Red Cloud, Neb.

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.

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.


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