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Hormel Historic Home: Doors open to younger generations

It is common for a day at the Hormel Historic Home to be filled with greeting adults and hosting events for adults. But during the last few weeks, much of our focus has been on serving the younger generations.

We have hosted workshops and concerts for community youths, and the Autism Camps have been successful. Being a resource for young people is not a new phenomenon, however.

The Young Women's Christian Association's mission was to meet the needs of girls and women in Austin of various ages. The 1938 Progressive Austin publication reported that the Girl Scouts met regularly at 208 Water St.

"Their activities focused around four interests — Home, Health, Nature, and Citizenship."

In order to help the Girl Scouts continue to achieve their mission, George and Lillian Hormel enhanced the group's meeting space by making improvements to the Carriage House. Progressive Austin in 1941 described the 1939 renovation of the Carriage House as "a timely civic improvement, as the steadily increasing membership had been seriously handicapped through lack of suitable headquarters. The new building is a beautiful structure with a carefully planned interior."


That space now has become what we call the Carriage House Event Center. The Girl Scouts no longer meet there, but young people can gather to learn how to play distinctive percussion instruments, to discover the uniqueness of the Jaw Harp, to uncover treasures in an archaeological dig or to dance to the energetic sound of a kid-friendly band. We have hosted story times, Halloween parties, tea etiquette events, craft days and other fun activities.

Young people with autism spectrum disorder have been welcomed at the HHH to develop the necessary life skills they will need as they prepare for adulthood. They have fun while learning how to better communicate with their peers. They also learn how to communicate with adults in leadership positions and to more successfully transition to new situations.

It is very easy to go about our business at the HHH focused on serving the adults of our area. One day, the young people who now are participating in our youthful activities will be those adults. Hopefully, the experiences they have here now will leave a positive impression on them, and they will remember us fondly when they are older.

Looking ahead

Aug. 18, 2014, 6:30 p.m.:Free Peace Garden Concert featuring Speaking In Tongues. Led by percussionist Marc Anderson (an Austin native), the group of four will bring a unique cultural engagement to the community. The musicians play distinctly different instruments from their native countries and the sound combines for an amazing experience. Funding for this event is partially provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Aug. 19, 2014, 10 a.m.: FreeSocial Concerns presented by Bruce Loeschen. Hear about Bruce's experience with creating city montages and his process for developing the walking tour of Austin.

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