Check Out Our Online Silent Auction!

For our fall fundraiser we’re having an online auction November 1-14. Check out our great items! Don’t be out-bid! Click HERE to visit our online auction!

Congratulations to winners of the 2020 Youth Community Service Awards!

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 do that career. Below are a list of the award recipients, their community service project, and a career of their interest. 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

New SWOP Resource for Teachers!

Even though the 2020 SWOP summer program was cancelled, we’re still working to reach youth to teach them the important life skills that SWOP is all about 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 short videos that teach youth some of the basic life skills we practice at SWOP and to introduce them to local careers. The ‘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 page for updates on new videos. Share them with youth you know!

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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