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Tag Archive | "youth achievement"

Local student takes first at youth fair


Jarren Harkema, 14, son of Tim and Heather Harkema, of Cedar Springs, took first place this year at the Kent County Youth Fair as a junior champion rabbit showman.

He then had the opportunity to compete in the Kent County 2010 Showman Sweepstakes, which was held on August 14th. The day before he had to go around and learn how to show every single animal in fair, including Dairy Cow, Beef Cow, Swine, Horse, Sheep, Goat, Chicken, Dog and Cavy.

“Jarren thought it was such an honor and a great learning experience to be a part of the sweepstakes where all the top 20 champion students of Kent County competed,” said Heather. “We are so proud of him.”

This was Jarren’s 5th year of being part of 4H Kent County Youth Fair. His group is The Country Cowboys out of Sparta. Jarren’s club leader is Dick Bethel, of Rockford, a retired Ferris University professor.

Jarren also won other awards at Kent County youth fair this year, including Best in Breed for his Polish Rabbit, Best in Show for mechanical/robotics construction and best in show for a stop motion animated film. In previous years, Jarren has taken 3rd and 2nd place in Rabbit Showmanship.

Jarren is a 9th grade homeschooler and is active in many activities, including 4H, science & engineering clubs, First Lego League & Robotics with local and national competitions, Community service projects, Teen Bible Challenge, and active in his church youth group. He enjoys hanging out with his family and friends, and has two brothers, Brennan and Landon.

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Fine arts night shines


Martin Yakes, 7, a first-grader at Cedar Trails Elementary, proudly shows off his artwork. Post photo by J. Reed.

Martin Yakes, 7, a first-grader at Cedar Trails Elementary, proudly shows off his artwork. Post photo by J. Reed.

Music rang through the halls, laughter rose from the crowd, and proud children pointed to their artwork during the annual Fine Arts night at Cedar Springs High School Tuesday. It was back after a one-year hiatus.

“I’m really glad we were able to bring it back this year,” said art teacher Millie Sandelius.

Parents and community members enjoyed the music of elementary students, the Cedar Springs HS Jazz band, and various solo artists throughout the night.

Students from Mr. Harnden’s advanced drama class entertained spectactors with their improv talent at the Fine Arts night. Post photo by J. Reed.

Another draw was the high school’s Advanced Drama team, who showed their talent by keeping the crowds entertained with their improvisational performances. They would often ask the spectators for ideas then act them out on the spot.

Lining the halls was artwork from the students from elementary through high school. Kids had fun finding and pointing out to their parents the pieces they had created.

The only grade level that did not have artwork displayed was sixth grade, because they did not have an art class this year.

Advanced Drama in action

Advanced Drama entertains spectators

advanced drama boys in action

Tim Mol and Steve Reed in action

displayed artwork

Artwork on display

jazz band

Jazz band performs

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Nine-year-old soccer player goes the extra mile


By Adam Kenyon

Brison Ricker and Father, Brian, take a break from training to show their CASSA pride at Skinner Field.

Brison Ricker and Father, Brian, take a break from training to show their CASSA pride at Skinner Field.

While many school boys are playing with action figures or glued to video games in their spare time, nine-year-old Brison Ricker has been gearing up for something a bit more challenging. This 3rd grader from Beach Elementary School is training to complete the upcoming 33rd annual Fifth Third River Bank Run 10K with his father, Brian.

Several months ago, Brian and his wife, Kim, noticed that Brison enjoyed running on the treadmill, sometimes to the point of becoming restless if not allowed to do so. On a recent treadmill jog, he went six miles, so they asked Brison about the idea of running the River Bank Run on May 8. He readily agreed.

Brison is athletic by nature and participates in several types of sports and events. He took 2nd place in the Rockford Area Kid’s Triathlon last July, his second year in the competition, and plans to participate again this summer. He also enjoys basketball, football and his dirt bike. However, he is quick to tell you that his favorite sport is soccer.

“I like playing soccer. It’s my passion,” says Brison, who has had tremendous success as both a field player and goalie for the under-10 boy’s team of Cedar Area Select Soccer Association, the CASSA Tri-Hawks.

Brison, typically a boy of few words, becomes animated as he describes, with a gleam in his eye, one of his most memorable goals last fall. “The goalie came up. I faked him out and I went to kick with my left foot and I made it.”

In fact, Brison is currently pounding the pavement not only to train for the 6.2-mile race, but also raising funds for CASSA. The girls and boys travel club has expanded significantly over recent years causing a need to acquire land for practice fields. Brison has stepped up to the plate to help out, already having raised a much-needed contribution in pledges for the club.

Brian, who also coaches Brison’s team, has become a huge believer in CASSA. The group’s philosophy involves athleticism, teamwork and instilling character in the kids, but above all, the goal is to make the experience positive and fun for everybody. “I like coaching a lot more than I thought I would, even more than I enjoyed playing sports. It’s watching kids grow and get better, teaching kids and being able to be there with my son. The reward you get is just unbelievable,” said Ricker.

