Miami to Minnesota: Connecting Youth to Healthy Lifestyles

Ace at ShingobeeIt’s not unusual to see Minnesotans heading south to spend their winters in the tropical heat of southern Florida, but it is unique to welcome someone from Miami to the Chippewa National Forest for the winter. We quickly realized, though, Ace Soto comes to the northwoods with enthusiasm to learn about the Forest and to share that energy with area youth to get kids moving and outside!

After serving six years with the U.S. Marine Corps as a field radio operator, Soto is completing a degree in Sports Administration with a minor in Advertising at the University of Miami. His job with the U.S. Forest Service is sponsored through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Ace will work with the administration group on the Forest, but his focus on youth and sports make him a natural tie-in with our education programs. He will be working with the Leech Lake Area Boys and Girls club, leading weekly programs and activities. He will teach everything from wildlife tracks to LaCrosse and will assist with school programs, National Public Lands Day and National Bat Week events.

“This is a beautiful state, with a unique dynamic of sharing boundaries with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.” said Soto. If we get snow early enough, Ace is sure to lead a snowshoe hike with the kids, but we aren’t sure if we will be able to talk him venturing out on to the lake ice. He’ll stick to the Miami surf for water activities.



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