By Paul Devine - Executive Director, St. John Community Foundation
Thanks to all who donated to the October 11 "Just Play" event. It was a HUGE success...beyond even our expectations! Because of your donations, Using Sport For Social Change (USFSC) provided a very active day for almost 200 children. The day consisted of games and activities for children age 2 to 6 and non-competitive sporting events for children age 7 to 18. The event was organized by Mr. Dean Doeling of the Nike Corporation. Nike provided boxes of clothing, sneakers, balls and other athletic equipment. The financials for the entire event was provided by the St. John Community Foundation as fiscal agent. The day began with a welcome and warm-up exercises for all children which included aerobic exercises and a short run. From there, the children were formed into groups and the games began! A few days prior to the event, a group of volunteers met to organize the event prizes, free clothing giveaways and participant numbering tags. All items were sized, arranged by color and boxed. The pre-organization was key to the smooth operation of the event itself and it was done in an all-volunteer fashion as was the event itself. In terms of organization, 112 children did pre-registrations. This gave us a good idea of clothing sizes and groupings. The remainder of the children registered the day of and were immediately assigned a number and a group. The activities numbered ten different events where all groups participated in five events prior to lunch and five events after lunch. The younger children were provided a separate area where games, crafts and running events took place. Lunch was provided by a local caterer as a community service! In all there were 37 volunteers throughout the day who oversaw events, served food, signed up participants, moderated, supplied water and ice and a variety of other services. The playing field was mowed and cleaned by the local Parks and Recreation agency. Effectively, the event had 250 participants including children, adult volunteers and other service providers. The day ended with a prizes for event first, second and third place finishers and a gift bag for every participant. The second annual "Just Play" day was an enormous success and plans for the 2011 event are now starting. Nike, Inc has promised additional equipment for next year's event and we anticipate an even larger volunteer base and number of participants. We thank all our supporters and hope that the same report will continue in 2011.
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