Brian is bolstering Brison by running the River Bank with him, a method of support that he also employs as a CASSA coach. At a typical Tri-Hawks practice, Brian leads by example, often working out alongside the team while coaching. Whether it’s warm-ups, conditioning drills, sprints, practice drills or scrimmages, Brian is doing the physical work with the boys, which gives them that extra boost of team-morale and support during the exhausting moments of practice. Plus, a little fun competition with one of the dads never hurts to motivate the players during practice.

The Rickers are looking forward to the River Bank Run, the remainder of the spring CASSA season and the fall tryouts that take place in mid-June. If you would like to root Brison on in his outstanding accomplishments by pledging or becoming involved with CASSA go to:  www.cassasoccer.com. Way to go, Brison!

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Cub scout pack 3222 annual flower sale


On May 1, 2 and May 8, Cub Scout Pack 3222 will be having their Annual Flower Sale at Tractor Supply, from 9-5. The pack has been around for 56 years here in Cedar Springs. The flower sale is one way they raise money for the boys to be able to do things in scouting.

“We take great pride in our boys and having them learn about the community that they live in,” said Catreal Walters. “Over the years our boys have done different projects to help out the community of Cedar Springs. We are very happy to be a part of such a great community.” She said the people of Cedar Springs have been a great help to the boys in their sales and whatever else they may have needed. She added that this flower sale will help many boys go to camp this summer.

“Please come out and get your 10-inch beautiful flower baskets, and help make our boys dreams come true,” she said.

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Youth group organizes benefit show for Neuroblastoma research


The youth group at Calvary Assembly of God, at the corner of 17 Mile and Olin Lakes in Cedar Springs, has organized a benefit music show with several local Christian bands to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. The show is on Friday, April 30, with doors opening at 7:00 p.m. There is a $2 cover charge per person.

“I’m very proud of our youth group,” said Calvary Assembly of God Pastor Craig T. Owens. “They are the heart and the hands of this show.”

The youth group first became aware of the strain of cancer called neuroblastoma while participating in “PROJECT:Smile!” This project was organized by Michael and Amy Hagerman of Muskegon, whose youngest daughter recently died from the effects of neuroblastoma. The Hagermans have two older daughters (Katy, 7, and Audrey, 4) and they wanted to find a way to bring smiles to their daughters during Bethany’s last days. The Calvary youth group was actively involved in sending cards and gifts to the Hagerman girls as a part of “PROJECT:Smile!”

Although Bethany passed away on March 10, 2010, the Calvary youth group wanted to continue to help other families who may be going through a similar circumstance. So “Rockin’ For Smiles” was born.

Several local Christian bands have agreed to play on April 30, and all of them have waived their usual booking or appearance fees to help raise money. All of the money raised will go to Noah’s Neuroblastoma Research Fund, for ongoing research through the University of Michigan. So far the following bands have confirmed their participation: Icris, Edge From Falling, Come Find The Lion, Letters From Home, Abstract Faith, Kidd Alias, and Oh! The Storm.

Calvary Assembly of God is located at 810 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, MI. For more information, contact Craig T. Owens at (616) 667-7773.

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Youth Smoking Prevention Campaign Meets Teens On Their Level


(NAPSA)-For many teens, the teenage years are a time of rebellion and experimentation-and smoking is one way teens challenge authority.

The truth(r) youth smoking prevention campaign reaches teens effectively by never telling them what to do-or what not to do-even when it comes to the decision to smoke. Instead, the campaign seeks to become a part of teens’ everyday lives through the television programs they watch, the Web sites they visit, and by having a presence at concerts and events where teens naturally gather.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the successful public health campaign-most known for a series of iconic, provocative television ads highlighting tobacco-related information and tobacco industry tactics.

According to research recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, truth was responsible for 450,000 fewer youth smokers in a four-year period.

Every year, the campaign sends out a team of young adults to travel the country and meet up with teens at concerts, skateparks, malls and other events. The truth crew members create a fun, dynamic atmosphere that makes it easier to discuss tobacco issues in a nonpreachy way. Most tour stops feature the distinctive orange truth truck and zone, where teens gather to have fun. In the zone, crew members:

  • Hold fashion shows, dance contests and freestyle rap “battles”;
  • Teach DJ lessons through “Scratch Academy.” A group of DJs school newcomers on the fundamentals of DJ’ing, scratching and mixing music;
  • Play games;
  • Distribute truth “gear”- fashionable, trendy items like T-shirts, hats and backpacks reflecting tobacco facts.

Every year, the tour reaches more than 500,000 teens in person during the course of its 70-odd-city cross-country tour.
To learn more, visit www. thetruth.com.

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