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Packeropoly hits streets in time for Christmas

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Fargo, 58102
West Fargo Pioneer
(701) 241-5487 customer support
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

If you've been searching for a unique and unduplicated gift to give this Christmas, West Fargo High School DECA students may have just the answer for you. Students in Matthew De Vries' second-year marketing class have designed and created a board game called Packeropoly, West Fargo's very own version of the world-famous Monopoly game.

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The real estate trading game features local businesses within the West Fargo School District on squares printed around the game board. Authentic looking plastic game pieces and houses designed in Packer green and white are sealed tightly in a plastic bag. Rubber bands secure West Fargo Community Chest cards, Chance cards, and property listings in bundles. Stacks of play money printed with Western State Bank's logo on each bill rest in the cardboard divider trays tucked inside the lid of the green Packeropoly box. One look at the professional packaging of the game reveals evidence of the long hours the students have spent brainstorming, researching, designing, and promoting the game.

The Packeropoly game lets players vie for the chance to become the wealthiest Packer in the community. Anyone landing on businesses, such as Sandy's Donuts, Bobcat Company, or Choice Financial Bank, has the option to buy the business, collect rental fees from other players who stop on the spot, or turn around and sell the company for a profit. That is, of course, if someone else hasn't grabbed the opportunity first. A smart Packer business tycoon could own several West Fargo businesses by the end of the game. But beware, the first Packer forced to file bankruptcy is out of the game, and has to forfeit all of the properties they have worked so hard to earn.

Parker Brothers, a subsidiary of Hasbro, owns copyright for the original Monopoly game. However, they allow nonprofit organizations to adapt the game for fundraising purposes. Parker Brothers will not get a cut or commission on the Packeropoly games sold.

Packeropoly sells for $25, with five dollars from each sale going to KIVA, an international non-profit organization that sets up small business loans to low-income entrepreneurs in underdeveloped countries. Additional profits from the sales of the game will be used to help pay costs for students attending state and national DECA competitions next spring, and for improvements in the Packer Connection store at the High School.

De Vries is extremely pleased with how well the project has been going, and is quick to give the students credit for their achievements. "I'd seen it [the game] done a couple of places around the country. We started discussing it the second week of school. I basically set the guidelines, and they took over," De Vries said.

The class was divided into groups. One group of students formed a design team to lay out the game board, design the box cover, money, cards, and game pieces. Other teams were set up to handle financing, advertising and marketing. Although De Vries was there to steer and guide, the students worked together to problem solve and fine tune the project on their own. Craig Hakanson from Brokerage Printing of West Fargo visited the classroom several times on a consultant basis to help them arrive at printing solutions. Brokerage Printing did all of the printing for the game, outsourcing the plastic game pieces and lamination of game boards and the outer box.

"It's been a lot of fun," Hakanson said. "The kids did a great job."

Students contacted businesses to sell squares on the game board. West Fargo's historic loyalty of supporting Packer athletic and school related activities helped students sell the spaces quickly. According to De Vries, all of the properties on the board were sold out within two weeks.

"It's been a great learning experience for all of us. It forced us to focus on our negotiating skills," Luke Steckler said. Alex Windjue was impressed with the importance of making contacts and building relationships with business people in the community.

The next phase of the project is to sell the games. One thousand games were printed, and the group has high hopes of selling most of them before Christmas. Packeropoly is available at all West Fargo schools, as well as businesses around town. Businesses that have signed up to sell Packeropoly on consignment so far include the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce, Sandy's Donuts, West Fargo VFW, Extreme Pita, Choice Financial Bank, West Fargo Pioneer, Allen Ross Photography, and the West Fargo Library. Order forms are also available at Western State Bank, Ramada Suites in Fargo, Fargo Holiday Inn, and Town and Country Credit Union.

Packeropoly can also be purchased from any West Fargo DECA member. "We've all got a lot of them out in our cars," Alex Windjue said. Delivery will be available within the West Fargo School District.

After the first of the year, the next phase of the project will begin, with students focusing on picking out companies they want to help support through the KIVA network of entrepreneurs who are seeking small loans to start up or improve their business ventures. The students will be able to track where their money goes through KIVA's Web site, and get hands-on involvement with their loan recipients via email. Through the KIVA program, loan recipients repay the loans once their businesses become stable.

They will also be taking Packeropoly to classrooms at West Fargo elementary schools, Cheney Middle School, and Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center. During their presentations, they will talk about product development and stress the importance of encouraging entrepreneur endeavors on a local level and internationally.

For more information about Packeropoly, contact Matthew De Vries at 499-1830 or reach him by email at mdvries@west-fargo.k12.nd.us. If you want to find out more about KIVA, go to their Web site at www.kiva.org.

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