'Youth Without Borders' Return

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, April 13 2012 at 4:14 PM, Updated: Fri, April 13 2012 at 4:27 PM

Some teens from Klamath County recently used shovels, cinder blocks, and cement to help build foreign relations... 

And they learned even more about themselves in the process.

Cayla Haskins is one of eight students from Lost River and Henley High Schools that spent their Spring vacation working in a remote village in the Dominican Republic...

"We were down there for a week, and we were building houses."

Cedrick Reed of Henley High School notes that the work wasn't easy...

"They had already dug the foundation, so we filled it with cement, and cinder blocks, and we dug the holes for septic tanks." 

Reed adds that cultural differences provided a new perspective...

"There's not many white people down there, so they were like, staring."

Eric Summers of Lost River High School adds that language was also an issue...

"I had a hard time with the language, but I always had Jenny or one of the other Spanish speakers close to me, so they could translate."

The trip also provided new appreciation for luxuries sometimes taken for granted.

"We got working bathrooms, that's something they didn't have there."  Noted Cayla Haskins, while Cedrick Reed adds  "Definitely value my vehicle, and all the items I have that I don't necessarily need."

Each student had to raise about $2600 to make the trip, but Cayla Haskins says it was worth it...

"Definitely.  I enjoyed it a lot, and I'd definitely do it again."

Goup advisor Doug Matheson led similar efforts to Thailand in 2007, and Brazil in 2009.

Students sold car wash packets and restaurant coupon books, and also got help from friends and relatives to raise money for the trip.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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