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Doing Good While Having Fun

Students from Cathedral High School in St. Cloud, Minnesota have been coming for 15 years to Silver City. They are part of the Crusaders boys cross country team. The kids get to visit the Black Hills for a week, camp in an an army tent by the schoolhouse, and squeeze in morning runs at altitude in preparation for their fall cross country season.

It's an experience they all relish. It's in essence "camp" with your high school buddies. Most of this year's crop of students are repeats. Three chaperones, all parents, do the cooking, driving, and generally keep things from getting too crazy.

Students assigned to cemetery clean-up duty

For Silver City, the team's yearly arrival is a welcome sight. "We love it that they are here", says resident Tonya Gomez. "They always reserve a day to do a service project for the community". In the past, the kids have stained the fire hall, removed trees, cleaned culverts, and any other project that the fire department or historical society can conceive of. A project can be done pretty quickly when 20 young and willing individuals put their collective will behind it.

Using a Pulaski to remove a stubborn sapling

This week, 18 high school kids, four adults, and three SCVFD firefighters participated. Half the group worked on building burn piles in the two acre new cemetery expansion. Those piles will be burned in the winter. The other half of students walked the 100 yard wide fire break on the perimeter of town and took all ponderosa pine saplings. This maintenance of the fire break is important for preventing spread of large fires. The two projects are a godsend for residents.

Creating nice and tall burn piles

After the project was finished, the kids listened to a presentation from the firefighters on the nature of the department, the equipment, the general area, and other subjects of interest. They even got to turn the pumps on and throw some water around.

Starting the fire pump and shooting some water

The relationship built over 15 years between a Minnesota high a school and our little community in South Dakota gets stronger every year. It is always fun to see the youthful energy come to town. They prove you can have fun while doing good. If you ever see them around town thank them for their service.

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