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Waubun-Ogema-White Earth students have a lesson in respect

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The teenagers of Waubun, Ogema-White Earth School are learning about respect.

Earlier this month, Youth Frontiers out of the Twin Cities hosted a courage and respect retreat for the seventh through eleventh graders, with the help of the seniors, in Waubun.

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"It's not just a lecture on respect," Youth Frontiers staff member and musician Eric Malmberg said. "It's about self, others and to stand up for the value of respect."

Staff members that put on the retreats have storytelling, small group discussions, games and music to get the teens excited about the topic. At the end of the day, the leaders turn the microphone over to the students to let them share how respect has changed or benefited them.

Youth Frontiers, a 20-year-old company, teaches teens and teachers about three core values -- kindness, courage and respect. They host about 600 retreats every school year. Kindness is taught to the fourth and fifth graders, courage to the seventh graders, and respect to the ninth through eleventh graders. The group also hosts an honor retreat for school staff.

"Its to honor your teacher for all the work they do," Malmberg said. "It also gives them a chance to connect with each other as staff."

Youth Frontiers is not political or religious, Malmberg said, it's simply to teach others about the three cores of kindness, courage and respect.

Malmberg said Youth Frontiers has been to Waubun in the past and always enjoy their time in the area. He said they hear good feedback from the teachers and staff after the sessions.

"The community is really strong," he said. "It has a personality, and we're excited to be back."

High school Principal Helen Kennedy is happy to have them back as well.

"Our goal is to bring kids together to see how to learn to appreciate the similarities and respect the differences," she said. "To improve the school climate by focusing on respecting each other."

To find out more about Youth Frontiers, visit www.youthfrontiers.org.

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