Fire Sparks T-Shirt Project

We are proud to announce that the Central NE Interact club raised over $500 for the cleanup of the Halsey forest after the recent fire.

They worked with the 4H clubs, the National Honor Societies, and the RYLA committee for this fundraiser.

The kids designed a t-shirt and sweatshirt to sell online for anyone in the area to purchase.  It was advertised online using Facebook and email to other Rotary clubs.

When all the publicity from the legislative hearing hit the news and the kids wore their shirts, people wanted to buy one too.  So they decided to reopen the shirt sales.  If anyone wants to buy one before March 31st

Content of Delaney’s Testimony:

My name is Delaney Rogers. I live in Logan County and I’m a 17-year- old junior from Arnold Public Schools. I’m here to represent the younger generation who are Halsey Strong.
Halsey national forest and the 4-H campgrounds means the absolute world to me. I could see the fire that took it in the skyline from my window. The smoke was hanging in the air for what seemed like a month. It broke my heart to hear that the place where my father, myself, and where I imagined my children to go to camp, had vanished in a puff of smoke..
I was one of the last to enjoy the camp. I was there for 10 days in a row at two different leadership camps in late July of 2022.  I was one of the last to walk from the cabins to the lodge, or from the lodge to the Observation deck. It was my home away from home.  That camp meant so much to me and so much to so many of my friends. For me and my friends, it was like a death. I remember dropping to the floor in tears and calling my camp friends right away.
As soon as I picked myself up off the floor, I knew I had to help out. I went to everyone of my leadership activities and we as a whole decided to sell t shirts to hopefully raise money to help in anyway possible. The back of the shirts have a quote on the back that says “Leaders aren’t born, their grown.” I couldn’t think of a better quote to describe the Halsey 4-h camp. Leaders are grown and have been grown for generations at the camp. We raised $563, and that may not sound like a lot, but for a group of teenagers just trying to save something they’re passionate about, it was enough just to get people invested and in the know about the rebuilding process.
I went to 2 camps that had roughly 100 kids each. That’s almost 200 kids from around the state and parts of South Dakota that were devastated by the loss of our camp. In the summer of 2022 alone, the campgrounds housed 14 camps and approximately 300 campers. That number doesn’t include all of the leadership camps such as the two I attended. If yhe camp was built in 1959 and if 300 kids have gone since the 60’s, that’s nearly 19,000 children who had the opportunity to grow in the forest. I can tell you just from the campers I’m still in touch with, that kids appreciated the unique opportunity.
This campground has affected so many kids and parents in Nebraska. Whether its from going to the actual 4-H camps.
Week-long RYLA leadership camps
The NREA Youth energy leadership camps
Quiz bowl competitions
Art festivals
FFA activities
Field trips
6th grade outdoor educations
4th grade camp outs
Faculty team building days
I could list camps and activities for days, but I was told I only have 3 or 4 minutes. The East side of the state has many places to go to learn to be a leader, but the western side had Halsey.
If you take away anything from this testimony, I hope that it’s the fact that so many kids have benefited from the Halsey 4-H camp and campgrounds. We can not deprive our younger generations from the chance to learn and grow in the middle of a forest in the middle of the great grass desert. This camp has not only grown me as a leader and as a person, but it has grown so many of my classmates, teammates, and state-wide peers as well.
I’d like to thank everyone that’s considering rebuilding the camp and investing in Nebraska’s future generations. Thank You.

ResourcesTo Replicate this Project:

“I would like to raise enough money to give books to all the kids in Custer County,” said Rogers. “I don’t know if it will be in one year, three years, or more.”

March 20223:  Since her testimony, Interact has reopened the t-shirt sales and is now taking donations to give to the 4-H Foundation.  They presented a check to Stuart Shepherd who gladly placed the money in an account earmarked for the rebuilding project.