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Students learn about safety at annual camp
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Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Campers learn turn signals during bike safety at the 28th annual Steele County Safety Camp. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

207 students heading into fourth grade learned a variety of safety skills over two days during the 28th annual Steele County Kids Safety Camp.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

The 2022 Steele County Kids Safety Camp has record attendance this year which resulted in the addition of an extra team and two extra safety classes. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Children were also treated to visits by several impressive vehicles, including a Blooming Prairie ambulance, police vehicles and an Owatonna Fire Department truck.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Campers go through an obstacle course similar to firefighter training. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Thursday kicked off the camp with several stations at Lake Kohlmier and Kaplan’s Woods. The stations included fishing safety, boating safety, camping safety, firearm safety, first aid and — newly added this year — navigation safety.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

After firearm safety class, students were able to shoot rubber band guns. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Camper Rosalie Bartlet said her favorite activity of the day was fishing. Many of her fellow campers agreed, however, it was a close contender to learning how to kayak and shooting rubber band guns.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Campers learn about how to be safe around various animals. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Friday’s activities consisted of bike safety, fire safety, electrical safety, NetSmartz internet safety, equipment safety and, also new to the camp this year, animal safety.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

(Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

On Friday the campers were also able to explore a medical helicopter and talked to the pilots.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Finn Anderson (left) and Rosalie Bartlet said they had fun during safety camp and wish they could do it again next year. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Safety Camp 2022

“My favorite part was the helicopter,” Camper Finn Anderson said. “It was really cool to watch it land and take off.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Campers use fire hoses. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

Leila Kath, camp committee co-president, said traditionally the camp consists of five teams, but due to the fact there were so many children who signed up, they added an additional team and additional safety classes.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Campers watch as the medical helicopter takes off. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

“The kids have a lot of fun, and we had a lot of kids sign up which was really exciting,” Kath said. “They’re getting to that age where they’re getting more independent, which is great for them to know all about safety.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Students ask one of the helicopter pilots about flying and piloting. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

First time camp counselor, but longtime Owatonna school district employee Brandon Noble said one of the high school students he works with told him he would make a great counselor and urged him to volunteer.

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

Students learn about farming and being safe around equipment. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

“It’s been fun,” Noble said. “I think I’ve learned more than the kids have.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE emily.kahnke@apgsomn.com 

First aid training allowed the students to practice CPR on a dummy. (Emily Kahnke/southernminn.com)

The camp committee is always looking for volunteers. Kath urged anyone who is interested in getting involved to check out the Steele County Kids Safety Camp Facebook page or website.


Char Esch, owner of Central Park Coffee in downtown Owatonna, says the business is ready to have a new owner simply “turn the key” and keep the local coffee shop running. Esch and her family went public this week with their intent to sell the coffee shop, citing needing to turn their attention to the expansion of one of the other two family businesses they own. (Annie Harman/southernminn.com)


The return of Straight River Days brought crowds of people to the streets of Medford for the candy-filled parade in 2021. (File photo/southernminn.com)

The return of Straight River Days brought crowds of people to the streets of Medford for the candy-filled parade in 2021. (File photo/southernminn.com)

2021 Straight River Days


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