than we expected. However, we are tackling the challenge ahead with fixed determination and high energy.

To get a few ideas moving forward, we traveled to the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering, as well as the Knights Museum in Alliance where we also stopped at the famous Carhenge! These were two very high quality museums, and we were able to pull several new and innovative ideas to potentially apply to the High Plains museum. We invested in flip charts to gather our thoughts after our day of asking questions and note taking at other museums. Since then, we have been photographing items in the museum and, as Carol requested, putting together an inventory of the museum’s assets.

All Week One Updates

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Broken Bow, Neb.

April 6, 2018
About Broken Bow is the county seat for Custer County with just over 4,000 residents. The largest industry is agriculture, with Adams Land and Cattle, Thomas Livestock and smaller family operations all working in the area. Becton Dickinson and Company …

Host Team

  • Andrew Ambriz
  • Deb McCaslin

Leanne Gamet

Hometown: Paxton, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Communication

Jessica Weeder

Hometown: Albion, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agribusiness

About

  • Broken Bow is the county seat for Custer County with just over 4,000 residents.
  • The largest industry is agriculture, with Adams Land and Cattle, Thomas Livestock and smaller family operations all working in the area.
  • Becton Dickinson and Company also employs a large number of people from all over the county and surrounding areas.

About The Serviceship Experience

Jessica and Leanne thoroughly enjoyed the variety of projects they worked on in Broken Bow. They were quick to credit their Lead Mentor, Andrew Ambriz, Executive Director of Custer County Economic Development, for their long list of accomplishments. As a former mentor (McCook, Neb., 2017) and a former RFI Serviceship intern himself, they felt Andrew empowered them to accomplish far more than what they thought they could do.

Accomplishments

In assisting the community in identifying the feasibility of a YMCA in Broken Bow, the interns conducted extensive research, hosted community discussions and tours to help determine the desire for both wellness and childcare opportunities that the YMCA provides. They conducted a feasibility study using interviews and a survey, and coordinated a meeting with CEO of the Kearney YMCA to discuss the possibility of a connection with their organization.

Another project was assisting with business advertising for the bikers traveling through the area heading to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This evolved in such a way that the Sturgis Chamber has reached out to Broken Bow to discuss other potential collaborations.

Additional projects included researching and applying for a Leadership Certified Community designation, which is in the final stages, and working with the City administrator to conduct cold calls to learn about placing ads in a variety of media to promote Broken Bow and Custer County. Leanne also wrote eight articles for the Custer County Chief and as an Ag Communications major she really enjoyed using the skills she had learned at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Impact

At the top of the students’ lists are the relationships that they made and the connections that will remain.

Leanne explained, “We are hoping we left a legacy of sustainability with our projects. What we heard over and over again was that people in Broken Bow could have done what we did, but because we were able to solely work on those projects, we were able to move them further along than others might have accomplished.”

Jessica explained that all of the materials were in place to ensure continued progress on their projects, and they also left ideas and new goals for the community.

Personally, Jessica enjoyed:

  • Coming up with new ideas for projects (as projects were very open ended)
  • The intense opportunity for career exploration
  • The chance for collaborative relationship building with industry professionals
  • Learning a new perspective on small communities’ innovation.

Leanne’s key takeaways were:

  • Starting a project from a ground up
  • Taking initiative to get things going
  • Independence in a job atmosphere
  • Making a plan to execute and collaborate
  • Creating relationships
  • Having an entire summer of career exploration

 

Final Presentation

Weekly Updates

July 13, 2018

Just like the infamous taco truck showing its potential by making regular appearances around Broken Bow, our projects are starting to show their potential and even have begun to wrap up! We finished our promotion cards for Sturgis this past week and have plans to distribute them to Christian biker groups that ride through Broken Bow on the way up to Sturgis as well as the bikers that go to the neighboring town of Arnold this coming weekend for Devil’s Den. Devil’s Den is a biker rally in which they also do a poker run to raise money for several different causes.

On Jul. 2, the YMCA project really got moving. During that morning, we and the steering committee, which we put together, met with Denny Placzek who is the CEO/Executive Director of the Kearney YMCA. The steering committee showed their strong interest in getting a YMCA facility to the city of Broken Bow. Denny had mentioned during that meeting that he has never seen such a driven group of community members determined to get things moving so quickly.

All Week Eight Updates

June 29, 2018

Since we are at the halfway point in our internship, we have realized a couple of things. First, we have gotten a lot done on our projects and have met a lot of people who are very willing to help us out. Second, we have a lot left to do before we leave at the beginning of August.

Our last two weeks have included attending more economic development meetings, attending another radio talk show, having lunch with Chuck, Theresa and Helen and continuing to enjoy Broken Bow, Neb. We continue to host our weekly coffees, and this past Monday, we tried something new. We hosted ‘Refreshments and Feedback’ at a local bar and grill to try to draw more of the younger population out. We had our last coffee with the community on Wednesday morning which was a great way to tie up loose ends and get some final feedback.

All Week Six Updates

June 15, 2018

Things in Broken Bow are still going great! We have met more and more people, and it is getting easier for people to recognize us. Our main project with recreation is still coming along. We hosted our first coffee with the community event on Monday, Jun. 4, and two more that following week. Meeting members of the community and different organizations, such as the Rotary Club, has been very eye opening. It is great to hear their opinion and how much they love their town. We have decided to do a recreationally focused survey to get more input that people would rather give anonymously. We met with stakeholders from Adams Land and Cattle, as well as Sargent Pipe, to get their opinions on what recreational additions would help the community.

NET came to the community of Broken Bow for a segment on the new library here but stuck around for something they call “Town Talk.” During this talk, community members came together to talk about the things they are most proud of and some of the “jewels” in town and county that people may not know about. This was a great time for everyone to voice their opinions about the station.

NTV visited the town and did an interview of us for the news. We were able to talk about the RFI Serviceship program, as well as our projects, our upcoming coffees with the community, and future goals when we graduate college.

