After years of thought and several weeks of preparation, the first Serteen club in the Brainerd area has been formed.
Over two meetings -- an informational meeting March 30 and an organizational meeting a week ago -- the charter members of the area Serteen club, with the help of the Brainerd Noon Sertoma Club, laid the groundwork for their area chapter, and now are set to go.
Along with choosing a name -- the Northland Serteen Club -- the students attending the April 6 meeting elected officers for the upcoming year. President is Ashley Isackson, first vice president is Susie Carlson, second vice president is Katie Majka, sergeant at arms is Brandon Magnan, secretary is Erin Schellin and treasurer is Lukas Marks.
Serteen clubs focus on helping their members with different aspects of life, such as growing as individuals, learning about good government and leadership skills, and gaining understanding and tolerance of all people.
Like the Sertoma club, Serteens will focus on the community through volunteering, but the Serteens will also focus on the school by holding events like dances and fund raisers.
The Brainerd Noon Sertoma Club will help the Northland Serteens, but the Serteens will make all decisions for themselves.
"They'll be running it," said Milo Johnson, Sertoma president. "We won't be breathing down their necks."
Along with a liaison between the Serteens and the Sertoma clubs, the Serteens will choose two liaisons between their club and the high school.
Serteens was started internationally in 1971. Locally, Johnson said, there had been talk for years about forming a Serteen club. It wasn't until last summer, when several Serteen clubs attended an international Sertoma meeting, that members of the Brainerd Noon Sertoma Club decided to push for the youth chapter in Brainerd. One club from Colorado in particular got Brainerd Sertoma members thinking.
"They were doing just a terrific amount of things," Johnson said. "We saw them, and that's when we really got fired up."
All of the students in attendance at last week's meeting were juniors from Brainerd High School. Mary Marana, Sertoma member and Serteen liaison to Sertoma, said that works well for the club.
"We wanted to start in a high school environment because there is a maturity there," said Marana. She said eventually the Serteens would go to other high schools and junior high schools.
The benefits of the Serteens aren't just felt by the community; student members also can reap the rewards. Serteen clubs are eligible for four, $1,000 scholarships each year and Sertoma members will help with summer jobs for Serteens.
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