Photo provided // Conner Prairie has welcomed this year's class of new Conner Prairie youth volunteers, the biggest class ever.
Photo provided // Conner Prairie has welcomed this year's class of new Conner Prairie youth volunteers, the biggest class ever.
FISHERS – Thirty-four students have been selected to be new youth volunteers at Conner Prairie for the 2018 season, raising the total number of youth in the program to the largest group the museum has ever assembled.

Since October, 105 youth ages 10 through 18 applied – 57 were interviewed and 34 were selected for the program, which will have a total of 118 youth this year, according to a press release.

“While it’s heartbreaking to pick between them, it’s heartening to know there are so many young people excited about history, science and helping others,” said Sarah Morin-Wilson, youth experience manager at Conner Prairie. “The majority of this year’s group consists of girls and more than a third of them are homeschooled. They are actors, Girl Scouts, 4-H members, equestrians, artists, student council members, cosplay enthusiasts, writers and more.”

All youth volunteers at Conner Prairie are required to volunteer for one full year and a minimum of 120 hours. They play historical games with visitors and lead hands-on activities in modern-day clothing as third-person interpreters or portray fictional characters from the 1800s as first-person interpreters in historical costumes. They also volunteer to help care for the museum’s heritage animal breeds, at special events and behind the scenes.

The new selections underwent initial training on Feb. 17. They toured Conner Prairie’s grounds, played team-building games and created “Horrible Park,” an imaginary theme park that offers the worst customer service in the world so they could begin learning guest services skills.

“This is an attentive and creative group,” Morin-Wilson said. “We invited several older returning youth to assist with training and they were great mentors. Before we open March 27, new youth will go through one more all-day training session, which will include instruction on working in costume and interacting with visitors.”

The following are this year’s new youth volunteers at Conner Prairie:

ALLISONVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: ?Simon Lybolt-Wagner, grade 4
BLOOMINGTON NORTH HIGH SCHOOL?: Maggie Cashman, grade 11
CLAY MIDDLE SCHOOL?: Audrey Scull, grade 6
CARMEL HIGH SCHOOL?: Jamie Emerson, grade 12
CARMEL MIDDLE SCHOOL?: Victoria Simich, grade 8?Lillian Zaharako, grade 6
HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN INTERMEDIATE-JR. HIGH SCHOOL?: Revah Murugesan, grade 5
HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN HIGH SCHOOL?Meredith McKenzie and Nishant Murugesan, grade 9
INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL NO. 50: ?Noa Kaufman-Nichols, grade 5
INDIANA CONNECTIONS ACADEMY?Humza Akhtar, grade 7
NOBLESVILLE EAST MIDDLE SCHOOL: ?Megan Broviak and Addison McMillan, grade 6
NOBLESVILLE WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL: ?Michael Cherba, grade 8
OAK TRACE ELEMENTARY: ?Hailey Lamb, grade 4
RIVERSIDE INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL: ?Luke Gabbard and Sophie Huffman, grade 6?Avery Pennington, grade 7
SAND CREEK INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL: ?Anneliese Jones, grade 6?Ella Robertson, grade 5
WESTERN MIDDLE SCHOOL, RUSSIAVILLE: ?Andrew Ryan, grade 7
WESTFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL: ?Gabriel Minichiello, grade 8
HOMESCHOOLERS: ?Addison Buckley, grade 5; MacKenzie Byrd, grade 6; Lilly Carson, grade 6; Daniel Johnson, grade 8; Delaney Jones, grade 7; Rachel Kemerer, grade 6; Jennifer Lucia, grade 6; Amelia MacKinnon, grade 4; Zayd Ouldnouri, grade 5; Katelyn Seiple, grade 10; Anna Weaver, grade 6 and Thomas Whitten, grade 5

Spanning more than 1,000 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes nearly 430,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.