All Week Four Updates

June 1, 2018

We have both been very busy here in the community of Broken Bow! Both with working on major projects and a few smaller ones here and there. Our first week consisted of meeting a multitude of people and setting up coffee talks with the community. Our plan there is to reach out residents for their opinion on recreational opportunities here in Broken Bow.  We have started working on tourism and getting in contact with potential partners in Sturgis and surrounding areas in South Dakota. Another smaller project has been contacting television stations to get a ‘Through My Eyes’ promotional commercial about Broken Bow out across the state. We have learned a lot about cold calling Nebraska TV stations and getting campaigns put together to run this ad. Two smaller projects we are taking on by ourselves include making Custer County Leadership Certified and a Livestock Friendly County.

Both of us are really looking forward to involving ourselves in the local culture by participating in more festivities and celebrations throughout the summer!

Leanne and Jessica discuss the community coffee talks they’re hosting live on the air for 92.3 KBEAR.

All Week Two Updates

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Columbus, Neb.

April 6, 2018
  About Columbus As the county seat of Platte County, Columbus, Neb. has a population of 22,111 people. In the top ten most populated cities in Nebraska. They have a strong Industrial/Manufacturing heritage, and have even held the title of …

Host Team

  • K.C. Belitz (Lead)
  • Kara Asmus
  • Rick Chochon
  • Pat Heimes
  • Sandie Fischer

Clayton Keller

Hometown: Millersport, OH
Campus: University of Nebraska at Omaha
Major: Public Administration

What Clayton learned: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Amber Ross

Hometown: Callaway, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agribusiness

“Working for a chamber or working as a community developer of any kind is really a labor of love-you get to do it because it is something you care about and something you’re passionate about.”

 

About Columbus

  • As the county seat of Platte County, Columbus, Neb. has a population of 22,111 people.
  • In the top ten most populated cities in Nebraska.
  • They have a strong Industrial/Manufacturing heritage, and have even held the title of “Most Industrialized City per Capita in Nebraska”.
  • Very diverse community, with 20% being Hispanic or Latino.

About The Serviceship Experience

Amber and Clayton, under the guidance of KC Belitz and the staff at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, worked on a variety of different projects. They planned events for interns in the community, updated the community calendar, planned and executed a community trivia challenge, and started planning the Young Nebraskans Week event to take place in September. They also worked with the Columbus Area Future Fund to compile marketing materials for their next big campaign.

Accomplishments & Impact

Interns’ Night Out

Amber and Clayton got to help plan and then enjoy two intern’s night out. These events are designed to help welcome interns in the area and to help them meet other interns. The events included dinner followed by an activity.

Community Calendar

The team worked to rebrand, update and then market the community calendar. If you are ever in the Columbus area, check out the Good Times Calendar.

Young Nebraskans Week Event

Amber and Clayton formed a committee and helped start planning the September 2018 Young Nebraskans Week event that will take place in Columbus. This event will have personal and professional development and networking opportunities, along with tours of a few businesses in Columbus.

Something Good Trivia Challenge

The Something Good Trivia Challenge was the interns’ chance to really get out into the community and meet a lot of people. The event ran for two weeks, each morning they posted a trivia question on social media and then later in the day had a pop up event around town. Each pop up event had prizes and snacks for participants to win.

Columbus Area Future Fund

Amber and Clayton created new marketing materials for the Columbus Area Future Fund by interviewing and taking pictures of the Fund Advisory Committee, taking pictures of recent grant recipient projects and creating monthly newsletters. They were also able to create a list of potential donors, this list will be used in the future-during the campaign and to organize other events.

 

Final Presentation


 

Weekly Updates

July 13, 2018

Recently, Dr. Helen Fagan asked us to think about the legacy that we are leaving with this community. The answer to that question revolves around the letter R. Recruitment. Reach. Retention. Results.

Results. As the summer winds down, we find ourselves looking to our hosts to see what our role was this summer. Kara Asmus, Workforce Coordinator for the Chamber, said we are encouraging people to embrace the community brand, which is what the Chamber is really trying to do. KC Belitz, Columbus Area Chamber President, said that we are getting results. “The obvious answer is that you are getting work done. There are projects we wouldn’t have gotten to this summer. We never would have done them without you guys. Your internship may end in three weeks but you’re not going anywhere!”

All Week Eight Updates

June 29, 2018

As KC Belitz would say, “HEY TEAM!” That is exactly how we have tackled our projects at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce—as a team. From brainstorming sessions to listing jobs for chamber members to recruiting campaign partners to pulling weeds for a streetscape project, there has been no shortage of opportunities for teamwork. The Chamber is never boring! Or maybe it’s just Clayton’s excitement for the unexpected stint in the sun, “… and then we get to pull weeds, I’M SO EXCITED!” Those weeds didn’t stand a chance.

The Young Nebraskans Week Committee met last week for the first time. We are working to incorporate their best suggestions from the meeting into our plan for the event. The next step is to create a budget and find sources of funding. This is a great group to work with and we hope to plan a successful event for them and the young professionals of the Columbus area.

All Week Six Updates

June 15, 2018

Columbus continues to inspire, entertain, and impress us. Each day brings a new face, a new opinion, and a new idea.

We were able to attend the Diversity and Inclusion Summit hosted by the Chamber. We got to hear about recruitment, inclusion, how technology is making a difference in inclusion and innovative problem solving. KC Belitz, president of the Chamber, said that the goal of this summit was to encourage Columbus to “create one community instead of two.” Then he joked, “We can’t afford two!” Diversity and Inclusion will be a focus during Young Nebraskans Week here in Columbus.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” So, we have made sure to have some fun. The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors a monthly Interns’ Night Out for all interns in the area during the summer. This month’s activity included a catered dinner and line dance lessons by a local dance instructor. About 25 interns joined us for this great night out on the town!

All Week Four Updates

June 1, 2018

Columbus: small town; big things. We started the week with back to back meetings and networking. We met many of the communities leaders and were able to learn about our projects for the summer. It was a long day and we were running on fumes, but our hosts, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Area Future Fund, were able to come together and provide us with a “Get to Know the Newbies” Dinner. It was a welcome meal as we had spent the day adding to the ever growing list of projects. Throughout the dinner we were able to speak with the mayor, the chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors, and the president of the Columbus Area Future Fund. We were also dining with a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, as she was in town gathering information for a piece on the growing need for rural housing.

And let’s not forget about our own thoughts and impressions. Columbus is new territory for us, and with that comes first impressions.We have also been impressed with the people that we have met. We have met a lot of different people but they have all sung the same tune—there is something good going on here. We have both really enjoyed meeting the key community players that work every day to improve Columbus, and we’ve been impressed by the quantity and quality of these key players in the community as well.

