Known for their enthusiasm and willingness to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, the action team recently took a field trip to the Bagnell Dam Strip where they spent the afternoon sprucing up the area, just in time for the holidays.

Learning to give back to the community is more than just a discussion for a group of School of the Osage students who are not only giving back, but making a difference. They are learning outside the walls of the classroom to be better members of the community. They are not just talking about gratitude but putting it into action in their community.  

Known as the Bagnell Dam Action Team, it’s a group of 7th and 8th grade students who believe in getting involved. The group formed several years ago after working on a project with their social studies teacher. 

Known for their enthusiasm and willingness to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, the action team recently took a field trip to the Bagnell Dam Strip where they spent the afternoon sprucing up the area, just in time for the holidays. It was a way for them to express and celebrate their gratitude for their community. 

School of the Osage Social Studies teacher Misti Maples, advisor of the action team, said, “It’s the year of gratitude at our school. The Bagnell Dam Action Team wanted to give back to the business owners because they’ve donated DJs and given us donuts. They’ve allowed us to express ourselves, have plans and do these kinds of activities, so the team wanted to give back. It was their idea to come here to give back to them—to say, ‘Thanks for supporting us.’”

The team has helped make "Halloween on the Strip" better  by having students work on the games, events and decorations and last year helped with the 5k run and Pancake Fundraiser. They gave a presentation at Willmore Lodge of the ideas they had to better the Strip and discuss the Strip and Lake Ozark often during class. They organized the Teen Night last year and the recent Halloween event.

Maples said this is their community and they are proud to live here. 

As an educator, her job isn’t simply to teach geography, but to create situations where students learn beyond the subject matter. What better way to accomplish that than through projects that connect them to their community, she said. 

Katie Meisner, a seventh grade student, said it simply when asked why a group of teenagers are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to being a member of the action team.

“We want to make a difference in our community, “ she said. 

The students said the action team started off as something very small and then it grew into something that was bigger than just a couple of sixth grade Social Studies classes. What they do impacts their community and the people in it, and in their opinion that’s what counts. 

Seventh grade members of the action team are Zachary Alberson, Madison Brown, Alexis Harris, Kaitlyn Jones, Hanna Maschhoff, Katie Meisner, Jennifer Renz, Christian Smith and Marysa Stoecklin. 

Eighth grade members are Candace Viers, Avery Hugen, Liliana Hubkey, Tiarra Hedbrink, Arah English, Devin Burks, Alyssa Duncan and Kylee Burgun.