"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Saturday, August 30th, 2014
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One Moment, Please... Creating leaders while leading


Fri, Feb 21st, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Left to right: Joshua Bissen, Logan Schmidt, Benjamin Erickson, Logan Fairs, Judah Stockdale, Nathaniel Storlie, Hunter Suckow, Kadyn Schmidt, Heather Stockdale, Kate Serfling, Qwinton Tripp (the scout in front of Kate), Monica Erickson, Adam Tripp, Bob Storlie. Photo by David Erickson

This past week, on an evening that fell between winter snowfalls, the Fillmore County Journal hosted a group of Cub Scouts from the communities of Fountain, Harmony and Preston. Accompanied by their parents, the scouts came for a tour of our newspaper and a presentation about what we do at our company. This was an opportunity for each Cub Scout to earn their “Communications Badge.”

I always appreciate an opportunity to speak with young people about what we do at the newspaper, and how they can become of a part of the newspaper on a regular basis.

Over the past few years, we have introduced a lot of new features geared toward our local youth. Nearly every school in Fillmore County has a monthly school news page. Our “Weather Art” page displays the work of talented artists from our area schools and how they perceive the weather. We have added coloring contests for nearly every holiday -- most recently Valentine’s Day. And, our recent “Cute Kids of Fillmore County” offered an opportunity for proud parents to bring some smiles to the pages of the Fillmore County Journal. And, this year marks the 15th anniversary of the Journal Student Writing Project, bringing a pool of talented high school together to share their views of the world, near and far.

As I told the scouts during their tour, if they ever have an idea for something they’d like to see in the newspaper, just let us know. A few years ago, a 10-year-old girl walked in the front door of the Journal office and asked if she could write a story about the Fillmore County Fair when it comes to Preston. I told her we’d be happy to publish her story. When the fair came and went, she came to us with her story and we shared it with all of our readers. That story she told was important because it was her perspective of the Fillmore County Fair.

Whenever we give a tour of the newspaper, I am always reminded of how fortunate we are to have such an outstanding team that really cares about producing the best possible newspaper for our readers every single week. We have an editorial team covering meetings and conducting interviews for human interest stories. We have graphic designers creating ads, and putting together a beautiful finished product. We have salespeople meeting with business owners and decision-makers who want to connect with readers via the colorful pages of the Journal. And, at the tail-end of the process, we have a well-coordinated distribution system led by one of our team members in conjunction with the local USPS locations.

In my mind, I am always amazed at how all of the pieces of the puzzle come together every week of the year. And, this is because of the dedicated people we have involved in the process.

As I was speaking with the scouts about what we do at the newspaper, I looked around at all of the parents who were involved in this tour. They deserve a huge thanks and recognition for taking the time to be so involved in their children’s lives.

During my drive home, I thought about that presentation, and specifically about how we need parents to take their turn to help lead our children. And, this doesn’t always come natural for us. For some of us, we as parents may not feel confident enough to be a leader for wherever our leadership is needed. In addition, we may not have a job that allows us to make it work with our schedule. Or, we may be so busy with so many things on our plate that it is difficult to take on additional responsibilities. Those situations can always be an impediment.

When I was first asked to be a Sunday school teacher at our church, I felt that I didn’t know enough to be of service to our youth. In general terms, I knew the more commonly discussed stories of the Bible, but I learned about that stuff so long ago that most of it was vaguely tucked away in my memory for historic preservation.

Well, I accepted the challenge, and I learned a lot throughout that process. It helped me revisit my memory banks, but it also helped me learn how to relate to the kids in my Sunday school class on the curriculum we discussed each week.

And, there have been other opportunities that have come along in which my children have become interested or involved in extra-curricular activities, and parental support or leadership was requested. When help is needed, parents who volunteer are a godsend.

I commend the parents who were involved in the tour at the Journal this past week. I’m sure that one event at the Journal was the tip of the iceberg for what is involved in helping these Cub Scouts learn to live by the Scout Oath. Their parental presence and leadership alone creates memories for their children. It makes their children feel loved and supported. We may not always realize how our children perceive us and the world around them, but our presence is important.

And, as these parents are leading their children, they are creating leaders who will someday be involved in their children’s lives just the same.

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