Clayton and Amber were featured in The Columbus Telegram. Read their article >>>

All Week Two Updates

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Seward, Neb.

April 6, 2018
About Seward County, Neb. 12 communities, each with something unique and different Named after William H. Seward, Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln. He negotiated the purchase of Alaska. 17,000 residents in Seward County with 7,000 in the community …

Host Team

  • Jonathan Jank (Lead)
  • Vikki Gremel
  • Gary Rolf
  • Clark Kolterman
  • Suzanne Gligorevic
  • Megan Kahler

Raghav Kidambi

Hometown: Chennai, India
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Human Resource Management

“I’ve understood that community development in greater Nebraska is by no means an easy task. I’ve seen Jonathan and his team contribute so much hard work, grit and time to help set things up in terms of economic development and community development. I was able to see what it actually takes to be in those shoes.”

Maddie Miller

Hometown: Waverly, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Hospitality, Restaurant & Tourism Management

“I love serving people and putting their needs before mine and this program was a great way to do this.”

About Seward County, Neb.

  • 12 communities, each with something unique and different
  • Named after William H. Seward, Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln. He negotiated the purchase of Alaska.
  • 17,000 residents in Seward County with 7,000 in the community of Seward.
  • Overall population of the county is increasing for several reasons, including but not limited to small-town feel with access to Interstate and highways, excellent school systems.
  • Agriculture-based economy.
  • Highly philanthropic mentality and infrastructure.

About The Serviceship Experience

The Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership put together Vision 2035, which is based on these principles:

  • Integrity
  • Respect to Everyone
  • Sustainable Leadership
  • Giving
  • Planning for the Future

Raghav and Maddie contributed to this vision with a focus on recruitment and retention. Under the guidance of Jonathan Jank, President and CEO of the Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership, as well as the contributions of many other community leaders, they were tasked to strategize around the question: “How can we make Seward County sticky?” Essnetially, how could they create opportunities for new, current and potential residents to build meaningful relationships

Accomplishments

Newcomer engagement project — a tool to help Seward to get stickier.

Produced the hypothesis that younger professionals and older retirees are the most disengaged with their communities. Families find ways to be engaged through their children or other family activities. Goal was to fill this engagement gap with young professionals and retirees.

Raghav and Maddie talked to 40+ stakeholders in businesses, civic organizations and more, asking question such as:

  • “What makes Seward great?”
  • “What could we do better?”

All of this data culminated in the creation of a quarterly event series to bring newcomers and current residents together. The first event was an ice cream social held in July 2018.

For the event, the pair recruited 20 active community members to be on the “Meet and Greet Group,” training them to purposefully network with current residents and newcomers.

After the event, they surveyed the “Meet and Greet Group” to learn what could be done better in the future. The results of the survey confirmed their hypothesis that there was as need for more purposeful engagement with young professionals and retirees. All meet and greeters engaged with someone they didn’t know, and all said they were highly likely to attend another newcomer event.

Created a newcomer events guide.

The guidebook houses all of the sponsor information, contacts, suggestions, sustainability plan and more from Raghav and Maddie’s plan. It has been presented to the Seward County First Impressions Committee to use for the next year of planned events and ongoing.

Creation of Seward County newcomer landing page.

To make it easier and more efficient for newcomers to set up their lives in Seward County, Raghav and Maddie created sewardcountynewcomers.org.

Impact

  • Maddie: Grew as a leader in problem solving, confidence in working with people and public speaking.
  • Raghav: Enabled me to better communicate my thoughts and also made me a better listener and observational learner.

 

Final Presentations

Weekly Updates

July 20, 2018

We have spent the past couple of weeks trying to finish our projects. We have been working on planning our next two events and trying to come up with a club to take them over.

Additionally, the Newcomer & Resident Ice Cream Social was quite the success. It was held over the weekend, on the Jul. 15, 2018. We, along with Jonathan, were also interviewed by Karina from RFI before the ice cream social began.

The meet and greet group that we helped put together were present. Members of the meet and greet group made use of the opportunity to network with newcomers and residents.

It was fun to see people getting together and having a pompous community time. We were also able to distribute a survey to those who were part of the meet and greet group, to get feedback on changes that could improve the next events that will be taking place in the future.

All Week Nine Updates

July 6, 2018

Another one of our projects in updating the Seward County website. We are taking this information from each of the communities and adding to the website. This will then help newcomers and visitors to get new information about the town they are visiting.

After we finish updating the website, we hope to receive a grant from the Seward Visitor’s Committee to make Seward County magnets. These magnets would have the website’s URL on them and we would pass them out to each community to hand out. We are hoping to hear from the committee about the grant later this month.

All Week Seven Updates

June 22, 2018

Overall, we would say that it has been quite an exhilarating five weeks. The first two weeks were full of nervousness about what event we were going to help create, as we were given the freedom to create anything we wanted with the condition that it stayed sustainable and manageable for folks after we depart Seward County in August. We knew it had to be something informal and approachable, since that is probably the best way to attract as many newcomers and residents as we can. After many thought trial and errors, we decided that it had to be an event that emphasized the epitome of summer—ice cream. We hope that our event goes as planned and that we get feedback that can help us improve the other two installments of this newcomer event extravaganza.

There has been a lot that we have done in the past five weeks. We met with dozens of leaders in the community and have been able to solidify our ideas for our Seward County newcomer event. We also had Seward’s very first Cultural Festival on Jun. 8. Also on this day is when the Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) came through and stayed in Seward. It was a perfect day to host them, but also host the festival.

All Week Five Updates

June 8, 2018

Our time at the Seward County Chamber has been reasonably productive so far. We met with many community stakeholders over the past week and a half, which has been extremely insightful to make meaningful progress towards achieving our primary project goals of creating a sustainable engagement initiative for Seward County. Meeting these stakeholders and community members one-on-one gave us the knowledge of the various opinions that community members have. This then lead to the filtering of opinions which enabled us to come up with tangible output plans.

We hope to be able to collaborate with community members, stakeholders and local businesses to be able to pull off the event that we are in the process of creating. We are very excited to, and yet a tad bit nervous about putting up this event. The nervousness stems from the possibility of a minimal turnout for the event, but that does not equate to having to give up on our marketing efforts. We believe that persistent and strategic marketing and coordination will help us achieve our goals.

