Neligh, Neb.

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.”


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.


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.



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