Hettinger is a great town full of community-minded people and businesses. One of the town’s biggest criticisms, however, is that for youth, there is not enough to do.
Four young 4-H members, Kelly Schauer, Sophia Kennedy, Logan Ebert, and Bowden Hasbrouck, set out to tackle this problem and attended last week’s Hettinger Park Board meeting. There, they bravely stood up in front of five elected officials and presented two plans to address the issue and improve Mirror Lake Park.
The goal of their presentation was to get board approval to add a Frisbee-golf course and extra trashcans to Mirror Lake Park.
At the meeting, Park Board members were elated to see Hettinger’s youth getting involved in civic engagement, and the board was extremely receptive to the kids’ group presentation.
In their presentation, the 4-H group said they are looking to make a three to four hole Frisbee golf course along Mirror Lake Park. The 4-H group cited that the course would provide people of all ages a fun activity during the summer months. The group is also looking to make the golf course with permanent, high quality Frisbee golf stands that could withstand the strong North Dakota winds.
The group also presented on installing five to ten 55-gallon barrel trashcans throughout Mirror Lake Park. They cited that the trashcans would be safer for animals and environment and the group even offered to paint them.
Immediately after their presentation, the Park Board unanimously voted to approve the start of the two future 4-H projects.
“It’s a very good thing when kids approach us and get involved,” said Park Board member Carla Resner. “Just having one more thing for kids to do in the area is such a good idea. When kids approach a board like that and do such a good job presenting, how could you say no?”
Resner also said she is excited that all ages are interested in utilizing Mirror Lake Park. She continued saying that the kids did a great job supporting their ideas in the presentation.
“They had very good points,” she said. “You could tell that they did their research.”
Resner said that she hopes that civic engagement from the youth continues in Hettinger.
“It’s so nice to have people come to the meeting to request things. Especially youth because they get to see how we conduct meetings and who knows, one day they might be on the Park Board themselves.”
Park Board President Chris Parnow was also onboard with the 4-H project ideas.
“It’s just another activity for the kids to do in the summer,” said Parnow.
NDSU Extension Agent Hannah Nordby has been working firsthand with the 4-H kids to help facilitate the group. Before the Park Board meeting, she led a 4-H meeting that encouraged kids involved the organization to think about ways they could engage with and benefit the community.
According to Nordby, the 4-H kids have been taking the steps to make the two projects a reality.
“The kids are the ones leading the charge,” said Nordby. “At our first 4-H meeting, we essentially had a huge brain storming session. Frisbee golf and trashcans came out on top of a thoughtful list of project ideas.”
Now that the 4-H group has approval from the Park Board to continue their projects, they are looking deeper into the logistics. Nordby said the next step forward is identifying cost, applying for grants, fundraising, and reaching out to the community.
“We will be reaching out to the community for fundraising efforts,” said Nordby. “We already know of someone in the community that has already designed a Frisbee golf course.”
Looking forward, Nordy is optimistic for the future of the two projects. The trashcan and Frisbee golf projects are on track to be implemented as a part of Helping Hettinger Day. Nordby hopes that at the end of the day on May 19th, Hettinger will have a Frisbee golf course and new trashcans in Mirror Lake Park.
“I am so excited. Working with youth and giving back to the community are two passions of mine,” she said. “It’s been exhilarating to see all of the kid’s hard work pay off. The plan is to keep the ball rolling and have a really awesome couple of projects for Helping Hettinger Day.”