Tailgate Saturday night with the next generation

Peabody-Burns sophomore and junior class members will host a community tailgate party Saturday evening south of the high school parking lot following a volleyball tournament at PBHS. The community is invited to attend. Yes, you.

Although Ann Leppke is not a sponsor for either class, she is helping students with the event because they wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Listen to this:

“This group of kids is involved and they are good students,” Leppke said. “They want to make a difference. We are trying to figure out how to do that. I’m hoping to get some kids to connect with some community members they wouldn’t normally connect with. I would love to see students ‘adopt’ someone and make them a part of their life.”

The tailgate party started as a fundraiser for extra student activities such as prom. However, as the students talked about it and developed it, a broader strategy became part of the plan — why not invite the community and share the event? Why not make it something to be enjoyed by all ages?

Participants are asked to bring a lawn chair and a neighbor. The event starts at about 5 p.m., after the tournament is over. The students will have a fire pit and games like corn-hole, ladder toss, and light-up Frisbee for teams made of kids and community members. Not a game player? That’s OK. Cheer for a team or just sit and watch.

Everyone will be offered a hot dog or hamburger meal deal with chips, drink, and dessert from a dessert buffet provided by members of Peabody Proud. The students still need to earn money for prom so be prepared to make a donation for the meal. However, the project has moved from paying for a kid event to enjoying our kids at their event.

When Peabody Proud was host to a community meeting at the library in April, one of the goals was to find things that residents thought would improve the community. Making connections between generations in Peabody was mentioned often. As members of groups that promoted Peabody activities, history, and events have aged, it has been noted that there are few members of the younger generation willing to step up and take part in Peabody’s growth and success.

This group of students wants to know what the next step might be. They want to be here for their community until it is time to pursue higher goals. Many of them are not opposed to coming back and steering Peabody in a positive direction, but is likely that not all of them will take that step and return.

However, we would like to send them off to wherever they land with good direction, enthusiasm, and appreciation for any community in which they find themselves. Good memories of growing up in a great small town can go the distance in making good citizens who are involved and who care.

Come on out to the community tailgate party Saturday night and meet some young people that you just might be glad to say are part of this country’s future. Thanks to the kids and school staff who are putting this on and who want us to be part of things. Community support and participation would be a terrific addition.

—susan marshall

Last modified Aug. 25, 2016

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