YETI continues impact on community, school
According to teacher Mike Powers, who established the club back in 2001 and continues to coordinate the organization, the decision to collaborate with Kiwanis was an easy one.
“Collaboration is always good when two compassionate and hard working organizations join forces,” he said. “Both of our goals and mission are very similar: giving back to the community, especially focusing on youth of the community. In this case, community is the school, our town, our region, and our world.”
On average, YETI has approximately 120 members, each volunteering a minimum of 10 hours, per school year. In addition, students raise about $7,000-10,000 per year to donate to other charitable causes.
The YETI Key Club in 2014 included senior YETI Key Club officers: Coby Ryan, president; Tyler Kangas, vice president; Vanessa McNamara, secretary; and Leah Cook, treasurer.
According to Powers, highlights of the year included participation in an area TV station’s canathon. The students collected non-perishable food for people in need, while challenging the school in a canathon competition. The sixth grade brought in the most poundage of food, collecting 342 pounds. The 11th grade class came in second.
“The main winners were the area food pantries, with 1,008 pounds of food donated to be used locally,” said Powers.
The club also teamed up with the Manistique High School building trades class to build two ramps for physically challenged individuals in this area. While YETI Key Club paid for most of the materials, the trades class built the ramps.
Another highlight involved the YETI Key Club hosting Martin Lowenberg, a Holocaust survivor, to Manistique. Lowenberg spoke with students about the Holocaust and tolerance.
“His message really hits home, even in 2014,” said Powers. “This primary source of history relates the hatred of the Jewish people and the hatred that is still in today’s world. YETI Key Club sponsored Martin Lowenberg to travel to two other schools because this was such a powerful message.”
Powers added that plans are already in place to welcome Lowenberg back for a community presentation during the 2014-15 school year.
“Music in Manistique” is another YETI Key Club venture, continuing this summer. The students wrote grants and conducted fundraisers for the $7,000 needed to fund the 12th season of the series. The 2014 season will feature 11 concerts, held every Wednesday, beginning June 11 and concluding Aug. 20. All concerts are free to the public and take place at 7 p.m., rain or shine, in the Manistique Band Shell by Little Bear West Arena.
Another community endeavor tackled by YETI Key Club members was a bone marrow registration drive, held during the first home basketball game at Manistique High School. Almost 50 people were registered in this drive.
Powers explained that YETI Key Club also holds many activities for area youth, including a fun night for grades k-8 in January. A second youth activity, a free skate at Little Bear West Ice Arena, was held for grades 1-12.
During the homecoming football game, a tailgate featuring live music and food was hosted by the club.
YETI Key Club’s 5-on-5 CBC basketball tournament, with approximately 200 participants, raised $2,500 for the local CBC Fund Drive. The Yooper Hooper 3-on-3 tournament hosted 84 teams from across Michigan teams and raised $2,500 for YETI.
The YETI Key Club handled the kids’ games at CBC Sunday, raising $1,600 for CBC alongside Kiwanis.
In addition to their many other ventures, the YETI Key Club also collaborates with other Manistique organizations, including: an MHS English class to pay half the cost of producing Manistique High School’s school newspaper; the Manistique Recreation Board to provide labor, music and some financial assistance for the Little Jiggers Ice Fishing tournament on Central Park Pond and Winter Fest Skate at Little Bear Ice Arena; Project Petunia to sell and deliver flower baskets; and Limestone Federal Credit Union to provide a student credit union at Manistique Area Schools and learn and participate in important financial skills such as savings accounts, debit cards, and setting up savings goals.
Powers explained that the YETI Key Club has also made numerous donations, including: $300 to the MHS “Junk Yard Dawgs” robotics team; $250 for Schoolcraft County Humane Society, via a bake sale and matching funds from the club; and $400 from participation in Walk for Warmth.
“As the above activities suggests, YETI Key Club had a great 2013-14 school year,” said Powers. “Some plans are already being formulated for the 2014-15 year.”
For more information on the YETI Key Club, email Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org.