All Week Three Updates

May 25, 2018

We are working with the Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership (SCCDP) under the mentorship of Jonathan Jank. Our primary project is to develop a sustainable Seward County Newcomers program that will engage new permanent residents and many visitors to Seward County each year. We are also teaming up with local businesses to determine how to attract new customers and to take a fresh look at Seward County to determine what first impressions newcomers have of local communities.

We have specifically started to narrow down our goals for the summer. We will be trying to reach out to newcomers and get more information on how we can make Seward County “sticky.” Some of the questions we will ask members of the community include: “What attracted you to move to Seward?” and “How was your experience moving into Seward? What went great? What could have been better?” We will also try to reach out to leaders of surrounding communities such as Milford, Utica, Bee and Cordova. We also know that the lack of housing has been a problem in Seward County. We are trying to find out the necessary information that can help retain newcomers to staying in Seward County in the long term. Conducting surveys or simply setting up meetings with new families and people to the community may solve this.

 

 

All Week One Updates

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Red Cloud, Neb.

April 6, 2018
About Red Cloud, Neb. 1,000 people in Southern Webster County Intersection of Highways 136 and 281 About The Serviceship Experience Trenton and Trevor were able to spend the summer in Red Cloud, Neb. with Red Cloud Heritage Tourism Development. They …

Host Team

  • Jarrod McCartney (Lead)
  • Ashley Olson
  • Dennis Hansen
  • Gary Ratzlaff
  • Jay Hall
  • Justin Armstrong
  • Liz Rasser

Trenton Buhr

Hometown: Cortland, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Political Science, Psychology, & Classics

“Being able to do this on our own gave us a lot of experience and helped us build on our passions.”

Trevor Harlow

Hometown: Waterloo, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska at Omaha
Major: Political Science & Environmental Studies

“It was really important for us to come here and understand those things that they don’t understand so that we can give them that direction. As I move forward, it’s going to be really useful because I know what it takes.”

About Red Cloud, Neb.

  • 1,000 people in Southern Webster County
  • Intersection of Highways 136 and 281

About The Serviceship Experience

Trenton and Trevor were able to spend the summer in Red Cloud, Neb. with Red Cloud Heritage Tourism Development. They worked on several projects, their biggest and most time consuming one being an economic development plan.

Accomplishments

Economic Development Plan

Trenton and Trevor got to help work on a comprehensive economic development plan for the community of Red Cloud. It involved learning about the community, exploring potential solutions to problems, making the plan and presenting that plan to the public. The target areas were housing, business development, quality of life, and tourism. Those four were the areas they identified as the best areas for growth.

Heritage Tourism

Red Cloud was the home of Willa Cather and tourism is the community’s second largest industry. Trenton and Trevor’s mentor, Jared McCartney, is the tourism director, so they got to help him with some of his projects.

Event Facilitation

The pair got to help with the Willa Cather Conference. They go to help run this event for 200 people from all over the world. They also helped with the Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN), where Red Cloud won “Best Host Community”.

Housing Rehabilitation

Housing Rehabilitation was a part of the Economic Development Plan but they also did some hands on work. They were able to spent a few hot days working on houses.

 

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

July 13, 2018

Over the weekend we had the opportunity to attend the Good Living Tour that was been hosted in Red Cloud this past Friday, Jul. 6. This was a great chance to attend a community event just as fellow Red Cloud citizens, and it was a lot of fun!

Other than working on our main goal these last two weeks and having some fun we have been working on some supplementary things for the plan and some other projects for the community. We picked up work on a clean up project that was started back in June, it involved working on a nuisance home in Red Cloud that the Board of Public Trust, a public group that buys and sells homes through the authority of the city similar to a land bank, owns, and is hoping to be able to sell soon. We were able to work on it this week and got all of the paint scraping done, so now it will just need painted, and a majority of the exterior work is done!

This week, Trevor has created the two resolutions and ballot language that will be needed to pass both LB840 and LB357. Meanwhile, Trenton as been working on getting everything ready for the city to apply for the leadership designation, which will most likely happen after we are gone from Red Cloud, but it is great to see the groundwork laid by him!

All Week Eight Updates

June 29, 2018

We have had some opportunities to step outside of the office though! The Good Living Tour, which is a concert series put on across a handful of towns in Nebraska that feature local Nebraska based bands, is coming to Red Cloud on July 7th. We were tasked with going around to different businesses in the community to seek sponsorships for the event to help cover the cost to not have it all came directly from the tourism department. We did have some luck with a couple businesses and some generous individuals, but we happened to be placed right at the end of a donation frenzy. There were a few major events in Red Cloud in the month prior, and little league baseball had it’s season start, so most businesses were already tapped out from these event, making it very hard to contribute to this cause. Luckily there should be enough sponsorship money overall to cover the event when all things are accounted for! We met with the city superintendent and the organizers for the Good Living tour in the city park to decide where to place the stage, food vendors, mobile skate park, and other components of the tour.

All Week Six Updates

June 15, 2018

The third week in Red Cloud was just as exciting as the first two. We attended and helped with the 63rd annual Willa Cather Conference. The theme for the conference was the 100th Anniversary of My Ántonia, arguably Willa Cather’s most successful book. It was the most attended conference in history, as around 200 English teachers, college professors, and well-read citizens came to town. We had an exciting day Saturday as Trevor drove all the way to Lincoln at 6 in the morning to retrieve the banquet’s entertainment, John Reed-Torres, a ragtime piano player out of Los Angeles. Then, Trenton drove him back to Lincoln late that night.

In the beginning of the next week we began preparing for the Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN). A whopping 350 bike-riders, 50 support staff, and 50 family members were going to be tent-camping in the city park on June 6th after a 50-mile ride from Alma. The day before they arrived, we took a trip to Alma to hand out fliers about Red Cloud’s activities awaiting the riders. We helped coordinate with local businesses and groups who would be setting up food stands or hosting many of the night’s guests. The first riders crossed the city limits just before 9:00 Wednesday morning and were all in by 3:00 in the afternoon, increasing Red Cloud’s population by 50%!

