Summer program endorsed by Hillsboro

Staff writer

The USD 410 school board unanimously agreed to help sponsor Hillsboro Youth Adventure, a new program meant to help students learn more about their city.

“The mission is two-fold,” said Clint Seibel, executive director of Hillsboro Development Corporation. “We want kids to know that Hillsboro is a great place to live, work and raise a family. But, we also hope that, by seeing what the city does, it will foster a sense of volunteerism — and that one day these young people will want to get involved.”

The program is modeled after a similar civic-minded initiative in Great Bend, where students learned more about how their local government operated through a one-day camp. It was designed to give them a variety of hands-on experiences, so that they could learn about the different local departments while getting a real feel for what they do on a daily basis.

Families and Communities Together Director Ashley Gann
said they plan to start small, allowing only 15 to 20 seventh and eighth grade students to attend per session. She currently plans on holding two sessions in the summer, one in June and one in July. The total program cost is expected to be about $2,000.

They are reaching out to the community for help in raising these funds, but Gann said she also is looking for grants that would be able to underwrite the entire cost.

Gann and Seibel added that they did not want to limit the program in any way. They want to reach students at all levels of achievement — and give each student an opportunity to learn and an opportunity for fun.

“We’re going to visit many of the local departments, so they can see what goes on there,” Seibel said. “But we are also considering doing fun things, like having a water balloon fight.”

In the next month, Gann plans to coordinate with the remaining city departments. She has already talked with several, including the fire and police departments.

Gann said the program will positively reinforce the students’ love for their hometown and will end with lunch with the mayor and a discussion with a city administrator, where students can present their ideas for improvement.

Gann said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students — and that, once they participate, they won’t be allowed to attend another session.

However, she said, they will bring all of the alumni back for an annual party. They are currently planning to rent out the bowling alley and have a large pizza party.

Board president Eddie Weber said he thought the program would be good to implement. The school board voted in favor of the program, 7-0.

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