GUERNSEY – The SkillsUSA end of the year banquet was held last Friday night at the Guernsey VFW Post 4471 building. A building that four years ago was in poor condition.
Thanks to the students of the Guernsey chapter of SkillsUSA partnering with various volunteers, faculty and community workers have remodeled the VFW building and have made it one of most desirable meeting places in the town of Guernsey.
The night was a time of relaxing, recognizing, recollecting and recouping before embarking on the next project.
After a successful repeat at the state competition last week, Reichert created a night where the kids who had worked hard for the past four years could let their hair down and rest for at least one night on their laurels and to have some fun with Reichert’s fun awards with comical and prolific titles, such as the “Judges must have COVID” award and the “180 degrees award.”
And after the cleanup was done for the night, the group was already looking ahead to their next project.
Reichert, the adviser for SkillsUSA is a very ingenious teacher when it comes to finding funding for projects that need to be done in the community.
He also knows the legacy that he and his students will leave for their children and grandchildren as one day they will visit a completed sight project and be able to say it was their gift to the community.
That gift to Platte County is the huge project of refurbishing the old Sunrise YMCA and due to a $98K grant from the Daniels Fund grant, his kids will have a hefty project to work on in the next few years.
A once thriving mining town for nearly 100 years, Sunrise has been overlooked by many in Platte County since the CF&I company shut the small town down in the early 1980s.
With the Sunrise Historic and Prehistoric Preservation Society (SHAPPS) growing in recent years, more and more activities and tours have been taking place in the quiet little town owned by John Voight. Last summer SHAPPS allowed Reichert to hold a pair of Skilled Trades Camps for students across the nation that were funded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools and the Wyoming Department of Education.
The University of Wyoming, Platte County Chamber of Commerce, and others quickly jumped on board, and the camps were a huge success.
Campers got to work on the oldest YMCA in Wyoming during the day, and enjoyed fun, educational activities in the evenings. They also had daily "skilled trades competitions" with the winners getting new tools and equipment as prizes.
This summer the winners will receive engraved Wyoming belt buckles. With momentum in their favor from last year’s success, the decision was made to allow four camps this summer (two for boys, two for girls) to accommodate more students.
18 students from several different states have already submitted applications, and a majority of the campers from last summer are coming back for more work and fun.
The only catch was how to fund it.
Harbor Freight Tools for Schools jumped on board right away with another $10,000 grant, but with more and more applications coming in, Reichert sought additional funding so that the camps could remain free to the attendees.
Enter the Daniels Fund. The Daniels Fund provided over $70,000 to Reichert's CTE program to renovate the Guernsey VFW Post 4471 building in recent years, and they were eager to help again. SHAPPS held a board meeting last November to approve accepting any grants that the Skilled Trades Camps received, and last week the Daniels Fund approved a grant request for $98,108.
These funds will be used to purchase transportation items like a new van, trailer, and UTV. Meals, bedding, safety equipment, materials and tools are also included in the grant.
"This grant was definitely a grand slam for our Skilled Trades Camps,” Reichert said. "I'm so thankful that people like the Daniels Fund, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, Wyoming SkillsUSA, SHAPPS, and the University of Wyoming see the educational value of this project and continue to support it. We hit some major snags in the fall of 2020 trying to find an organization that we could run the grants through, but it was by the grace of God that we continued to push forward and He put people in our path to really help it take off.”
The camps are open to any students across the nation going into grades 10-12 next year. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and can be found on the Facebook page: The Sunrise Wyoming Project.
Reichert is expecting 40 or more campers this summer and says that the camps are a win-win for everybody involved.
"Kids are learning valuable trade and employability skills,” Reichert said. “Sunrise is getting its history preserved, and business/industry leaders are finding a gold mine of potential new employees in the old copper/ore mining town. You'd have to be crazy to not want to be a part of this project."
The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative. Visit DanielsFund.org to learn more.
STATE COMPETITOR AWARDS
Karson Yorges Memorial Award
Maitthias Beers and Dakota Conner
Certificate of Recognition to the Guernsey-Sunrise SkillsUSA Chapter
Community Service Awards to Dakota Conner, Rawland Isabell, Tyler Cisneros, Chris Ramos
Sam Baker, Alexis Atwood, Kailey Haase, and Addisyn Saukkola.
"TRAIL BLAZER" award for leading the way for future junior high students to follow.
"IT'S OK, THE ART SYMPOSIUM JUDGES ARE BETTER" award
Shelbie Bowen, Gabbie Baker, and Kolten Weinkauf
"NOT AFRAID TO TRY" award.
Jaden Lehman, Kris White, and Dom Ramirez
"IF YOU AIN'T FIRST, YOU'RE LAST" award.
Liberty Whitebird, Jackson Smith, and Leni Dimas
"PROCRASTINATION IS NOT MY FRIEND" award.
Paige Andrews, Rylie Thompson, and Lily Ahrens.
"SMOOTH TALKER" award.
"SCHOOL PRESIDENT" award.
Jordan Atwood and Berkleigh Pafford.
"THE JUDGES MUST HAVE HAD COVID" award.
"ROCKIN' TO THE 80'S AT MIDNIGHT" award.
"180 degrees" award
"THE FIRST LADY KNOWS GOOD PICTURES" award
"PIZZA AND CHILL" award
Lashea Jaramillo, Nathan VanNatter and Jack Baker
"I'M READY...WAIT, WHAT DO I NEED?" award
"THE PROFESSOR" award
"WOULD YOU LIKE CREAM CHEESE WITH THAT" award