All Week Four Updates

June 1, 2018

As a whole, most of the week was spent getting introduced to the town’s assets and stakeholders. For our task, this is a very important step because these people live and breath the problems of the community that we were sent here to help solve. We can already tell that the city has a lot going for it. There are many well organized groups who are trying to improve the town in many ways from tourism to athletics to housing. In the coming weeks we will be seeing a lot of these people and some new faces as we try to pin down the problem(s) that we want to help solve. We can already see a lot of the big issues. But, it is also a matter of understanding the limit of our influence both in direction for the town and financially.

“Although we have barely scratched the surface of our project here in Red Cloud, I can already feel the work Trenton and I are doing impact the community in a positive way. We are continuing to grow and learn from the people in this community, and by the time we are done this summer I know we will have gained an amazing and unique perspective that will carry us even further in our careers and life,” Trevor said.

All Week Two Updates

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Norfolk, Neb.

April 6, 2018
About Norfolk, Neb., is the ninth largest town in Nebraska with a population of 24,348 people. Norfolk is the economic center for an area encompassing six counties. Basic economic activities of Norfolk are manufacturing, agriculture, education, retailing, and wholesaling. About …

Host Team

  • Tammy Day (Lead)
  • Traci Jeffrey
  • Anders Olson
  • Brandon Day
  • Mark Zimmerer
  • Candice Alder

Cheyenne Gerlach

Hometown: DeWitt, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Integrated Sciences

“Having that strong network of people in Norfolk is such a benefit for both of us moving forward in our careers.”

Samantha Guenther

Hometown: Crofton, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agricultural Education

“RFI Serviceship was the perfect application of our education at the University of Nebraska to our futures.”

About

  • Norfolk, Neb., is the ninth largest town in Nebraska with a population of 24,348 people.
  • Norfolk is the economic center for an area encompassing six counties. Basic economic activities of Norfolk are manufacturing, agriculture, education, retailing, and wholesaling.

About The Serviceship Experience

Samantha and Cheyenne spent the first half of their summer with Daycos, one of three benefit corporations in Nebraska. Their Daycos project focused on capturing the story of how the business is investing 10% of their gross revenues into their employees and the community, including the creation of a permanent charitable endowment and a goal of investing $50 million through Daycos4Good by 2028.

They spent the second half of their summer working with the Norfolk Visitor’s Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council to create a marketing strategy that unites, educates and promotes retail and service opportunities.

Accomplishments

Told the story of Daycos4Good.

Samantha and Cheyenne created marketing materials and five videos to tell the story of Daycos4Good and their unique approach to rural philanthropy and community development. They also assisted the company in defining their identity by facilitating a meeting to answer the question, “What is Daycos?”

Created a marketing strategy to cross promote businesses and upsell Norfolk.

Samantha and Cheyenne also worked with the Norfolk Visitor’s Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council to create a marketing strategy for the Norfolk area that unites, educates and promotes retail and service opportunities. They conducted business surveys, combined results and led a focus group with local business to discuss ways to improve in their collaborative and customer service initiatives.

They also created a portfolio with multiple marketing strategies including website revamping, community murals, social media features and a foundation to hold a community service training for businesses across Norfolk.

Impact

  • Help the city of Norfolk realize the potential they have to attract young people to their community.
  • Made the first step in connecting all the retail entities across the town.
  • Systemize the conceptual “for good” work for Daycos to inspire other businesses to take the same steps.

 

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

July 13, 2018

As for Daycos, we have started creating our final portfolio to give them at the end of the summer, as well. We will be facilitating a final meeting at the end of the month to share the videos, hiring process outline, and wall of aim projects that we have completed. We are very grateful that Daycos has treated us well during our summer in Norfolk. We are proud to have been a part of such a great company that we have learned so much from.

“We are so grateful to have Cheyenne and Samantha here this summer with us at Daycos for 5 weeks. We did not know what to expect when we applied to have RFI interns with us and were nervous that we would not have enough for them to do or have a clear enough picture about the outcomes we were hoping for with the work,” said Tammy Day, co-owner of Daycos, Inc. “How silly it was for us to worry! These young women have been an excellent addition to Daycos, are incredibly intelligent, creative and self-motivated, and have added so much value to our company that we are sorry we only have them for half the time. What a wonderful opportunity for us to work with such amazing young people who are interested in life and work in rural places. Thank you for matching Cheyenne and Samantha with us! We will be so sad to see them go.”

All Week Eight Updates

June 29, 2018

When we asked Brandon Day, the CEO of Daycos, for his thoughts on our serviceship, he said, “Daycos has been very fortunate to have Samantha Guenther and Cheyenne Gerlach as Rural Futures Institute interns this summer. In a short time, they have become a part of the organization, blending in well with our people and culture, and becoming a valuable part of our team. Having these smart, capable young women come in to our organization, and look at everything with a fresh set of eyes, and new ideas, has been invaluable. They have offered unique perspectives, probing questions, and great suggestions. A number of employees have commented how much they have enjoyed getting the chance to talk to them about our company, and how much value they got from the interactions. Despite only being here a few weeks, they have made a lasting positive impact on our organization. My only regret is that they can’t stay longer.”

All Week Six Updates

June 15, 2018

Cheyenne Gerlach and Samantha Guenther are in Norfolk for their RFI serviceship internship. For the first five weeks, we are working to tell the story of Daycos. Daycos is unique in that they are a for-profit AND for-good business. It is our job to capture what Daycos does, how they do it, and why they do it in hopes of informing and inspiring others to possibly do the same. The overarching goal of our project with Daycos is to come up with a way to re-brand Daycos’ for-good movement, Daycos4Good, as simply intertwined with Daycos as a whole. We will be creating video, web content, and written publications to help portray this message.

For the second five weeks, we are working to promote the retail and service sector of the Norfolk community for the visitors bureau. We will be acting as “secret shoppers” to get an inside scoop on how business owners and employees are welcoming and promoting Norfolk through their business. We will also be doing a “windshield assessment” of businesses in Norfolk to gain a better understanding of how it can be improved. Then, we will be working to help make those improvements to strengthen the retail and service sector.

All Week Four Updates

June 1, 2018

Cheyenne Gerlach and Samantha Guenther are in Norfolk for their RFI serviceship. For the first five weeks, we are working to tell the story of Daycos. Daycos is unique in that they are a for-profit AND for-good business. It is our job to capture what Daycos does, how they do it, and why they do it in hopes of informing and inspiring others to possibly do the same. The overarching goal of our project with Daycos is to come up with a way to re-brand Daycos’ for-good movement, Daycos4Good, as simply intertwined with Daycos as a whole. We will be creating video, web content, and written publications to help portray this message.

