Moonlight Ski set for Jan. 9
The annual Moonlight Ski event, along with a giant toasty bonfire, is set for Stearns County Quarry Park from 6-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9. Quarry Park is located at 1802 CR 137, Waite Park. Everyone is welcome, and there are no fees. The ski run will become a hiking trek if snow is inadequate. Moonlight Ski is sponsored by Stearns County Parks and the Nordic Ski Club of Central Minnesota.
Sesame Street Live winners announced
The following individuals won the Newsleaders drawing for Sesame Street Live ticket vouchers on Dec. 19: Katie Stang, Cheryl Freihammer, Bonnie Weisser, Cindy Lindbloom, Angie Fox, Ricky Hess, Matthew Hoeschen, Amanda Reitan, Justin Kottom, Melanie Klisch, Kari Salzer, Kim Nauman, Kelly Neisen and Mary McCarney.
Driver improvement program now available online
The 55+ Driver Improvement Program, which offers local eight-hour and four-hour courses, is now available online. Online courses are also available in eight-hour and four-hour courses. These courses are targeted at reducing serious injury and fatal crashes. Classes provide valuable updates to traffic trends, laws and safety issues. The online 55+ Driver Improvement Program can be found at mnsafetycenter.org.
United Way Volunteer Opportunities
Teach youth how to knit
The Catholic Charities Transitional Youth Home provides services to youth ages 16-21 who are homeless or at risk of being homeless in the Central Minnesota area. They are looking for volunteers to teach youth how to knit. Contact Suzie, Catholic Charities Transitional Youth Home, at 320-229-6051.
Help with tax preparation
Tri-CAP’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $50,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers sponsored by Tri-CAP receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. The Tri-CAP VITA sites are located right here in Stearns, Benton and Sherburne counties. All locations also offer free electronic filing. Contact Tri-CAP at 320-257-4505 or e-mail email@example.com to volunteer.
Join the staff and kids at Southside, Roosevelt or Eastside Boys and Girls Club unit as a program volunteer. You can make a difference in a child’s life in as little as one hour a week. Set your own schedule with the volunteer coordinator to make your experience valuable. They have opportunities for you to get involved in the areas of education and career development; character and leadership development; the arts; health and life skills; and sports, fitness and recreation. Play board games with the kids, read one-to-one with a child or help with homework, participate in gym activities, share your love of arts and crafts or shoot pool with the teens. It’s as easy as just spending time with kids. They only ask volunteers be able to relate well with children in a group environment, participate as an active team member with staff and other volunteers and abide by volunteer policies. To volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, they require a minimum commitment of 20 hours during a three-month period. How to apply: Volunteers will need to go through an enrollment process (includes interview and orientation). All volunteers are required to complete and pass a criminal background check before their first volunteer experience. Apply online at www.bgcmn.org or contact Bethany Theisen at 320-257-5115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate to the ReStore
The ReStore is in need of some large items like appliances (refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers), patio and living-room sets, kitchen cabinets, windows and flooring. Donate today and contribute to the ReStore and Habitat for Humanity’s cause. The ReStore is open for donations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It’s open for customers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Contact ReStore at 320-281-3167.
Volunteer for Project H.E.A.L.
Project H.E.A.L. (Health, Education, Access, Link) is an outreach program of CentraCare Family Health Center. Project H.E.A.L. offers free health screenings and basic care at various Central Minnesota locations for those who have little or no insurance. Volunteer needs include receptionists, nurses, physicians and patient advocates. Contact Paul Knutson, mission development specialist, at 320-240-3157 X25155.
House volunteers are needed at Quiet Oaks. House volunteers provide hospitality for residents and guests by preparing meals, baking, cleaning and answering the phone. They also help with mailings and other administrative tasks. Training is provided. Volunteers are asked to work one four-hour shift at least twice per month. Contact Quiet Oaks Hospice at 320-255-5433 or visit quietoakshospicehouse.org.
Each year, Junior Achievement in the St. Cloud area partners with community volunteers to deliver programs to more than 28 local schools in 275 classrooms. By sharing their personal and professional experiences and skills, volunteers help students make the connection between what they are learning in school and what they will need to succeed in work and life. The time commitment is minimal, scheduling is flexible and training is provided. Depending on the age of the students, volunteers make between five to seven visits to their classroom. Each visit lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. Volunteers select a local classroom in which they want to work and are provided a packet of materials, which contains detailed lesson plans and hands-on activities to engage the students. As a volunteer, you will help local students learn the value of controlling their own financial future, while they acquire the important life skills of communication, teamwork, critical thinking and decision making. Contact Alli Nepsund, Junior Achievement, at 320-310-2165.
