July 27, 2017
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
REEDSVILLE – Bob Brandt didn’t think that Reedsville had an adequate space for the community’s youth to hang out, so he took it into his own hands earlier this year.
Brandt, along with his son Jim, purchased the former Zion United Methodist Church building in town and is helping to turn it into a community center dubbed The Gathering Place.
Jim and Bob are both from the Wayside area. Jim owns Jim’s Golf Cars and Reedsville Buses Inc. Bob is retired and was one of the founders of the Wander Springs Golf Course.
“I was involved with kids my whole life,” Bob Brandt, who also drove school buses, said. “I just thought Reedsville maybe could use something like this … There’s actually nothing else in Reedsville for the young people. They’ve got the A&W, that’s about it.”
Bob Brandt enlisted the help of Tyler and Shannon Seehafer, who recently moved to the area. Tyler is the Director of Christian Education at Zion Lutheran Church in Wayside. Shannon will serve as Community Outreach Coordinator for The Gathering Place.
“You just have to find the right people,” Bob Brandt said. “Like Shannon.”
Shannon Seehafer is a mother, but says that the gathering place is adding value to her life and giving her a sense of purpose, even prior to its opening.
Three Reedsville High School students – Heather Haberland, Landon Kasper and Madalyn Schenian – joined to form a Student Board of Directors, after the suggestion of Reedsville Superintendent Tony Butturini. Tyler serves as the President of the Board.
The official grand opening is set for Sunday, September 10. The Gathering Place will have a mix of what types of events they are hosting, but the goal is to start with the three F’s: food, friends and fun. There will be movie nights, Packer parties, hang outs after Reedsville football games and also, programs including bible studies.
“They can come here and still have a great time and feel safe,” Shannon Seehafer said. “Give them a safe and fun environment to come to after homecoming or prom so they don’t feel the pressure to go to parties that things might be going on they don’t want to get involved with.”
Even with the idea being based on a youth center, the goal is to have different events for different age groups. The community will also be able to use the space for receptions, birthday parties or business meetings. Both the main level and the basement will have projection screens and be used. A kitchen will include a pizza oven, nacho machine and popcorn machine.
Fundraising for the nonprofit has come from individuals and businesses, including major contributions from Lorrigan Construction.
“A lot of people have stepped up in Reedsville,” Bob Brandt said. Donations have been anywhere from $10 to $5,000.
Ariens Company in Brillion is also granting a matching fund up to $10,000 over the next 12 months. Those interested in making a donation can contact Shannon at 920-443-9559.
This story was featured in the July 27, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.