Mayor Mike Creighton


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The Kelsey Creek Kickers program allows teens the opportunity to work around the City of Bellevue’s Kelsey Creek Farm. The farm houses large and small animals while being located in the middle of an urban setting. The program primarily attracts teen-aged girls, who often do not have many opportunities for after-school programs or activities. Ages range from 12 to 19 years. Monday through Friday, teens come to the farm and learn animal husbandry (cleaning, grooming and feeding) while answering questions from the general public. The Kickers program requires teens to accept a high level of responsibility for their own personal safety while simultaneously caretaking for animals.

2. When was the program created and why?

The Kelsey Creek Kickers program teaches young adult how to overcome challenges while building foundations that enable them to be better members of the community. The Kickers program provides volunteers with positive ways to learn job responsibilities and life long learning skills, such as communication, cooperation, leadership, conflict solving and self confidence. These resiliency skills are invaluable to teens, especially in handling violence and safety issues in their homes and at school. By understanding and learning positive solutions to problems rather using negative actions to solve crisis, teen can move away from violence and resolve conflicts in a constructive manner.

3. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?

The Kickers program effectiveness is measured by participant levels and the number of work assignments and activities accomplished within the school year. The Kickers supports pony riding classes, (serving about 200 children), farm maintenance projects and attend classes taught at Washington State University. The program tour veterinary schools and facilities that promote the need for higher education. Kickers also volunteer time outside the farm program by organizing work parties to help with large projects as barn painting and trail maintenance. Participants, parents and the community are surveyed annually on the effectiveness of the program.

4. How is the program financed?

Kelsey Creek Kickers program is supported by the City of Bellevue, Parks & Community Services Department. Kickers also raise funds through crafts sales, pony rides and soliciting work for donations.

5. How is the community involved in the program?

Adults offer their experience and training as mentors. Professionals, from the veterinary and livestock training, teach the program regularly and share their expertise with the teens. The teens interact daily with the public that visit Kelsey Creek Farm. Participants develop speaking skills and communication techniques needed to communicate with all members of the community; from children attending farm classes to senior citizens out for a daily walk.

6. What are the major lessons learned from the program?

  • The program offers an unusual alternative for urban youth versus typical "hang outs" in public places.
  • The program requires time and dedication due the teens involved and use of the farm and animals.
  • High levels of commitment are required of the teens and their parents as relationships begin to form and livestock are involved.
  • Teens can be offered a unique experience, working on a farm in an urban setting. These activities expose them to new interactions that would not be experienced at traditional after-school programs.
  • The Kickers program is highly attractive to teen age girls. Their need to receive and give affection is focused on the care giving of farm animals, rather than the need of physical attention from teen age boys.
  • The Kicker program participants are exposed to new career choices and responsibilities which add to their level of positive life choices.
  • The program does not have to be limited to a farm setting, several different levels and types of animal programs can be established in an urban setting.

7. Contact person:

Lee Springgate, Director

City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services Programs

P.O. Box 90012

Bellevue, Washington 98009-0012, (425) 452-6881

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The United States Conference of Mayors

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