By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

4-H Offers 'Youth Chautauqua' As Summer Camp Option


April 11, 2018

The conflict that started World War 1 occurred overseas, but the impact was felt in the Panhandle of Nebraska as well.

“It isn’t something that happened over there,” said Humanities Nebraska Program Officer Kristi Hyaek Carley recently.

Organizers for the Sidney Chautauqua are busy planning details, making sure actors and actresses are ready for their part and locations are guaranteed.

In just a few weeks, the Sidney community will have the opportunity to revisit the World War 1 time in history. The Chautauqua events will include dramatic presentations, lectures, themed movies and other activities. There will also be the opportunity to relive that period of history as it happened in Cheyenne County. Residents will have the opportunity to relive the early days as portrayed by 4-H youth. Characters are limited mostly by available research and the imagination of the 4-H program participants.

“We get to be history detectives. You don’t have to be an authority of anything to be involved,” said Ann Birney.

Birney is working with Humanities Nebraska and had portrayed characters such as Amelia Earhart and Calamity Jane in Ride Into History. She and Carley were in Sidney last week.

Carley said the Youth Chautauqua sometimes opens youth past their timid stage in development and may offer a focus for future pursuit.

“It is an educational opportunity,” she said.

Birney recalled one Youth Chautauqua when a youth said it was the first time he had an opportunity to read. She added participants in the Youth Chautauqua may finish the experience knowing more about history than some adults.

The Cheyenne County 4-H clubs are getting involved as well, offering a Youth Chautauqua as an option for 4-H members this summer.

“It is exciting because youth who participate will be researching characters from Sidney’s past,” said Cynthia Gill, Extension Educator, Youth Development University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Cheyenne, Kimball, Banner Counties).

The camp is free, underwritten by Humanities Nebraska. Participants in the camp will have the opportunity to research local historic personalities that interests them.

“Each one will select a person from Sidney’s past,” Gill said.

The Youth Chautauqua is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. June 11-15. The program concludes with a presentation by the youth participants.

The 4-H program is looking for people from the community who can help with the camp: offer suggestions on subjects, help with research or time-appropriate clothing, coach dramatic production of the research.

The program is limited to 12 participants. Participants must be at least 10 years old.

“It is a great opportunity. We’re really fortunate to have them (Chautauqua) here,” she said.

To get involved, contact the Extension Office at 308-254-4455 or Tourism Director Heather Hausmann at 308-254-4030.

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