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June 2, 2020

Artist: Nikkolas Smith

Our hearts and minds are heavy with grief and anger from the multiple incidents of brutality and racism we have witnessed over the past several weeks. We must stand with our black youth, families, and staff in sadness, compassion, and anger for the repeated trauma and racism they have faced and continue to face in our country. It’s time for change.

These recent incidents continue to shine a spotlight on injustice and systemic racism and structures that hurt so many and wound our communities, time and time again. And then there are the very real harmful mental health impacts youth and adults face when these high-profile incidents of police brutality and white supremacy go viral. Yes, when they are caught on film they bring much-needed attention to the issues, but we recognize these are not isolated incidents. 

As an organization, our own color-blindness may have kept us from speaking up on issues of race but we believe it absolutely shapes our experiences and claiming to not see color can harm us and stop us from addressing the inequities we know exist. In alignment with our values, standing up for and with our young people, our inclusion statement, and the work we are doing as an organization to address and expand our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we want to publicly acknowledge the grief and trauma our black youth, families and, staff are experiencing. We care about youWe see you, and we want to extend our support and find out how we can better serve you. We must do better. Our youth deserve that from all of us.




Greg Zweber

President & CEO, Camp Fire National Headquarters

May 19, 2017

Camp Fire Heart of Iowa/Camp Hantesa Receive YLI Community Partner Award

A total of 42 students from 22 area high schools graduated in the 2017 Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) class. YLI introduces, develops and fosters leadership among high school sophomores and juniors in Greater Des Moines (DSM) through experiential mentoring and leadership opportunities that enhance self-esteem and encourage involvement in all levels of community life. YLI is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

The following people and organizations were awarded as part of the graduation of the Class of 2017:

YLI Community Partner Award: Camp Hantesa, Camp Fire
Mentor of the Year Award: Mallory Murphy, Norwalk High School
Impact Award: Greg Jackson, Wells Fargo
YLI Outstanding Youth Award: Caroline Fink, Dowling Catholic High School

The full 2017 YLI graduating class is as follows:
Antonio Angel, Van Meter High School
Jacob Barr, North Polk High School
Sean Boles, Van Meter High School
Marcus Chew, Valley High School
Peyton Chilton, Waukee High School
Breton Clark, Valley High School
Sophia David, Woodward-Granger High School
Josiah DeValois, North Polk High School
Arleth DeAvila, Lincoln High School
Natalie Elizalde, Ankeny Centennial High School
Caroline Fink, Dowling Catholic High School
Nolan Grimes, Dallas Center-Grimes High School
Kallie Hirl, Norwalk High School
Trinity Hopkey, Norwalk High School
Chase Johnston, East High School
Tyler Juffernbruch, Indianola High School
Omer Kantarevic, Johnston High School
Jason Koromo, Hoover High School
Joshua Lawless, Carlisle High School
Drake Leek, Norwalk High School
George Long, Dowling Catholic High School
Achol Makuet, Roosevelt High School
John Martin Jr., Hoover High School
Katie Michalski, Johnston High School
Jacob A. Mulcahy, Ankeny High School
Megan Nelson, Valley High School
Robert Nishimwe, North High School
Delefine Niyigena, North High School
Nate Ramirez, Carlisle High School
Katie Reeder, Johnston High School
Malerie Rike, Homeschool – West Des Moines Homeschool Ancillary Program
Jackson Rutto, Urbandale High School
Brooke Seller, Dallas Center-Grimes High School
Shantelia Shook, Lincoln High School
Timaris Shumpert, East High School
Chaimae Sibouih, Roosevelt High School
Varun Vepa, Urbandale High School
Claire Ward, Southeast Polk High School
Roan Wilhelm, Ankeny Centennial High School
Connor Willeford, Southeast Polk High School
Nicholas A. Worthington, Lincoln High School
Sankalp Yamsani, Waukee High School

Since its inception in 2001, 461 students have graduated from the program. For more information, visit

About the Youth Leadership Initiative
YLI began as a project of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s Community Leadership class of 2001 – 2002. It an initiative of The Greater Des Moines Partnership. Now in its 15th year, YLI’s mission is to help local youth see a community that is welcoming, nurturing and vital which provides ample opportunity for participation in meaningful community change, networking, and individual growth. Since its inception, 461students have successfully graduated from the program.

About the Greater Des Moines PartnershipThe Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce and more than 6,000 Regional Business Members, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes Des Moines as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at