Local youth lend helping hands in Iron County


Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

CAITLIN AHLBERG, Adrienne Fedora and Nicole Hissa will be working in the Iron County University of Wisconsin-Extension office throughout the summer. Ahlberg and Fedora are AmeriCorps Vistas and will be running the Trailblazers program for kids, while Hissa is the summer assistant and will be planning Iron County Summer Youth Camp.

HURLEY — The Iron County University of Wisconsin-Extension office has three new faces helping out throughout the summer.

Caitlin Ahlberg and Adrienne Fedora will be running the Trailblazers program as AmeriCorps Vistas, and Nicole Hissa is the summer assistant in the office.

All three are new to the job, but find the experience to be “exciting.”

“It’s exciting because we get to control what we do each day,” Ahlberg said. “We get to plan the program and be in charge of it.”

Trailblazers started in 2007 and Fedora participated in the program in middle school.

“It was a really good program,” Fedora said. “I really enjoyed it.”

The program takes students around on bikes to see local sites throughout the county. Students meet either in Hurley or Mercer and spend the entire day riding and seeing what the county has to offer.

“We found binders of what was done in the past, so that was really helpful,” Ahlberg said. “We want to make each week different so the kids have a lot of fun.”

As for Hissa, she will be spending her summer planning Iron County Summer Youth Camp.

“Being behind the scenes, I finally see how much work actually goes into it,” Hissa said. “I really love my job though. It’s a lot of fun.”

All three will be attending college next fall. Fedora will be starting her freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to purse a degree in civil engineering, while Hissa will be a freshman at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, majoring in criminal justice.

Ahlberg will start her third year at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and her major is health promotion and wellness, with a minor in child and family studies.

“This will be a great experience, because it fits so well with my major,” Ahlberg said. “I am really excited about the program.”

Neil Klemme, 4-H youth development educator for UW-Extension, said that having the girls in the office has helped him out.

“After Nicole’s started, my stress level when down tenfold,” Klemme said. “These girls are also locals, so they know how to get messages out to kids. I’ve only been here a year, so they have been very helpful.”

While they will be busy all summer, Klemme said that he knows that they will all do well.

“They’ve been really great,” Klemme said. “We’re excited to have them here.”


The program starts July 2 in Hurley and July 3 in Mercer, and will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays for five weeks, with a one-week break for Iron County Summer Youth Camp.

Participants in Hurley will meet at the Iron County Courthouse, while participants in Mercer will meet at the Mercer Public Library. Each session will last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a snack will be provided.

The cost is $30 for the entire program, and the cost includes snack and an end-of-the-year camping trip.

Registration forms can be found at the Mercer Library, Mercer Chamber of Commerce and in the UW-Extension office.

For more information on the program, call the Iron County UW-Extension office at 715-561-2695 or visit iron.uwex.edu/2013/06/11/lets-hit-the-trails-trailblazers-is-back/.


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