Learning To Toot Tourism Horn At September 13 SPUCC Meeting

August 23, 2016

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Learning to toot our own horn in the South Platte region is important to the South Platte United Chambers of Commerce, says Tim Anderson, president of the organization. At its quarterly meeting on September 13 in Red Cloud, tourist attraction operators and Nebraska tourism and game and parks officials will be on hand to talk about current happenings in the leisure and travel industry.

Jarrod McCartney of Red Cloud will welcome attendees with an update of what is going on in historic Red Cloud. He is the Heritage Tourism and Economic Development Director and a Red Cloud native.

The executive director of Prairie Loft in Hastings, Amy Sandeen, will give a presentation about events and activities there. The Loft is a former working farm and is now an eco-tourism cultural site.

There is a Pheasant Plan for the South Platte Region and Alicia Hardin from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will explain the plan. Hardin is an assistant division administrator in the Wildlife Division working with landowners and conservation groups.

Carol Schlegel, Nebraska Tourism Director for Red Willow County will talk about what is new at the Nebraska Tourism Commission and Karen Kollars, Nebraska Tourism Commission Agri-Tourism Consultant, will present information about agri-tourism and eco-tourism.

“This is a meeting not to be missed,” said Anderson. “Tourism can have a big impact on the economy of our region and it’s a valuable resource to be tapped. This program will be interesting and spark ideas and inspiration for others.”

The public, as well as South Platte United Chamber members, is invited to the program which starts at 6:30. A meal precedes the meeting which requires reservations.

The meeting will be held at the Red Cloud Opera House, 411 North Webster Street, on Tuesday, September 13. The business meeting starts at 4:00 pm, social hour at 5:00, seating for the meal at 5:45 and the program at 6:30.

Reservations for the meal  are due Tuesday 6, one week before the meeting. Meal reservation can be made at or 308-991-8657. A van ride departing from Holdrege can also be arranged at the same contact.

South Platte United Chambers of Commerce is committed to furthering the economic and social welfare of the state of Nebraska with focus on the South Platte region. Its initiatives are in Tourism, Community Development and Legislative Issues. For membership information,


Carol Schlegel, Tourism Director for McCook/Red Willow County, Nebraska Tourism Commission. Schlegel has served as President of the Nebraska Travel Association, on the Executive Committee of Nebraska Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, President of South Platte United Chambers of Commerce and a member of the Tourism Advisory Board. She is an alumna of McCook Community College and Kearney State College.  She makes her home in rural Hitchcock County, near Culbertson, NE, where her husband, Mike, operates the family farm raising row crops and Shorthorn/Angus cattle.

Jarrod McCartney is the Heritage Tourism and Economic Development Director in Red Cloud. McCartney is also a Ph.D. candidate in English and Rural Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He received his M.A. in American Studies at Kansas State University and his B.A. in English and Philosophy at Hastings College. Born and raised in Red Cloud, McCartney has family roots in Webster County that stretch back to the original homestead claim made by Mary Holcomb near Walnut Creek southwest of Inavale.

Karen Kollars, Nebraska Tourism Commission Agri-Tourism Consultant. Assists tourism entities and helps encourage rural residents to reach out to travelers wanting vacations that involve ranching or farming experiences. She is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management and has formerly served as a Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Main Street Director.  Kollars has over twenty years of experience working in the tourism industry. She is a board member for the North American Direct Farmers Market Association, a networking association for farm direct marketing and agri-tourism, and for the National Agritourism Professionals Association. Kollars is a native Nebraskan and has her office in Kearney.

 Amy Sandeen is Executive Director of Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Learning in Hastings, Nebraska. Amy’s professional background is in experiential education, inclusive programming, and nonprofit management. She serves on the Humanities Nebraska Council, co-chairs the Give Hastings Day committee, facilitates local Nonprofit Leaders Roundtables, and is an adjunct instructor at Hastings College. Amy is also a musician and photographer and loves sharing outdoor experiences with others.

 Alicia Hardin is a native Nebraskan that enjoys visiting all parts of the state and is fortunate enough to have a job serving the state as an Assistant Division Administrator in the Wildlife Division at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  She has been working for the Commission for 17 years in the Private Lands Section, and has been working with landowners and conservation groups across the state providing technical and financial assistance for wildlife conservation efforts.  She, her husband, and two boys enjoy, camping, hunting, hiking, baseball, and Scout activities.