On various days throughout the winter the gym at Otsego’s Kaleidoscope Charter School is hopping with a game that might be new to some, but is a “crowd favorite” with kids in all grades here.
Pin Guard – an activity that sort of mixes Capture the Flag with elements of Dodgeball – is a tradition, of sorts, at KCS.
Recently, student Bailey Vey decided to put this pastime to good use, using a Pin Guard tournament to raise money for the Patriot Assistance Dogs (PADs) group, an outfit based in Detroit Lakes that trains dogs to assist soldiers dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
Vey, a grade 10 student whose mother is legally blind, became familiar with Can-Du K9. So, initially, his idea was to raise funds for that group. But, he was redirected to PADs, and both students and staff were thrilled with the idea that they could help people who served the United States via the armed forces, and give back via the dogs who were assisting people struggling with the psychological effects of war and violence.
The turnout was “great!’ Vey said. More than 45 students donated to play throughout the afternoon, and more money was raised with concessions – including pizza and Gatorade – sold in the school commons area.
“I think the service work we do is something great for all the kids here,” Vey said. “It’s good we can give back.”
The Pin Guard game was just one of a handful of projects completed, recently, by students. Bri Bye and students with adviser Erin Militello conducted a “tie blanket” workshop back in January, and will be delivering a number of blankets on April 16 to the Children’s Hospital.
Also, Sandy Skon’s service learning group worked with CAER (Community Aid Elk River) on an Empty Bowls project, where students in grades seven through 10 worked with the rest of the student body to create pottery bowls. An Empty Bowls dinner, consisting of a “humble” soup via sponsors Noodles of Elk River and The River Inn of Hanover, was held on March 31.
“There are a lot of people around the area who are in need of a meal,” said student Johnny Tighe, who was one of the leaders of the project. “I think last year’s project raised more than $1,000, and we were hoping to do at least that this year.”
Some of the bowls are claimed by families who donate a bit extra to the project. Others are “smashed” for a small donation, which Tighe called one of the “best parts” of the fundraiser.
“All of the projects are a lesson for our kids beyond the classroom, and it’s something that really gets everyone involved throughout the school in one fashion or another,” said KCS Principal Chris Nordmann. “You look at something like Pin Guard, which gets our students so excited and they have so much fun with it. To be able to turn that into something where it can raise money for a good cause is very creative. And it builds a community within our school. So these projects can do a lot of good.”