McCook THETA Camps


Project Description

Serviceship interns will be returning to McCook for a second summer of youth camps on health, exercise, and aquaponics. This project came about as the result of an RFI competitive award received by two UNK professors, Nate Bickford and Matt Bice, with the assistance of Greg Brown. The camps will provide hands-on educational environments that integrate many key skills necessary to not only improve the health of rural youth, but also inspire future health professionals. Interns will also have the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals at McCook’s Community Hospital and be involved in community projects as they arise.


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

The Latest

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