Mandan High School senior Kiana Haug has spent the past three summers working with children as a Triangle Y Camp counselor — a job she describes as “magical” and “most rewarding.”
Located along the banks of Lake Sakakawea near Garrison, the camp provides activities and services that are meant to contribute to the spiritual, social, mental and physical growth of children, as well as the young at heart.
“It’s a magical place. The kids can do all sorts of things — swimming, horseback riding, canoeing — and we just kind of guide them and let them be kids,” Haug said, noting children are her passion in life. “It’s probably one of the most rewarding jobs you could have.”
The 18-year-old Mandan native first attended the camp at the age of 7 and said it was always her dream to be a camp counselor, a role she assumes from the first week of June through mid-August.
“I have loved kids ever since I was a kid — like 4 years old. So I’ve always known that that’s kind of the way I want to go in life,” she said. “And I also love helping people, like being out in our community. And I love science and human anatomy, so it just kind of fits all perfectly together.”
Haug is described by teachers as hardworking, kind and a leader.
The value of hard work is “really important,” according to Haug, who says the work put in during high school, essentially, could result in a life endeavor.
“Hard work is a life skill you’re going to carry over and you’re not just going to lose it,” she said.
Haug is involved in Future Business Leaders of America, of which she is president, student council, girls swim and dive team, of which she is team captain, National Honor Society and Academic Olympics. She’s also the senior class president.
Through the FBLA, she recently initiated a recycling project at Mandan’s Starion Sports Complex. Every Monday, Haug and a handful of other students collect and sort aluminum cans from marked bins at the facility. The group exchanges the cans for cash at the local recycling center and donates the money to charities.
On more than one occasion, she’s helped serve food to individuals in need. Last month, Haug participated in the FBLA’s “Trick or Treat for Canned Goods,” in which nonperishable food items are collected door to door and donated to the local food pantry.
“There are a lot of people less fortunate than us, and I think it’s really good for us, as a community, to help them,” she said.
Haug, the daughter of Patrick and Renae, began swimming at the age of 8. She says she’s looking forward to being a Mandan Marlins Swim Club coach this year.
“I absolutely adore kids, and I think it’ll be really cool to watch them grow, mature, be better swimmers,” she said.
Within her school, the straight-A student tutors — mainly math and science — and mentors underclassmen through the Trust N’ Teens program.
In her spare time, Haug usually engages in outdoor activities, including snowmobiling, rollerblading, biking, hiking, swimming, Jetskiing or tubing on the lake.
“I’m a big outdoors girl,” she said.
Haug plans to attend college in Montana or Minnesota to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, microbiology or human physiology. Her goal is to become a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or doctor, specializing in pediatrics.