The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 26, 2013

Vikings deal a win-win for city, team

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs up to the city of Mankato and the Vikings agreeing to a three-year contract that will keep the team coming to Mankato for its summer training camp.

The deal, announced just before the start of this year's camp, is especially satisfying because it guarantees the team and city will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the camp being here in 2015.

Over the years there have been been a few occasions when area fans and city leaders worried the team could be lured to another city for camp or that the Vikings could move camp to their new stadium when it is finished in a few years. But the team and city and Vikings officials recently reiterated that their long-term plans are to continue coming to Mankato.

Holding camp in Mankato has been mutually beneficial. The team gets all their needs met with high-quality facilities and a professional MSU staff and the city's businesses and fans benefit.

MoonDogs fitness program a real hit

Thumbs up to the Mankato MoonDogs baseball team and Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union for support and management of a summer fitness program for area youth.

The program has the college baseball players running a fitness camp for about 450 youth in the Mankato area. About 20 MoonDog players have been advising the kids ages kindergarten through 7th grade on healthy eating and outdoor fitness activities.

The program has a set curriculum through the ACES child care program through Mankato Area Public Schools Community Education and Recreation Department.

The players serve as mentors and help reinforce the idea of making health choices early in life. The program is a win-win for the players, the kids and their parents. Players get an opportunity and feel for service work while they are in college and kids have a fun activity that promotes good health.

Kudos to the MoonDogs for participating and Minnesota Valley for supporting the effort.

United Way program makes volunteering easy

Thumbs up to the new United Way website that connects volunteers with groups that need them.

It's an new and efficient way to match groups needing volunteers with people interested in particular volunteer opportunities. For both volunteers and nonprofits, it's as easy as going to a website, registering and listing your volunteer needs or interests.

It should also help groups looking for volunteers save the time it takes getting in touch and coordinating volunteers. Because many of these groups don't have a lot of staffing, being able to connect with volunteers on a website should help them all be more efficient in their recruiting efforts.

Companies looking to get their employees involved in volunteering opportunities will be able to use the site as well. College students often need to volunteer as part of a class and this site also should be a real boon to that effort.

The United Way's small investment in this site will pay large dividends for groups and volunteers. It can be found at

Rasmussen shines with Community Service Day

Thumbs up to Rasmussen College students, faculty and staff for participating in their annual Community Service Day.

This year the participants helped set up and organize Blue Earth County's Relay for Life cancer awareness and fundraiser campaign. In years past, the college group has helped at the MRCI thrift store and has also cleaned up trash along area highways.

About 500 employees from eight Rasmussen campuses participated in the Community Service Day. They volunteered about 1,600 hours in all. Like many groups in the Mankato area, Rasmussen promotes the importance of volunteerism with their actions.