For the second five weeks, we are working to promote the retail and service sector of the Norfolk community for the visitors bureau. We will be acting as “secret shoppers” to get an inside scoop on how business owners and employees are welcoming and promoting Norfolk through their business. We will also be doing a “windshield assessment” of businesses in Norfolk to gain a better understanding of how it can be improved. Then, we will be working to help make those improvements to strengthen the retail and service sector.

For our day to day tasks during the past two weeks, something that we have started doing every Tuesday is creating a set of objectives and goals for the week. This means that we created the first set of goals our second day on the ground in Norfolk. These goals are hung in our office and in our homes so that both of us go to bed and wake up thinking about what we all need to get done by Tuesday. This has been a great experience and has really impressed the people that we are working with. We have wasted no time “acclimating” to Norfolk or planning our work. We’ve jumped in feet first, and it has really helped us in the long run.

All Week Two Updates

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Neligh, Neb.

April 6, 2018
About As the county seat in Antelope County, Neligh, Neb., is a town of 1,527 residents in northeast Nebraska. About The Serviceship Experience Rhiannon and Michayla conducted a regional mapping study on Neligh, Antelope County and the greater Northeast Nebraska …

Host Team

  • Gabriel Steinmeyer (Lead)
  • Lauren Sheridan-Simonsen
  • Melissa Smith
  • Matt Goracke
  • Abigail Frank
  • Brad Averill

Michayla Goedeken

Hometown: Humphrey, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Integrated Sciences

“RFI Serviceship increased my passion for rural, which I didn’t even know was possible but it was.”

Rhiannon Cobb

Hometown: Omaha, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Political Science & Global Studies

“I got to see a lot of different types of leadership styles this summer. It showed me the kind of leader I want to be.”

About

As the county seat in Antelope County, Neligh, Neb., is a town of 1,527 residents in northeast Nebraska.

About The Serviceship Experience

Rhiannon and Michayla conducted a regional mapping study on Neligh, Antelope County and the greater Northeast Nebraska region that highlighted demographics, current and future economic trends, infrastructure reports and geography. Their mapping reports will be used to shape the projects within Neligh’s strategic planning process.

Their secondary projects included creating marketing videos and social media for Antelope County that focused on the region’s community activities, the promotion of Neligh and Antelope County as a place to live and grow a business, the creation of templates for future marketing materials and helping out with Tour de Nebraska. They also had many service learning opportunities at the Burger Bash, the Chamber of Commerce Cookout, Antelope Memorial Hospital Golf Tournament, Flag Day, the Clearwater Rodeo and the Clearwater Grocery Store.

Accomplishments

Created marketing materials.

Rhiannon and Michayla created 14 marketing videos of businesses and community members highlighting their experiences in Neligh and their love for the community. Each video reached thousands of people and the Neligh social media platforms grew due to their posts.

Rhiannon and Michayla assisted in the creation of marketing materials for the community’s events and programs. They also created templates and taught community members how to use graphic design programs.

Conducted Market Analysis Reports.

To shape the projects within Neligh’s strategic planning process, Rhiannon and Michayla compiled research, data and resources into two 15-page marketing analysis reports for Neligh, Antelope County and the greater Northeast Nebraska region. These reports highlighted demographics, current and future economic trends, infrastructure reports and geography.

Assisted with Tour de Nebraska.

Tour de Nebraska is a fully sagged 5-day annual bicycle tour of beautiful rural Nebraska. Rhiannon and Michayla assisted the community when the tour went through Neligh by helping coordinate, plan and execute day-of tasks.

Assisted with the Strategic Planning Committee.

Using tactics such as SMART goals that they learned in their RFI Serviceship training course, Rhiannon and Michayla ran the strategic planning committee meeting in July and helped facilitate conversations about moving forward and taking next steps.

Impact

  • Brought in a fresh perspective of the community’s goals and progress.
  • Gave quantifiable data that can be used for informed decision making in community planning.
  • Elevated the voices of Neligh and told their stories.

 

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

July 20, 2018

The last two weeks for us have been packed with meetings and scrabbling to get all that we can done in our remaining time in Neligh. We decided on a service project creating a strategic plan for the cemetery and cleaning up White Buffalo Girl’s grave. Michayla has been doing a lot of reading and research for the entrepreneurship curriculum she has been working on. We also led the Strategic Planning Committee’s meeting this week.

Last week on Jul. 12, 2018 we went down to Lincoln, Neb., for the Governor’s Economic Development Summit. While we were there, we attended sessions on agricultural development and alternatives to typical primary and secondary schooling that gave us ideas on how to implement these practices into our communities. Next week we are going to complete the housing survey and help with the county fair.

All Week Nine Updates

July 6, 2018

In these last two weeks, we have finished the Neligh mapping report and finished collecting data for the northeast mapping report. The Neligh mapping report was formatted and sent as a confidential file to the strategic planning committee. The northeast mapping report just needs several more hours of formatting work and it will be finished as well.

We have also been out in the community and were busy with business visits and talking to community members. On Jun. 29, we delivered root-beer floats with State Farm to businesses around town.  We also helped register floats for the Independence Day parade. We also have been spending time recording, editing and scheduling videos.

We went out to Theile Dairy in Clearwater, Neb., to show support for the community as Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts paid a visit to a local dairy. We got a tour of the farm and met farmers from the Clearwater area.

All Week Seven Updates

June 22, 2018

In the last two weeks, we have been going to meetings and working on immediate projects. We’ve also been planning Tour de Nebraska which has somewhat put our other projects on hold. Our mapping reports are set to be done by Thursday of next week so we can start on next step of identifying steps moving forward for the 5 and 10 year plans. We have also been out in the community interviewing members for our video series. Tour de Nerbraska came through Neligh for their first day of travel On Wednesday, Jun. 20. We had to plan where people were going to camp, coordinate the scavenger hunt around Neligh and help coordinate events. We made calls and visits to all the people helping us make the day successful.

