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Volunteers build playhouse for charity

Members of a leadership program through Ottertail Corporation properties, including BTD, pitch in to build a playhouse the DL?Boys and Girls Club will raffle off. (Pippi Mayfield/Tribune)

DETROIT LAKES - In a matter of just a few short hours, about 25 people chipped in and a playhouse was built for some lucky kid.

As part of a leadership program, members from Ottertail Corporation companies, including Detroit Lakes' BTD, came together Wednesday afternoon to develop their community service skills.

"Community service is one of the things we want them to work on," said Vice President of Human Resources for Ottertail Corporation Lori Talafous.

That afternoon, about 25 people gathered in Dynamic Homes to build a playhouse, which the Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes will raffle off as a fund-raiser.

"Thank goodness some of them actually know what they're doing," Talafous said, looking on as the group climbed, sawed and nailed on the miniature house. "Different people step up as leaders; these things bring it out."

When vice president James Vogt found out BTD would be the host of this leadership session and that he needed to come up with a project pronto, "I immediately thought of Pat."

Pat Petermann, Boys and Girls Club executive director, was on board for a project. He only needed about 30 minutes to come up with the perfect project, too.

"It came together quick and was a good idea and for a good cause," Vogt said.

Peterman worked from his end and got all materials -- except windows are still needed -- from area businesses. Donations came from Stenerson Lumber, Pro-Build (formerly UBC), DL Window and Door, Steel Wood, Dynamic Homes and Bob Bristlin and Son Construction.

After Thanksgiving, the Boys and Girls Club will sell raffles tickets for the playhouse, and continue to do so until the Big Bash in March. The house will be at various locations, including the Polar Plunge, to give people an idea of what they could win.

Money from the raffled off playhouse will go toward programs at the club.

Petermann said he got the idea from the Breckenridge Boys and Girls Club, which raise about $4,000 with their playhouse raffle.

Talafous said the experience building the playhouse was "one of the most satisfying" projects the group had worked on.

Each session of the leadership program, which includes representatives from all the Ottertail Corp. companies, they tour one of the properties and then worked on a community service project at that location.

This session it was BTD's turn.

The 22 participants in the leadership program came from throughout the nation, including Phoenix, Fargo, Kansas City, Idaho and more.

The first part of Wednesday, the participants spent the morning in Fargo in a classroom setting learning "how to leave a leadership legacy," she explained.

They listened to speakers and watched videos. The group also toured BTD and was planning a dinner at The Fireside after the playhouse project.

Although Petermann isn't certain of ticket prices, they will be set and available soon after Thanksgiving.