‘Hugs ‘n Stitches’ hospice program needs yarn
St. Croix Hospice in Sartell is looking for in-kind donations of yarn for our “Hugs ‘n Stitches” program. The yarn will be used to make lap blankets and comfort/prayer shawls for hospice patients. The thoughtfulness of these gifts helps patients feel wrapped in love, along with the care and kindness that goes into making them. Family members use them as well for times they are feeling cold. These home-made items are often the last item loved ones see the hospice patient wearing. It becomes treasured and special. Donations can be mailed or dropped off at: St. Croix Hospice, 2330 Troop Drive, Suite #102, Sartell MN 56377. Contact Jodi Julseth, volunteer coordinator, at 320-250-6899.
RSVP…your invitation to serve
RSVP is a volunteer program for men and women ages 55 and older offering a variety of one-time and on-going volunteer opportunities within 220 local human service organizations. With RSVP, volunteers choose how and where they want to serve. They choose the amount of time they want to give. And they choose whether they want to draw on current skills or develop new ones. Volunteers can utilize optional mileage reimbursement through RSVP. Contact RSVP at 320-255-7295 or visit www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/RSVP.
For more information, contact Mary Krippner, United Way volunteer engagement coordinator, at 320-223-7991 or email@example.com.
Stearns County holds winter photo contest
Now that winter has begun, it’s time to pull out those cameras and phones and snap some pictures. Stearns County is kicking off its 2014 photo contest. The theme: “Winter Wonders.” Stearns County wants citizens to send us their Winter Wonder pictures. That can be someone enjoying their favorite winter activity, snow and ice-covered landscapes, a cozy fireplace, holiday festivities, cute kiddos reveling in the snow, a winter celebration, a family activity, animals in the season, even Santa Claus if you’re lucky enough to catch a shot. These are only ideas; Winter Wonders can be anything. Whatever it may be, snap some pictures, or pull ones already taken, and participate in Stearns County’s photo contest. There is no limit to the number of submissions per entrant. The only requirement for this contest is the photo must have been taken in Stearns County. Images will be judged on creativity, originality, photo content and the photos relevance to the “Winter Wonders” contest theme.
Photos can be submitted online through Stearns County’s web site at StearnsCountyMN.gov. Details and contest rules, as well as past photo contest submissions, can also be found on the Stearns County website.
Winning photographs will also get special recognition and be featured on the home page of Stearns County’s website. All pictures will be displayed in the county’s online photo gallery, on the county’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Google+. All photographs will also be displayed in the Stearns County Administration Center and Stearns County Service Center entryways when the contest is complete. Photos could also appear in brochures and other materials promoting the county.
“This is a fun competition that strengthens the connection between Stearns County and its citizens. It showcases what’s unique and extraordinary about where we live,” said Public Information Specialist Janet Midas. “Every year we get some amazing and creative photographs; it makes the judging process very difficult.”
Whether photography is a passion, a hobby or an occasional pastime, we want everyone to participate. So start snapping, Stearns County’s “Winter Wonders” photo contest ends on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded the week of Jan. 26-30.
U.S. youth ice-fishing dates announced
Youth anglers across the country will have the opportunity to compete in a youth ice-fishing season this winter. Starting Jan. 1, kids can earn points for going ice fishing and catching fish on any frozen body of water. Last season, Minnesota youth anglers were the first to compete in a youth ice-fishing season using a point-based scoring system which rewarded kids for ice fishing and catching fish through the ice. The anglers earned plaques, certificates and other awards for their success.
The American Angler Leagues’ introduces fishing to children in a structured environment similar to youth sports. “We believe in order for children to become lifelong anglers, they need continuous opportunities to fish while they are young. They also need someone to teach them how to fish and then take them fishing” states founder Kolt Ringer. The model relies on encouraging experienced anglers to recruit and fish with non-experienced angling families.
The competitive ice-fishing season is open to boys and girls between the ages of 5 to 17. Anglers will be allowed to fish anytime on any frozen lake or river from Jan. 1-Feb. 28. Coaches and parents will be able to set up times to fish that work for their schedules. They can also schedule tournaments and group outings in their respective regions to make the season more fun.
“Last season was a great experience for Bode and myself. We love to go ice fishing together, but it was even more fun to have Bode fishing for points. It gave him some extra motivation to get on the ice and forced us to schedule more time ice fishing,” said Mike Beighley, who coached his son Bode to a third-place trophy in Minnesota last year.
“For countless families, winter is a time when their attention turns to the ice rink or basketball court,” said Michelle Ringer, American Angler Leagues’ director of marketing. “We’re excited to be able to introduce ice fishing as a fun, structured, competitive activity for families to participate in this winter.”
Families can register anytime online at www.littleleaguefishing.com.