Over the last 50 years, a dream went from being an idea to a reality. The Leadership Center was proudly built to serve the Nebraska FFA Association as a place for them to host their leadership camps. There was one building know as “Old White”, a condemned pool and lots of land to be cleaned. The first camps took place with campers staying in old army tents, food was trucked in, meetings and training happened in “Old White” and the attendees rode the bus to the city pool where they swam and showered. Nights were cold and often filled with rain. Days were fun filled with hard work, leadership lessons and making memories.

Maile and Micheala

If you fast forward over the last 50 years, you’ll see we added buildings, lodge rooms, dug a new pool (that is now enclosed and kept at 86 degrees all year round) and we have a full service kitchen. Not only that, but we serve more than the FFA. We serve over 50,000 guests from every county in the state of Nebraska, each state in the country and to date, 20+ countries each year. We serve meals, host meetings, family reunions, youth leadership conferences including the Nebraska FFA’s COLT (Chapter Officer Leadership Training) and  The Leadership Center’s very own leadership conference, D4LC: Explore. We also do weddings, receptions, swim parties, and nearly every event you can think of. We have fostered a number of educational partnerships including hosting camps with the Edgerton Explorit Science Center, raising a native Nebraska prairie on our property with the Prairie Plains Resource Institute, and opening our pool for special ed swimming to the schools in Hamilton County. We are the proud home of the Autumn Art Workshop, the Art Run Away and Camp Summergold, too.

We have a full service kitchen, 60 lodge rooms, over 13,000 square feet of meeting space and 43.5 acres of land. We employ around 25 people varying from full time, part-time, and internships ranging in ages from 16 to well over 60 year of age. The Leadership Center works with several volunteer programs. These programs specialize in providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to build life skills in a work environment.

Throughout all of this, we have remained a private 501(3)(c) non-profit organization owned an operated by the Nebraska Vocational Agricultural Foundation. We do not receive any special funding from the government or sponsor organization. We are funded through the business we do and through the generosity of so many who donate and volunteer. Truly, it’s that spirit we were built on. Three incredible agricultural educators mortgaged their home to buy the original 27 acres that started turning a dream into a reality. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it.

During Go Big Give, our goal is to raise $50,000.00. It’s a HUGE goal and we fully realize it. But like the founders who took such a risk so many years ago, we know having big dreams can pay off. The funds we raise will go towards the following:

  • $4, 789.53 for Seeman Hall Roof: Paschke Brother’s Construction kindly donated the materials to replace the roof on Seeman hall. We have to cover the labor. They replaced the shingles which had been damaged and curled with a metal roof. It’s wonderful and was much needed.
  • $6,627.00 for Blezek Hall Lights: The lights in the what is often referred to as the gym were outdated, expensive and hard to find

    NVAF board members Shane Hennessy and Amanda Hackenkamp

    replacements. Nunnenkamp Electric replaced them with efficient LED lights.

  • $8995.72 for Pool Lights: Much like the gym, the pool lights needed to be replaced with which lights were more efficient and put off more light, providing increased safety.
  • $9,000 for Tree Line: We have had to start replacing trees on our windbreak along our property line. Many of the trees are dead or over grown. After much research and work, nearly 400 feet of treeline has been removed, cleaned up and replaced with Blue Spruce, Chanticleer Pear trees and Red Dogwood. We have received a donation of $1000 toward the $10,000.00 cost from the Lancaster Farm Bureau.
  • $2091.00 for Internet Update: While we have done quite a bit to improve our internet service to our guests, technology is always changing. We have experienced some internet issues as our guests needs grow. We would like to make the necessary updates to help prevent this.
  • $4,000.00 for Recreation, Sound Equipment and Meeting Room Enhancements: As our guests numbers grow and we continue to develop programs, adding to or replacing recreation equipment such as paddle boats, picnic tables, ping pong tables and such are needed. We would also like to replace our dated sound equipment and add more projectors, screens, and such for guests to use.
  • $15,000.00 for Outdoor Meeting Space: As our business has grown, we have received many requests to develop an outside meeting space for receptions, BBQ’s, family get togethers, etc. We are hoping to do just that on the north side of our building. The space would have a fence, fire pit, food service area, lighting and cement area for dances, etc. We haven’t settled on a name yet, so naming rights are available.

As you can see, the funds you donate during Go Big Give on May 3rd will go to great use and allow us to continue the legacy we were built on. We invite you to join us on May 3rd from the comfort of your lap top or here at The Leadership Center campus to donate. For more information, visit www.GoBigGive.org.

Thank you for your consideration, and do not hesitate to call us at 402-694-3934 to ask questions.

Have the best day.

Maile Ilac Boeder, IOM

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