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Outdoors is their life

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There’s a Brainerd lakes area youth group that loves the outdoors, — whether that means chasing frogs and toads to archery — the group is happy when not confined indoors.

The group, the Hot Shot Club, has been busy and is part of a new community service project this year through the Crow Wing County 4-H shooting sports/wildlife group. The group took on the Adopt-A-River program and its responsible for cleaning up a mile along the Mississippi River starting at West College Drive at Kiwanis Park in Brainerd, going south down East River Road to the island.

Nancy Schroeder, 4-H shooting sports/wildlife leader, said the group will clean up litter and debris along the mile strip down and back twice a year, once in the spring and the second time in the fall. The group’s first clean-up was held April 28 and members picked up 75 pounds of garbage in one-and-a-half hours. There were eight volunteers, which included four youths.

“It was dirty,” said Sam Guida, 16, Nisswa, one of the club members who helped clean up. “There were a lot plastic bottles, pop cans, paint cans, Styrofoam, big chains, a lot of stuff.”

Schroeder said they also had to pick up a lot of rebar, some 20-feet in length. Schroeder said it was a dirty job and the youth had to go through heavy brush along the river, which included poison ivy. She said they also had to be careful so they didn’t fall in the river.

Schroeder’s 13-year-old son, David Schroeder, Pequot Lakes, who has been in 4-H since age 5, came up with the community service project. David researching on the Minnesota DNR website, trying to find a good project and saw information on the Adopt-A-River program.

“I wanted the group to do a good community service project and when I saw this program I thought it’d be a good idea,” said David. “I enjoy doing all the outdoor activities in the club and cleaning up along the river makes me feel good.”

When picking a site to clean up, they chose the area around Kiwanis Park, since Guida mentioned how dirty it was. Guida is in cross-country and often runs around the loop at the park and down the river.

Guida has been involved in 4-H since he was 8 because he wanted to shoot archery. Through the years, he got more interested in the outdoor activities.

“It’s fun,” he said.

Schroeder said the DNR oversees the Adopt-A-River program, and offered the group guidelines and tips on how to conduct the cleaning and what they would need.

Schroeder said there are about eight families involved in the Hot Shot Club and about 30 families involved in the 4-H shooting sports/wildlife project. Ages of the youth are between 6-18. Schroeder said activities the youths do in the club include archery, air rifle, shotgun, air pistol, black powder riffle and pistol and tomahawk throwing.

Guida’s little brother Ben, 8, also joined the club because he loves the outdoors as well.

“All these kids live outdoors,” said Schroeder. “We have a motto here and it is ‘No child left indoors.’”

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at