2010-08-19 / News

Stomping Grounds to be featured in documentary

Film crews will be in Staples August 28
By Dawn Timbs
Staples World reporter

Emergence Pictures, St. Paul, will be in Staples Saturday, Aug. 28, filming a portion of a documentary about Youth Social Entrepreneurship.

The Stomping Grounds coffee house, Staples, is one of three or four groups that will be highlighted in this documentary as examples of what can be done by teenagers.

Dawn Mikkelson, an award-winning media producer and documentary filmmaker, is the founder of Emergence Pictures.

She’s heard a lot about the Stomping Grounds, Mikkelson said, and is interested in learning more about how the coffee shop was started by teenagers and how it’s been maintained all of these years.

“Teens can do a lot, they are capable of a lot, if they are given the opportunity,” Mikkelson said by phone recently. “That’s the focus of this film.”

Mikkelson and her crew plan to be at the Stomping Grounds throughout the morning Aug. 28; and will be sticking around for the Railroad Days Parade that evening.

“We’ll be interviewing people during those times; and we encourage people to stop by the Stomping Grounds and talk with us,” Mikkelson said.

Stacy (Berg) Grossman is on the Board of Directors for the Stomping Grounds. A 2003 Staples Motley High School graduate, Grossman was one of the teenagers who was instrumental in starting up the Stomping Grounds nearly a decade ago.

“It’s very exciting to see how the coffee shop has evolved over the years. It’s still very much youthoriented, but there are so many other groups that utilize it as well,” Grossman said.

In 2000, there were about 10 high school students

chosen by their teachers to be a part of Youth As Resources (YAR), a program that encourages youth to work with adults in bringing about positive community change.

“We decided we wanted to help start a coffee shop,” Grossman recalled.

Eventually, their project became more affiliated with the community than with the school.

“Pam Collins came on board and really became the go-to person for the coffee shop. She was really instrumental in helping us get our idea off the ground and got the Women’s Foundation involved. They gave us a $40,000 grant to start a non-profit company. Amy Hunter also helped us get some grants,” Grossman said. “After three years of working on it, the coffee shop finally opened in 2003, the year I graduated.”

Grossman credits the support of the community for keeping the Stomping Grounds going all of these years. “Who would have ever imagined that this idea in a bunch of high school students’ minds would become a reality some day? It’s great. We need to be proud of it; and here’s our community’s chance to get a little bit of recognition for it.”

The community’s support of the Stomping Grounds has helped people of all ages in ways

that they probably don’t

even know, Grossman said. “People will be able to see

this when they watch this documentary,” she added.

The Stomping Grounds board is hoping a lot of people will be a part of this documentary. They’re encouraging all of their daily coffee drinkers to come by Saturday morning, as well as new customers.

“Stop by with family and friends, hang out at the computers, read a book or a newspaper, play a game,

scrapbook, get a smoothie

or just stop by and say ‘hi,’” are a few suggestions

Grossman offered.

This documentary is a collaboration between Emergence Pictures, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT); and the Sundance Family Foundation, which originally provided funding for The Stomping Grounds.

Mikkelson said that the anticipated broadcast of the film will be early to mid-winter, on the TPT channel.

“I hope that’s just the start,” Mikkelson said, adding that she hopes the documentary will be aired nationwide. “This is a good group of people; their story deserves to be heard.”

For more information about Emergence Pictures, visit their website, www. emergencepictures.com.

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