YES! Quarterly
Spring 2012


The late innovator and entrepreneur, Steve Jobs, was once quoted as saying, "The people who built Silicon Valley [...] had a real belief that humans, if they worked hard with other creative, smart people, could solve most of humankind's problems," further elaborating by saying, "creativity is just connecting things." Connecting opportunity to challenges, ingenuity to obstacles, and people to one another continues be among the many great outcomes of the YES! program.


We are once again excited to highlight some of the recent news and accomplishments of YES!. Since our last newsletter in December, YES! has been busy connecting youth to hands-on opportunities at our Winter Workshops, making strides in energy action projects and gearing up for spring events.


Please enjoy some of the highlights below, and visit our website, for more news and updates.




The YES! Staff
YES! Winter Workshops Emphasize Creativity in YouthWinterWorkshops 


Students tour the Olmsted Waste-to-Energy facility in Rochester.

Creatively connecting things - either literally duct-taping them together or more figuratively connecting issues with opportunities - was the theme to the three YES! Winter Workshops that recently took place across Minnesota February 1st and February 8th. 


St John's University (Collegeville), Faith Lutheran Church (Hutchinson) and Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center (Rochester) all generously hosted the high-schoolers as they converged at these workshops. Students were encouraged to be creative and curious as they participated in activities that were tailored to their energy action projects.


Students tour the solar field at St. John's University.

This season, the energy action projects include a diverse collection of energy conservation and renewable energy ideas. Examples include constructing a 'green roof', installing an energy monitoring system, educating their peers about reducing energy consumption and, planting a school garden. With such a wide array of projects, teams in attendance were able to learn not only from the events' activities, but also from each other.  

Continue Reading 

YES! in ActionAction

ACGC Elementary Energy Education Event  
Anne Dysetter, YES! Coordinator
File photo from ACGC's 2010 Elementary Education Event.
YES! team member Jasmine Nieto, from Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, is busy sorting mini clothespins, dowels, pieces of rubber hose, tape, cardboard tubes and an assortment of other objects into bags. "I was inspired by the activity at the event," Jasmine said, referring to an Innovation and Entrepreneurship activity at the YES! Winter Workshop. "I had so much fun doing it!" In preparation for the ACGC YES! Team's annual education event at the district's elementary schools, Jasmine is preparing an activity for second graders that challenges them to work creatively in a "problem-solution" model. She'll have the young students work in small groups to use their kits to create new solutions to a challenge.


Other ACGC team-members are working on creative activities as well, including water quality (rain sticks bearing trivia), energy use (a mix-and-match number line), solar power, recycling and more. What's more - no fewer than eight other YES! teams are doing education activities this spring. Keep up the good work, educators!


News from the North

Mark Voigt, YES! Foley coach

The Foley YES! Team is planning an educational tour in northern Minnesota focusing on clean, alternative energy. The tour will include an ethanol plant, a hydro dam, a wind farm and a biomass plant. The team plans to videotape their adventure and produce an alternative-energy video to share with the school, community and other YES! teams.


After being inspired at the YES! Winter Workshop at St. John's University, the Foley YES! Team also suggested pursuing solar and wind options for their high school. They quickly started to take action and arrange a feasibility study with engineers to assess the best approach for capturing nature's bounty of wind and sun to fuel their buildings.


See more of the exciting projects other YES! teams are working on by clicking here.
Energy Business Highlight

Minnesota Renewable Energies
Q&A with Aaron Busse, Co-President

What is the key focus or mission of Minnesota Renewable Energies (MRE)?
Minnesota Renewable Energies' mission is to serve the renewable energy demands of our local consumers and communities through education, instruction, and installation. Through education in our sales presentation we are able to be sure that our customers are getting the best Renewable Energy System for their money. Furthermore, we strive to form a long term relationship with our customers through good communication and reliable service.

What do you foresee will be the impact of your business in the future of renewable energy?

MRE is impacting the renewable energy marketplace by putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers. By truly understanding the questions and concerns of our customers, we can deliver a system that meets their expectations. In the renewable energy marketplace there is always new technology and new ideas which make it so important for MRE to sort through all the information so our customers can make good decisions. As MRE builds a solid customer base, more and more consumers and communities will be excited to hear about renewable energy!


What are the benefits of programs like YES! to our region? Our future?

The YES! Program's main benefit to our region is helping young adults to see the opportunities to work in the industry and take advantage of educational opportunities at colleges in our region.  The YES! Program serves a critical role in sharing the great benefits of renewable energy to their participants, who, in turn pass along that great info to their friends and family as well.  The greatest benefit of the YES! Program to our future is opening the minds of many young adults who are sure to bring their own ideas and ambition to make improvements to renewable energy and many lives!

Upcoming Spring EventsSpring  


YES! Regional Awards will be presented at the following events:

  • Alexandria Eco Fair 
    Thursday, April 19th  
  • Prairie Woods ELC Earth Day Event
    Saturday, April 21st   
  • Northfield Spring Celebration 
    Saturday, April 28th   
Learn more about the activities, speakers, and exhibits at each of these events by visiting our events page.
Did You Know...
From left to right: John Munson, AgStar Sr. Vice President; David Krueger, AgStar Associate Vice President; Cheryl Glaeser, SWIF Program Officer; Becca Bell, SWIF Program Specialist, YES! Coordinator.

YES! was recently awarded a $10,000 sponsorship from AgStar. AgStar believes that youth are the future of agriculture and it's important to support the young minds of today to become the agriculture leaders of tomorrow.  AgStar has given more than $12,000 to YES! in the past two years to give students the opportunities to learn new skills and create a healthier environment for those around them. Find other programs AgStar supports here.  

The WWG YES! class display the 447lbs of lights they collected.  

This year YES! teams collected well over 2,450

pounds of holiday lights made it to the West Central Industries facility in Willmar to be properly recycled. Read more here to find out which teams outweighed the others and the creative ways they collected lights.

In This Issue
YES! Winter Workshops
YES! in Action
Energy Business Highlight
Upcoming YES! Events
Did You Know...
Quick Links

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YES! empowers youth to partner with their community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on learning and team-based projects.
YES! provides a unique opportunity for students to learn by engaging directly in community efforts that lead to dramatic demonstrations of renewable energy technology and conservation practices and exposes them to how science is applied in real life.

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