In the end, Tour de Nebraska was a success. After all the planning, we made it! It was a long couple of days full of questions and quick changes. We started at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday by preparing eggs and sausage. We made 20 pounds of sausage and 800 scrambled eggs. We had help from community members including the mayor and his wife. It took a couple hours to make all the eggs and sausage; we also set up the kitchen as prep. We then put out road signs to warn drivers to watch for cyclists (courtesy of Blackburn Manufacturing, a Neligh business.) Wednesday morning, we set up a welcome tent at our office and directional signs all over town.

All Week Five Updates

June 8, 2018

For the past two weeks, we have been working on finishing up our mapping reports, as well as finding host homes for Tour-de-Nebraska. We recently finished the Neligh report, and we’re about a third of the way done with the report for Northeast Nebraska. Additionally, we created a small marketing campaign containing a flyer and social media posts for Facebook to entice people to volunteer their homes for Tour-de-Nebraska.

There is a serious housing shortage in Neligh because there are many short-term workers flooding the housing system because of all of the wind towers going up around town. Since most of the people that would open their houses for Tour-de-Nebraska have already rented them out, we came up with the idea to incentivize homeowners. The first five people to open up their house will receive gift certificates which were donated by local businesses. Additionally, we printed out flyers and delivered them door to door to get the word out. We also started setting up recording times with community members for marketing videos for Neligh.

All Week Three Updates

May 25, 2018

Michayla volunteering at the Thriftway Market Burger Bash.

This week was not a typical week for us. We started off on Monday morning doing administration work such as filling out confidentiality agreements, I9 information and going through screenings. Later that day, we went on a walking tour of the downtown business district. We met countless active members of boards and business owners. That evening we sat in on a meeting with Nebraska Community Foundation and the Neligh Community Foundation. Neligh is trying to decide on whether the community should become a part of NCF or not. They do a lot of projects, and the next biggest one they have in mind is renovating the old movie theater in town to get it functional again.

On Wednesday, we had the cool opportunity to travel to Beatrice for a Nebraska Main Street conference. There we heard from economic developers, both private and public, about projects that are going on around the state and learned of funding opportunities for projects. While we were there a discussion occurred where the question was posed, “How do we get young people to come back to rural Nebraska?” It was interesting to see how different generations viewed that challenge differently and had vastly different solutions that could work, some we agreed with some we did not. On Thursday we worked in the office as well as attended a City Council informational meeting about the nursing home in Neligh. There recently has been some controversy around management so the city is considering leasing the building. On Friday we served burgers at the Thriftway Market Burger Bash.

All Week One Updates

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Cozad, Neb.

April 6, 2018
About Cozad, Neb. Cozad is on the 100th Meridian and right north of Interstate 80. There is a rich artistic history with barn quilts and Robert Henri. Cozad is in Dawson County and has a population of 3,977. About The …

Host Team

  • Jen McKeone (Lead)
  • Susan Kloepping
  • Laura Rody
  • Kirk Riley
  • Laurie Yocum

Christy Cooper

Hometown: Waverly, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agricultural Education

Shelby Utech

Hometown: Hubbard, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agricultural Economics

About Cozad, Neb.

  • Cozad is on the 100th Meridian and right north of Interstate 80.
  • There is a rich artistic history with barn quilts and Robert Henri.
  • Cozad is in Dawson County and has a population of 3,977.

About The Serviceship Experience

Christy and Shelby, along with their host Jen McKeone, worked on several different projects. The Cozad Development Corporation had the team busy the entire time they were there. All of their project revolved around “placemaking”-they wanted to make Cozad the place to be.

Accomplishments

Music Mondays

Christy and Shelby were able to activate the future town square space with a weekly event in June. There were food vendors and music performances.

Entrepreneurship

As a team the girls helped run the Biz Kids Camp. This camp was to help young middle school kids start their own businesses. There were 10 businesses that were launched at the first Music Monday. CDC came up with their own version of “Shark Tank” called “Pitch it Cozad”. The girls got to help organize and run this event. They got to help award two winners!

First Impressions

Christy got to help with the First Impressions project. Cozad and Ogallala teamed up to improve the first impressions of their towns. Each community sent a group to the other town to do some research. They were “secret shoppers” and learned what was special about each town. Christy and Shelby compiled the information and shared it with the communities.

Infrastructure

The team went out and mapped the entire community, marking which streets were paved and which ones were not. This will help the city know what steps need to be taken next.

Conferences

The team got to attend several conferences throughout the summer including:

  • Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA)
  • Nebraska Governor’s Economic Development Summit
  • Nebraska Diplomat’s Dinner

Impact

In addition to their many accomplishments, Christy and Shelby are quick to point out that they fell in love with Cozad. They enjoyed the community and work week so much that they tried to spend most of the weekends there as well. They found many folks were surprised when they told them how great their little town was, and they hoped they boosted the moral of those they came in contact. They reminded the community of the benefits of living in Cozad, and aimed to show them how great rural living can be!

 

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

July 13, 2018

Most recently, Jen and Christy headed to Lincoln for the Nebraska Diplomats Banquet and the Nebraska Governor’s Economic Development Summit. The Nebraska Diplomats are a group of community leaders who use their personal and professional connections to promote the state’s quality of life for future business. Our lead mentor, Jen, was asked to speak about our Pitch It in Cozad project at the Governor’s Summit the next day. Governor Pete Ricketts applauded Cozad’s work during his final remarks. It was an incredible opportunity to network with other community leaders and hear the great work they are doing.

“It’s time to think differently about our small communities. Cozad is taking a creative approach to solving challenges,” Christy said.

All Week Eight Updates

June 15, 2018

Hustle – that’s what the last two weeks have been like for us. Between our first and second rounds of Music Monday and the Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA) Conference in Gothenburg, Neb., we have been constantly on the move.

Music Mondays have had absolutely rave reviews. It is so encouraging to see a community come together for music and food – not just once, but weekly. The concerts have attracted people of all ages; everyone from young children to the residences of the assisted living facility, Meadowlark Pointe. We are very grateful for the many community members and city workers who volunteer to help us set up and tear down the temporary fencing and picnic tables. The attendance of Music Mondays has been outstanding and is continuing to increase. The first week we had 275 guests and this week we had almost 400! Music Mondays have been so successful we’ve had to book additional food trucks to accommodate everyone. The musicians we have hosted so far are Formally Three, Samantha Schutte and Lana Greene.

