The group of the 4-H Tech Changemakers who help the Langlade County Historical Society to create a YouTube Channel.

YouTube Channel Connects Generations, County’s History and Future

A project supported by the Langlade County Economic Development Corporation is connecting past with the present, teens with adults, and, ultimately, employees with employers.

On Thursday, the LCEDC joined with the Langlade County Historical Society and the 4-H Tech Changemakers to launch a YouTube channel devoted to sharing the things that make our “County of Trails” vibrant. The event, held in the spacious Welcome Center located in the Carnegie library museum complex, drew a mix of enthusiastic supporters.

“We are very happy to be a part of this,” Angie Close, LCEDC executive director, said. “This is all about sharing where we were and where we are, to help us know where we are going. It’s a key component in marketing our area.”

Angie Close, LCEDC Director, presented components of marketing Langlade County.

In her remarks Close focused on the need for high-speed Internet, noting that broadband infrastructure is an essential catalyst to drive community, public safety, education, health, and economic goals.

“To date, our office has helped attain over $1.2 million in broadband grants with a total investment of $2.4 million and has connected over 1,300 households and businesses so far,” she said. “This year we applied for an additional $1.7 million that, if awarded, with help connect over 510 residents and 13 additional businesses.”

The teen techmakers took the lead in the launch event, sharing how the group has developed over the past three years, with projects ranging from placing Apple Echo Show 5 devices with senior citizens to connect them with their families, especially during the isolation caused by the COVID pandemic, to working one-on-one with those facing challenges from using technology and, now, the YouTube launch.

“The goal is to keep in touch,” Laura Rydberg, a tech changemaker, stressed.

The Historical Society, which has been a repository for the community’s stories for nearly a century, was a natural partner.

“Society President Joe Hermolin was very kind in offering to partner with us and help us get out in the community,” Rydberg said.

“The museum has always tried to keep up with the times, through our website and Facebook page and now, this project,” Hermolin said, stressing that a community’s history is key to its future. “Knowing what works, and what doesn’t is key to knowing how to move forward.”

Joe Hermolin, Langlade County Historical Society President, talking on how a community’s history is key to its future.

Tech Changemaker Isa Prado, an exchange student from Brazil, brought the message home in a very personal way.

“When I first looked up Antigo on the computer to show my family where I would be going, I could find very little information,” she said. “That made me sad. Now, this YouTube channel will increase exposure to the county and share these good stories.”

Tech Changemaker Isa Prado, an exchange student from Brazil, launched the YouTube channel.

Tech Changemaker Coordinator Tonya McKenna Trabant said the partnership is a win-win for all involved.

“The students are sharing their knowledge about technology and they are learning from their partners,” she said. “They are learning how to take an idea from planning to fruition. They are contributing to our community and helping to build all the infrastructure for the future.”

Several YouTube videos have already been posted to the channel. And the changemakers got right to work after the party, videoing guests sharing quick bites, 10 to 30 seconds, about their favorite things in our “County of Trails.”

To visit the Langlade County Historical Society YouTube Channel, click here.

Recoding locals on their favorite things in our “County of Trails.”

4-H Tech Changemakers is a nationwide program focused on technology and employability growth in rural America. It has been active locally since 2019.

Close said collaboration such as that on display Thursday evening is key to the future. There are more choices of where to work than ever before and workforce shortages are a real challenge.

“Aligning partners is key,” she stressed. “Collaborating with our school districts, higher education partners, employers, Workforce Development, Economic Development, and students help us design strategies that ensure individuals have the education, skills, and training needed to obtain employment. That is the goal of LCEDE.”