Earl Skeen, Challis High School teacher, head of Challis' "Envirothon" team

I believe that one of the best things I have been able to do for my students is to get them involved in community service projects. This has allowed them to gather the experience of the experts in the fields as well as become involved with community members in a positive way. It seems that some people don't have the oppurtunity to interact with our students in large groups in positive activities, and this gives both the student and the community member a chance to get to know each other. When we first started our different community service projects my students would not have any idea of a project that needed done, or how to procede on a project if they did know of one. After the first couple were undertaken the fear and uncertainty disappeared. This also seems to be the same for those that we help. They now understand that we can be trusted to do a good job, and to follow through year after year with our best efforts. Sometimes this requires some sacrifice, such as our leafy spurge beetle collecting that must be done during summer vacation. I can always count on four or five students showing up when they are needed even if it means they will have to take time off from a summer job. Volunteerism seems to be its own reward for these kids and Envirothon has been the means to getting them involved.

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