This Week in Serviceship 2018: Week Nine!

Alliance, Neb.

“I’m really grateful for the time I have had in Box Butte County and hope that the connections I have made here will stay with me forever. Rural communities are so valuable, and I look forward to using my leadership skills in one someday.”



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.

“Haley and Mirissa have brought fresh ideas and a jolt of energy to the communities of Box Butte County,” said Alliance serviceship host team member Tabitha Unzicker.


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.

This week we went to a painting class for bonding time with our office staff. We will also be attending Heritage Days and then Bands on the Bricks Friday and Saturday night. We will also be volunteering at Sunday in the Park with Viaero Wireless to end Heritage Days.

“Serving, working and living in Alliance this summer has given me an appreciation for buying local, living in rural and being involved in my community.”





McCook, Neb.

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.

“With limited time left in McCook, the legacy we hope to leave is an enthusiasm for community and awareness of  rural Nebraska’s extraordinary potential.”



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.

Along with having the opportunity to meet with businesses, we have also been meeting with people to ask questions about budgeting, fire codes and minute details of the museum planning process.

“Through RFI Serviceship, I’ve realized each individual in a rural community is so important. Every community member has a unique set of skills, talents and experience to bring to the table. Now I understand that’s how we move forward.”



Mark Graff, a local banker a significant stakeholder in the McCook community, has helped us with budgeting and getting connections with people who have financial positions. We were also able to meet with a state fire marshal to ensure the safety of the museum and see what potential changes or additions could be made to the Carnegie Library.

We have been in touch with other individuals who are excited to get on board with executing our plan of action. This has been valuable in ensuring that the community has interest in the museum’s future. All of these connections have been a vital part of the process in moving forward!




McCook THETA Camps

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.

“The children’s willingness to learn and the opportunity to teach them pertinent information that we have learned throughout our undergraduate education is truly invaluable. Educating these kids about healthy life choices will ultimately make a lasting positive impact in their lives.”


Throughout our last week we will be focusing on our business module. This module is unique as it will allow us to apply our teachings directly to the community. Red Willow County Fair will be held in McCook next week, and we will be selling produce at the fair as part of our module. This is a great opportunity for us to show the community what we have been doing and the progress we have made throughout the summer. We also think it is great for the students as they can take our teachings directly into the community in a timely manner.

Looking back on the summer as a whole, we’ve had a great experience here in McCook. The community has been very welcoming and we are very grateful for that. We’ve really enjoyed the shadowing opportunities as well as the volunteering opportunities that we have been able to capitalize on.

RFI has really pushed us out of our comfort zones this summer which is a great thing. It can be very uncomfortable or awkward to be put in this position but this is where the most personal growth happens. It can be difficult to come into an unfamiliar, rural community without knowing anyone and trying to complete a project, but McCook has been very accepting of our presence. We’ve covered a lot of ground this summer and have worked to leave a legacy that will have lasting effects. This summer has been an amazing experience for THETA camp.

“The THETA students have really enjoyed this summer as we have challenged them as well as helped them learn new information that can be utilized directly into their lives.”





Neligh, Neb.

“Even with the challenges that hinder growth in rural areas, there are people who want to make the are better and are dedicated to seeing change happen. It is easier to go against opposition with people on your side.”


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.

Some meetings we have attended over the past few weeks include: Neligh Economic Development Board meeting, Neligh City Council meeting, Clearwater Village Board meeting, Clearwater Economic Development Board meeting, Neligh and Clearwater Chamber of Commerce meeting, Fall Festival meeting and the Governor’s Economic Development Summit.

“There is so much potential in Neligh, it is exciting to see the opportunities that are going to become available from the passion people have.”





Seward, Neb.

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.

When reflecting on her serviceship, Maddie said, “My time in Seward has flown by. I am so grateful for Jonathon, Suzanne and Megan here at the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership for guiding and supporting us during our time. I am also grateful for all of the new people I have met along the way. I will definitely miss everyone here!”

“It has been a rather quick 10 weeks in Seward! I am happy to have gone through this experience, and it certainly helped me grow as a person and develop skills that I didn’t know I didn’t possess.”



Currently we have a newcomer event planned on Oct. 13, 2018, at Bottle Rocket Brewing Company during their Oktoberfest celebrations! Bottle Rocket has let us use a space for a few hours on that Saturday to welcome newcomers to Seward County. During Oktoberfest there will be a lot of beer, games, authentic German food and music! We are still trying to figure out the logistics of our other events due to a lack of reciprocation from the entities that we are currently trying to work with.

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.

“This serviceship has made me grow as a leader and has also made me more confident. I am so grateful for all of the new people I have met along the way.”