Now Hiring!

We are in search of a new part-time executive director to begin March 1. Our current executive director will be able to help orientate the new executive director and prepare for the upcoming summer program. Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in education, human services, business or related field and/or at least three years of experience in program coordination.  A commitment to healthy youth development, staff supervisory experience, non-profit management, and funding development are core skills; qualified candidates should possess a valid MN driver’s license and be able to pass a criminal/ human services background check.  Resume and cover letters can be submitted by Feb 5 to: swopforyouth@gmail.com or SWOP 8590 Enterprise Dr S Mt. Iron 55768.

New SWOP Resource for Teachers!

Even though the 2020 SWOP summer program was cancelled due to COVID-19, we’re still working to reach youth to teach them the important life skills that they practice with SWOP and to help them prepare for a future career. One way we’re doing that is through our new YouTube channel! Mason Kroll (SWOP 2017) has been helping to create a series of short videos that teach youth some of the basic life skills and introduce them to local careers through interviews with representatives of local careers. Additional ‘SWOP Jobs’ videos are still being developed. We will be sending info to local schools about how they can use these resources in their classrooms. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on new videos. Share them with youth you know!

Congratulations to winners of the 2020 Youth Community Service Awards!

Milo Kroll picked up litter and weeded in a community garden.

Since the 2020 SWOP summer program was cancelled due to COVID-19, SWOP encouraged youth to conduct their own community service project this summer and earn an award. There were two parts to earning the award. One part was to carry out a service project in their community and answer questions about their service. The second part was to think about a future career they might like to have, do a little research on that career, then answer some questions about what it takes to be successful at that career.

Below is a list of the award recipients, their community service projects, and the careers that they’re interested in. Each awardee received a $40 award. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2020 Youth Community Service Awards!

  • Livia Houdek, Eveleth – Baking and fundraising for a sick neighbor – Baker
  • Alden Knudson, Virginia – Litter cleanup & baking for police/fire departments – Carpenter
  • Chase Knudson, Virginia – Litter cleanup & baking for police/fire departments – Police Officer
  • Everett Knudson, Virginia – Litter cleanup & baking for police/fire departments -Electrician
  • Mason Kroll, Virginia – 3D printing mask ear-savers for elderly – Cellphone Tower Engineer
  • Milo Kroll, Virginia – Litter cleanup and community garden work – Wildlife Biologist
  • Carson Refsdal, Cook – Weekly litter cleanup – Defense Engineer

A brief history

SWOP is a town-based program on the Iron Range in Minnesota. It has been in existence since 1998. SWOP “hires” teams of 11 to 14 year olds for its six week summer program of teaching life skills through community work, community service, community guest speakers, and adult mentoring. Youth learn money management through receiving a weekly stipend.

SWOP maintains a high adult to youth ratio of about 5 youth to 1 adult. The program has been in existence in Mt. Iron and Buhl since 1998. Chisholm joined in 2007 and a fourth site was launched in the community of Virginia in 2012. In 2018, Mt. Iron and Buhl were combined into one site and a new site was added for Eveleth/Gilbert.

All SWOP youth help with the AEOA Senior Carnival

Life skills

The whole of SWOP is about life skill development. Every specific skill that is presented gets reinforced through the work and interactions of the day.  Guest speakers from the community may relate to the specific life skill being presented each week, or their topic may simply expand community awareness. Learning to introduce oneself to guest speakers, as well as listen to, and interact with them is itself a primary area of life skill development in SWOP.

SWOP youth help garden at the AEOA Youth Foyer community garden

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