ARNOLD – The Arnold Recreation Area’s new fountains are running, and it only took one 16-year-old Interact member 10 months of hard work to get it done.

“I am so incredibly proud of him, it was a lot of hard work and all I could do was encourage him,” said Heather Furne, Ethan’s mom.

Arnold High School junior, Ethan Furne envisioned this day almost a year ago with he joined the Central Nebraska Interact Club.

At the very first introductory meeting where it was announced that Interact will be a “service above self” club, Ethan knew what he wanted to do for one of our first projects.

“I want to get fountains for the Arnold Rec Area so we can start fishing and swimming there again.  The algae is so thick it is really hard to fish,” he explained to the sponsor.

What Ethan might not have known is how much it would cost.  He did his research and found out what he needed to get this project off the ground.

Ethan knew he had to talk to some adults, especially the village who owns the pond.  However, he also talked to a local agronomist, a chemical engineer, and the Nebraska Game and Parks to ensure that any algaecide chemicals used would only kill the algae and would not kill the fish that are already there.

Then he began researching the types of fountains that would be beautiful as well as functional.  The fountains would aerate the pond making it hard for the algae to grow.

Once he knew the types of fountains and chemicals needed, he knew how much money he needed to raise.  He wrote several grants, and managed to get all four.

The Rotary was the first invest $500 in the project so the chemicals could be bought and put on while waiting for the grants to come through.

With a total budget of over $18,000, Ethan knew he would need to apply for many grants due to fact that the Interact Club is a service organization and did not have any money in its coffers to fund it.  The grants included:  The Mid Nebraska Community Foundation for $1,750, the Arnold Community Foundation for $6,000, the Custer County Foundation for $5,000, Custer County Tourism for $5,000, the Village of Arnold who paid for the electrical hook ups and the electricity to keep them running, and there were several other local donations as well.

Doug DeLaune was instrumental in helping Ethan with assembling the fountains, getting them set out in the pond, and getting the electrical hookups installed.  It couldn’t    have been done without him.

“Teenagers, as well as adults, need to realize that teens can have a powerful voice.  They can be empowered to do great things if they just talk to the right people.  Having a network of people who can direct them leads to successes just like this one,” said Nicole Badgley, Interact sponsor.

Other Media Coverage includes:  KRVN Radio, Arnold Sentinel, Custer County Chief, Rotary Newsletter for District 5630 September Newsletter, and Sandhills Express.


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