Fifth-grader spearheads a proposal for community event

Fifth-grader spearheads a proposal for community event

by Anna Ferraro

If you would have chatted with Cooper Pahlmann of Chapin, Illinois, earlier this past summer, his passions would have sounded a lot like other fifth-grade boys – he loves drawing, trampolines, Minecraft, Nerf wars and hanging out with his older brother. But this summer, one quiet evening on his family’s patio, Pahlmann experienced what he describes as, “Probably the most exciting thing this year.” Moreover, it all began with an original idea.

Pahlmann shares, “I was out on the patio with Mom and Dad, and we were talking about the Chapin Big Country Days. I said, ‘What if we started a fall festival?’”

In describing what happened next, Pahlmann matter-of-factly stated, “Mom went and got a notebook and pencil – and wrote all my ideas down.” And with that, right on the Pahlmanns’ patio, the idea began to take shape.

Together with his parents, Pahlmann began to flesh out what the festivities for his fall festival would look like. Aiming to kick it off in fall 2017, he hopes to include a light parade, a chili cook-off, kids’ games, tractor races, art contests, possibly a prince/princess contest, prizes for participants and a raffle. Sound impressive for a fifthgrader to pull off? That’s an understatement.

Once he had written the idea into a proposal, it was time to take the proposal somewhere. The Village of Chapin board meeting was his first destination. While his dad helped reserve a slot for him to speak, Pahlmann assembled an information packet for his listeners, rehearsed his speech and tried not to get to nervous. Turns out, he had nothing to worry about.

Taking the podium like a pro, Pahlmann wowed his audience with his precocity. In the end, he admitted to having enjoyed the experience, saying, “It felt amazing to talk with so many people.”

The board received Pahlmann’s proposal with resounding enthusiasm, telling him that the next step was to procure partners within the community. With that, Pahlmann was off to his next destination – the Lion’s Club dinner meeting.

With a shrewd business mind, Pahlmann said, “I wanted to present before the dinner so they could talk about my proposal during their meeting and dinner.” And so he did, on October 3. Once again, his idea was met with resounding enthusiasm, and hopeful promises for support.

Afterwards, a member of the Chapin board called and expressed interest in providing further support for the project, offering to set up a Facebook page and expressing that they “wanted Cooper to join the committee to help bring the festival to reality.”

Next on the agenda is to present the proposal to the American Legion meeting in Chapin in November and consult with several events coordinators to get some ideas on how to smoothly bring the logistics of such an event together.

With that, it looks like Pahlmann’s got his work cut out for him in the next year. The idea that began in his fun-loving but highly motivated mind won’t come to fruition without his due diligence. Thus, in addition to completing his fifth grade homework, he’ll have to continue presenting proposals and discussing plans with boards and committees. Not a problem, though. Perhaps once he’s finished with his festival, he’ll enter the political arena. Is a nomination of a Chapin boy for president in store?

Before he considers the White House, though, Pahlmann’s going after this project with all he’s got, saying in an admirable stroke of local patriotism, “I want to do the festival because I want to have an opportunity to celebrate our town.” Proud to be from Chapin, he states, “I want the town to shows its pride, too.” In closing, he hopes that the fall festival will be a great opportunity for families in the community to have fun and build memories together.

Stay tuned for more news on Chapin’s fall festival 2017…

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