Moving Forward: September News

Youth Engagement Express Gains Steam

IMG_2213 As the school year moves past the first 4 weeks, Ogallala Commons has launched a series of 6 Youth Engagement Days.  The first one took place on September 16th on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX. More than 75 students and 10 teachers attended from Canyon, Tulia, Dimmitt, Plainview, and Hart high schools, including small delegations from Tascosa, Palo Duro, and Caprock high schools in Amarillo and a couple of home school students.  Some highlights of the event were presentations by a young entrepreneur panel, several rounds of “Speed Exploration” where students learned about enticing careers that are available in their region, visits with business owners around the Courthouse Square, and interacting with like-minded youth from various schools who share an interest in building entrepreneurial skills.
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In October, OC and seven high school partners will conduct a Youth Engagement Day in Floydada, TX, for an anticipated group of 60-70 students, on Oct. 7th.  Next, OC staffers Darryl Birkenfeld and Simone Elder will team up with Julie Worley from Rocky Ford, CO and Craig Schroeder from Lincoln, NE, to conduct Regional Workshops for youth engagement at Otero Jr. College (La Junta, CO) on Oct 8th and at Lamar Community College (Lamar CO) on Oct. 9th.  The morning workshops will provide educational outreach to community leaders in southeast Colorado who are interested in OC’s newly launched youth engagement project.

Meanwhile, planning continues at a steady pace for OC Youth Engagement Day events in Clovis, NM (Nov. 4th), La Junta, CO (Nov. 17th), La Junta, CO (Nov. 18th), and Gonzales, TX (Nov. 23th).


OC Welcomes More New Interns


Picture1Lauren is a West Texas native from Lubbock, Texas. She is currently attending Texas Tech University and is a senior majoring in advertising, Lauren hopes to one day work for an advertising agency or coordinates political campaigns, and specifies that she wants to work in a fast-paced and challenging career. Lauren looks forward to learning more about photography, design to content, planning, as well as strategic corporate blogging and interviewing.  This is Lauren’s first internship through OC, and she will be working for the Local Llano Project (


Picture3Brian is a graduate student at Texas Tech University in Heritage Management. His ancestry is Metis/Cree Tribes and is passionate about exploring and learning about not only his own heritage, but the history of Plains Indian culture in general. He even makes his own traditional Plains Indian craftwork, including bows, arrows, tools, weapons, and beadwork. His past experiences have been working for the Lubbock Lake Landmark, and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY, where he gained experience in photography and writing condition reports on objects, as well as putting on educational programs for the public. Brian hopes to build a career in “education at heritage sites where (he) can help to shape more balanced, Native-centered interpretations of place and culture.”  Brian will be interning at the Comanchero Canyons Museum in Quitaque, TX.


AnaAna is a recent college graduate from Texas State University in San Marcos, TX and grew up in Austin, TX. Ana found her “passion for agriculture, holistic health and grassroots social and political change in San Marcos.” Ana loves to read, swim in the Texas springs, hike, and ride her bicycle, and aspires “to build a career empowering individuals and communities through dietary choices and lifestyle changes.” To help her achieve these goals, she will be internship with Gonzales County Health Services in Gonzales, TX with the hospital’s nutritionist to create a vegetable garden for the hospital.

Festivals Bring Elementary Kids Outdoors

Robert Martin instructs 5th Graders from Portales, NM.
Robert Martin instructs 5th Graders from Portales, NM.

When OC Playa and Water Festivals show up at area schools, students get the chance to move outside of their normal routine.

Robert Martin, OC New Mexico Coordinator, is leading a team of educators who are conducting a solid week of Playa Festivals, starting at Dora Schools in southeastern NM (Sept. 28th, then again for 180 Fifth Graders from Portales, NM (Sept. 29th), another Festival at Ascension Academy in Amarillo, TX (Sept. 30th), followed by the Hemphill County Water Festival in Canadian, TX (Oct. 1st), and finishing off with a Playa Festival at Farwell, TX Middle School (Oct. 2nd).  These Festivals will educate more than 400 students and teachers. (more)unnamedchildren at playa

In the rest of October, Robert and his team will conduct 3 additional Playa and River Festivals in NM, in order to complete project work outlined in 2015 “Share with Wildlife” Grant to OC from NM Department of Game and Fish.

To access the room block by phone use “Ogallala Commons Room Block” at:  (806) 803-5514

To reserve online use this link to book your group rate for Ogallala Commons

If you need help with your reservation call (806) 803-5500 for assistance.