Holiday elves will be making an early stop in Spencer in an effort to help the family of Lane Frederick, Spencer High School student who was seriously injured this fall.
Student leaders at Spencer High School came up with the idea of giving and caring about others earlier this year following the health challenges of Austin Crew, a graduate of the Spencer Chambers Junior Leadership program this past spring.
That's when they approached the Spencer Chamber of Commerce about involving the community in caring for others.
Emma VerSteeg, a Spencer High School Junior, sent an email to the Chamber, asking for a meeting.
"The community of Spencer - and those living nearby - unified around Austin Crew, and we knew there would be support for this effort," said Bill Campbell, Executive Director of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce. "We encouraged our chamber leaders to attend this meeting with students from this year's Junior Class at Spencer High School."
And the effort took off.
After the first 7:30 am meeting, the group identified two projects to pursue - the first one dubbed a "Holiday Hoorah," will benefit Lane Frederick.
Lane is currently receiving rehabilitation treatments in Omaha. Family members continue to commute and spend time with him in Omaha and the students realize that comes at a cost.
The student leaders - all who had applied for the Chambers Junior Leadership Spencer program - plan to launch the "Holiday Hoorah" (with assistance from the Chamber) on Monday, December 4th and complete it on Tuesday, December 12th.
Interested individuals who wish to contribute are encouraged to donate the following items as outlined by Haley Schwenneker, a member of the student group.
"We are asking for donations of cash, gas cards, Chamber Dollars and restaurant cards to help this family as they are going through a tough time this Christmas," Schwenneker said.
Donations may be dropped off or mailed to Spencer High School, 800 East 3rd Street; or the Spencer Chamber of Commerce, 1805 Highway Blvd. Chamber Dollars can be purchased at the Spencer Chamber office and financial donations can be writted to the Chamber's newly formed foundation.
"We didn't know what would happen with these ideas, yet those of us involved in the project are truly getting a chance to gain leadership skills as we plan this donation campaign," said VerSteeg. "We hope others in the community will open their hearts and donate to the cause."
Those who wish to communicate via Social Media are encouraged to use #COWBOYTOUGH. General questions may be directed to the Spencer Chamber of Commerce at 712-262-5680.
The team also plans to hold an event in February to invite young people from area communities to Spencer in a show of unity with plans to benefit others in the future.
Team members include Emily Beehler, Katie Halverson, Cayann Knoer, Haley Schwenneker, Emma VerSteeg, Jace Wiemers and Charlie Zulk. Those assisting the student team include High School Principal Ellie Wiemers, Chamber Executive Director Bill Campbell, Chamber Board Chair Kevin Brown, Chamber Past Board Chair Cindy Tigges and Jane Campbell of Iowa Lakes Community College.