Youth Adventure draws 13 students

Landon Roberts prepares to scoop some compost dirt with the city?s back hoe during the third Hillsboro Youth Adventure.  Free Press Photos by Don Ratzlaff

The third annual ?Hills?boro Youth Adventure drew the largest number of participants yet with 13 seventh- and eighth-graders on board.

The purpose of the event is for students to have fun and gain a better understanding how city government helps keep the community functioning.

?Fun is the primary requisite,? City Administrator Larry Paine said about the program, which is patterned after one in Great Bend. ?At the same time, we?re teaching what we must do on a day-to-day basis.?

After drawing six participants to the program?s debut in 2013, and 11 last summer, organizers were pleased with record number this year.

HYA is co-sponsored by the city of Hillsboro and Families And Com?munities Together Inc. as a way to strengthen the bond between youth and their hometown.

Participating this year were Austin Rempel, Jared Janzen, Aidan Unruh, Ethan Plenert, Noah Bartel, Lan?don Roberts, Bryce Rader, A.J. Driggers, Olivia Jury, Thelma Wilson, Seth Flam?ing, Charlie Major and Logan Oborny.

Olivia Jury is ready to drop a water ballon from the electric department bucket at a target 40 feet below her as Todd Helmer supervises. Free Press photos by Don RatzlaffFull agenda

After an 8 a.m. breakfast of doughnuts and orange juice at city hall, the students formed two groups and rotated between activity stations led by members of the city crew who work in those areas.

Chaperoned by organizers Paine and Clint Seibel from the city and Ashlee Gann from FACT, the first stop was a tour of the city?s wastewater-treatment and water-production plants.

From there, the groups went to the city shop grounds on the north edge of town for activities hosted by the street and electric departments.

Under the instruction of street staff, students had the opportunity to move dirt in the compost site with the city?s backhoe and front-end loader.

Electric staff took each participant about 40 feet in the air with the extension arm of the bucket truck to drop water balloons at a target on the ground.

For lunch, the students met Mayor Delores Dalke at the Pizza Hut, where they received information about the city and could ask the mayor questions about her job and city government in general.

From there, the two groups took on activities organized by the police department at police headquarters and by the fire department at Memorial Park.

Seventh-grader Austin Rempel spoke for many of his fellow adventurers by identifying the tour of the waste-water treatment plant as the oddest stop, mostly because of the odor, and the water-gun shoot-out at the police headquarters as the most fun.

?It was a lot of fun,? he said of the day.

As part of the program, this year?s participants will get together with past participants for an alumni bowling party.

Paine said the gathering is one more way to streng?then the tie between students and their community.

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