Scavenger hunt to raise money for Kosovo exchange

There will be a citywide scavenger hunt fundraiser on Saturday to support the exchange program with Fort Dodge’s sister city of Gjakova in Kosovo in southeastern Europe.

“The exchange program is a sister city partnership with Gjakova, Kosovo,” said Jolene Hays, a guidance counselor at Fort Dodge Senior High School. “And we have been going since 2016. We took a couple years off for COVID, but otherwise we’ve gone every year to a camp called Toka. And then we visit and stay with our sister city.”

“We are usually over there in Kosovo for about two weeks and four students typically go,” she added. “It’s a pretty active partnership.”

When speaking with Hays about the details of the fundraiser, she said, “It’s going to be a scavenger hunt around Fort Dodge. We’re going to start in the high school parking lot. That’s where you will get your first clue. When you figure out that one, you will get your next clue. There will be some sort of activity or challenge that you have to do in order to get your next clue. It’ll be fun for all ages.”

“Someone does have to drive and have a valid driver’s license,” she said. “We’re thinking teams of four would probably be good.”

The cost to participate will be $10 per person. The event will start at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“It will start in the east student parking lot and will end in a different location, I can’t tell you where exactly of course,” Hays said. “Prizes for the fastest teams will be given out.”

Hays said all the money raised during the event will go to the exchange program, which is run entirely by volunteers. She described the exchange program as “a really great cultural experience for the students that go.”

“We fundraise 100 percent of this, so we don’t have to leave anyone out,” she said. “Anyone could apply to go.”

Fort Dodge and Gjakova became sister cities in December 2016. It is a relationship that evolved from Iowa’s connection to Kosovo, which started with Iowa Army National Guard troops being sent there as peacekeepers in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008 as the country separated from Serbia.

The Iowa-Kosovo connection grew beyond security matters. In 2013, Iowa and Kosovo became sister states.


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