All Week Four Updates

June 1, 2018

In Cozad, we hit the ground running during our first couple of weeks. We’ve attending multiple meetings including, but not limited to, Cozad City Council, Rotary, and the Cozad Development Corporation Citizens Board. We’ve already gotten one project almost wrapped up and are working hard on several small tasks that have been overlooked for too long. The people in Cozad are marvelous—we can’t wait to build more connections in town!

The past two weeks, Shelby assisted with Cozad’s first Biz Kids Camp. There were ten middle school students that had four days of classroom instruction from Janita Pavelka, Entrepreneurship Educator. Shelby shared some of her entrepreneurial experiences with the students as well as helped prepare them to start their businesses. The biz kid students learned from local entrepreneurs and businesspeople, the UNL-Extension EntrepreneurShip Investigation curriculum, which led to everyone starting a new business.  Shelby will help these students launch their businesses at Music Monday in Cozad on June 4th.

All Week Two Updates

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Alliance, Neb.

April 5, 2018
About Alliance Box Butte County, Neb., has a population of approximately 11,000, with the county seat, Alliance, Neb., being home to about 8,000. About the Serviceship Experience Haley and Mirissa worked through the Marketing Hometown America process, developed by Nebraska …

Host Team

  • Chelsie Herian (Lead)
  • Joni Jespersen
  • Pasha Korber-Gonzalez
  • Ellen Lierk
  • Tonya Mayer
  • Susan Unzicker

Haley Ehrke

Hometown: Orleans, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agribusiness

“I gained a new perspective. I came from a rural community, and I understand that if we don’t have these businesses, we don’t have these communities. It drives me now to appreciate my community, and I want to create that impact.”

Mirissa Scholting

Hometown: Louisville, NE
Campus: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Major: Agricultural Education

“To future students — be a part of the Rural Futures Institute. It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone and have a new place to call home. I definitely think I could call Alliance home.”

About Alliance

Box Butte County, Neb., has a population of approximately 11,000, with the county seat, Alliance, Neb., being home to about 8,000.

About the Serviceship Experience

Haley and Mirissa worked through the Marketing Hometown America process, developed by Nebraska Extension through RFI funding, with members across Box Butte County. Chelsie Herian, lead mentor and Box Butte Development Corporation Executive Director, appreciated seeing the county’s communities through the eyes of these two college students. The Serviceship experience furthered the corporation’s mission to maintain, enhance and diversify the economy of Box Butte County, Neb.

Accomplishments

  • Created six videos to retain and attract residents to Box Butte County.
  • Updated Box Butte Development Corporation’s photo and video library

Impact

  • Identified community assets
  • Promoted the county as well as the businesses within the county
  • Provided perspective of the younger generation

 

Final Presentation

 

Weekly Updates

July 20, 2018

We are in the last two weeks of our serviceship in Box Butte County and can’t believe how fast the time has gone! We are working on finishing our Marketing Hometown America video and compiling pictures and videos that we have taken so that Box Butte Development Corporation can use them for future projects.

Another part of our project we are working on is creating short videos to help explain Box Butte Development Corporation’s mission: “To enhance, diversify and maintain the economy of Box Butte County.” By creating these videos we will be able to help explain what Box Butte Development stands for, believes in and offers to their patrons.

Last week we volunteered for Bands on the Bricks which takes place every Friday in July in Alliance and the first Friday in August in Hemingford. We drove an ice cream truck around town to get some footage of people buying ice cream. We also worked on a Husker Prep advertisement and helped pick stock photos for the new Holiday Inn Express.

All Week Nine Updates

July 6, 2018

We can’t believe it is already the 7th week of Serviceship! Things are starting to wind down and we have been editing like crazy for our Marketing Hometown America video! We have continued to meet amazing people and have gotten to do some traveling to surrounding areas on the weekends which has been nice!

The main focus of our last two weeks has been to write interview questions, visit businesses, wrap up footage content, and conduct interviews for our final product.

We have also finished up our volunteer project at Carhenge. Our lead mentor, Chelsie Herian, gave us six tires and we power washed them and spray painted them. Then we planted flowers in the tires to help beautify Carhenge.

All Week Seven Updates

June 22, 2018

The past two weeks in Box Butte County have flown by! We are very fortunate that Scott Frost, Matt Davison and Bill Moos came to town for an afternoon! We got to listen to them all speak and then got a picture with Scott Frost. We also got to meet former Husker Jordan Hooper, who is originally from Alliance.

The project has been coming along great. We have come up with hashtags for every town in Box Butte County. They are: #OurAlliance, #HemingfordisHome, and #BountifulBerea. We have also been working on hashtags for other various places around the county like Carhenge, Knight Museum and Sandhills Center and the Alliance Recreation Center. We have taken pictures and video all over both Alliance and Hemingford and have scheduled to take pictures and video in Berea. We have also started to do some editing on the videos we have taken thus far.

All Week Five Updates

June 8, 2018

It’s hard to believe that three weeks have gone by already! We have been very busy in Alliance working with the Box Butte Development Corporation to develop our video for the Marketing Hometown America Project for Box Butte County.

For the last three weeks, we have been meeting new people from Hemingford and Alliance, moved out of our host family’s house and into our duplex, worked on developing hashtags and our video project and volunteered at Carhenge.We have also spent some time in Hemingford working out of Mobius Communications-Hemingford Cooperative Telephone Company and have been in touch with businesses there as well. We plan to film more footage there in the upcoming weeks.

All Week Three Updates

May 25, 2018

The concept of our project is to create a Marketing Hometown America video to attract new residents to Box Butte County. We are also creating social media hashtags and providing input on websites that are involved with Box Butte County.

We have had a very busy first week. On Monday, we toured Alliance to get an idea of where everything was and met the people who work in our office. On Tuesday, we toured Hemingford, met many business owners and had a meeting. On Wednesday, we worked on hashtags and video ideas, had a meeting at the Knights Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance and then had an afternoon meeting in our office. On Thursday, we had a meeting at First National Bank with the branch president and the president of First National Bank from Omaha, Clark Lauritzen. Then, we went to Chadron and had a meeting with the Western Nebraska Development Network. We also discussed the Alliance and Hemingford websites with our lead mentor Chelsie Herian. On Friday, we sat in on a talk with the Alliance Times-Herald and also visited with a storyteller about our project.

All Week One Updates

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