Kids set to pitch in around towns

BLUE EARTH – Sara Albright just hopes the weather is seasonable on Wednesday.

She has more than a dozen sites lined up for Blue Earth Area Middle School students to visit for the annual Service Learning Day. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders will be doing odd jobs to help out.

“If it’s sprinkling, we’ll still go, but if it’s a full-out downpour, we’ve scheduled the next day,” Albright said.

She’ll have to decide early because the kids will get on the buses at 8:30 a.m. so they can travel to the different communities in the school district.

The middle schoolers will be divided into 20 groups, with 15 students per group. There will be plenty for everyone to do because “we are booked,” Albright noted. And they will be venturing out of the school district boundaries a bit.

“Out to Bricelyn and Wells,” Albright said. “They are very happy for the help.”

Four groups of students will work at Prairie River Camp near Bricelyn. Others will go to Pihl’s Park in Wells.

“Because of the wet spring, they weren’t able to get stuff done,” Albright said.

Students also will be out and about in Elmore, Frost, Winnebago and all over Blue Earth, from Riverside and Calvary Cemetery, to Faribault County Fairgrounds, to the downtown, Putnam Park and the swimming pool, Steinberg Park, Blue Earth Fire Department, and St. Luke’s Care Center. New this year will be working at Blue Earth Area High School and helping elderly homeowners.

The kids will perform all kinds of manual labor, including raking, stacking firewood, moving rocks, landscaping, painting, mulching, trash pickup, planting flowers, and walking and playing games with residents of Parker Oaks in Winnebago and at St. Luke’s.

“At Leland Parkway [at the fairgrounds], they’ll paint the ice rink white; that will be an all-day thing,” Albright said.

“At the pool, kids will wax the slide, put out furniture and help Michelle (Hall) get ready,” Albright said. They also will clean the tennis courts.

At Blue Earth Area High School, students will rake and level the baseball field and paint the weight room.

Blue Earth Area middle schoolers have been going on Service Learning Day for seven or eight years. The communities involved get much-needed help from the army of students, while Albright hopes the kids put the “learning” into the day.

“It takes what they’ve been learning in classes and has them solve real-world problems, using the skills they have to make a difference, teaching them the value of helping and caring for other people,” Albright said. “Also, it gives them a chance to take pride in where they live.”