Pammel Creek Estates youngest residents are KICKing into action

Children clean up trash from the entrance to Pammel Creek Estates manufactured home community.
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Children help clean up the north entrance at Pammel Creek Estates.

LA CROSSE, WIS. – One Member-owner of Pammel Creek Estates, a 56-home resident owned community in Wisconsin, used innovation to solve a problem in the cooperative.

Onsite Manager Peggy Claflin noticed she was spending her summer days nagging a dozen or so children in the community – “Please don’t climb on that!” or “Can you make sure to pick up after yourself?”

Claflin decided that things needed to change. Instead of reminding the children of community rules time and time again, she decided to redirect their energy into something good for the community – all while building new relationships with the children along the way.

Together with the help of two other community residents, Claflin developed Kids In Community doing Kindness (KICK) using some of the co-op’s Better Together Grant funding.

Beginning on August 1st, Claflin, Amber Zwierzcky and Geri Bjergum hosted the first KICK day at Pammel Creek. Twelve kids, ages 5 to 14, arrived to clean the north side of the neighborhood. With brooms, dust pans and trash bags in hand, the kids picked up sticks, leaves and some garbage over the course of two hours.

The result: a beautiful and a clean entry road into the ROC. The kids were proud of their work, and the residents appreciated their efforts. After the clean-up, the kids manned a bake sale to raise money for their next activity – a car wash in September.

“There were a couple of kids I was having trouble with. I could see the trouble turning into something else. I wanted to redirect the energy into something good,” Claflin said. And that she did. The first KICK day was a success, raising more than $59 in less than an hour from the bake sale.

She anticipates more excitement around the next event in the hopes the kids raise enough to buy T-shirts to sport their newly formed club.

Pammel Creek Estates became resident owned in December of 2016. They receive technical assistance from Northcountry Cooperative Foundation (NCF).