Sunday, April 27, 2014

On Being a Race Bandit

I read an article about the CEO of Four Square's wife racing in the 2014 Boston Marathon as a band-it (article here).   The story goes that during the 2013 race, the wife finished, the husband did not, and they were separated for awhile.  As a form of 'closure' they wanted to run the 2014 race together, but alas, the wife couldn't find a bib and wasn't willing to raise the $$ for charity to get a spot.  (They said that they couldn't find a charity spot that had an open bib).  The dynamic duo decided to use a fake bib so they could run together and finish together.  He had a bib this year because he never finished last year, but she did.   Everyone who didn't finish last year were given automatic entry to this years race and Mrs. Crowley had just finished so didn't get an automatic entry.

The rightful bib owner had raised $$ for charity and noticed someone else in the race pictures of the event.  She looked at the bib more closely and noticed a twitter handle of @chelsa in the picture.  Then she put two and two together and realized that this person who stole the bib was a wife of a major tech company CEO.

When asked on Twitter if she used a fake bib, Chelsa Crowley responded. "Shh" and then the storm called the media and public outrage began.  They are sorry that they got caught, not sorry that they did what they did.

As a (small) race director myself, I would be outraged if someone bandited a race that I worked hard to organize.  Race directors/committees work a lot of hours to make sure the participants have a great experience, well, participants that PAY and/or raise $$ and do things the honest way that is.  The participant fee goes towards food/drinks, t-shirts, road closure permits, safety and security, prize money, medals, etc.  There are fees for a reason and banditing a race is considered theft of services.  I am sure Mrs. Crowley drank water from the water stations and/or food from the finish line.  I am for sure she ran on roads that were blocked off via permits and appreciated the crowd control the paid police officers were there for.  No word, or picture so far, if she took a medal from the finish line.

 In the original news article, Mr. Crowley defended their actions because they wanted closure and said they didn't mean to offend anyone.  He wrote another apology on his blog.  I applaud him for standing up for his wife and taking half the blame.  However, all of the apologies came from him, not her. Where are her apologies?  She has kept all of her tweets and instagram photos about Boston up and is even censoring the comments (by blocking people and deleting comments) from her social media. People are calling her out, but she hasn't said a word, only hiding behind her husband.  He said that he send an email to the rightful bib # owner, but no word about whether or not she did.  

To be honest though, this story is really only a story because because of Mr. Crowley is FourSquare's CEO.  Is it fair that they are being slaughtered in the press/comments/blogs because of it?  No, but that is what happens when you are high profile, you are held to a higher standard.  It might be unfair, but it is what it is.  Apparently banditing a race happens every year at Boston Marathon, the race committee expects it.  However, this years race was different because of the security and what happened last year.  What if a terrorist used someone's bib to get on the course and create a bomb or another type of attack?  If they can do it, anyone can.  I understand the need for closure, just do it in a ethical, non-cheating way.

In an 'apology' statement, Mr. Crowley said that they donated $5,000 to charity this year, but they didn't specify which charity or when it was.  Dennis Crowley is estimated to be worth about $30 million dollars (Mrs. Crowley hopefully/probably signed a pre-nump, so we can assume she isn't worth that much.), so I would think that they could have donated/raised a lot more than that.  $5K is like chump change to them.  He could have used his connections to find a bib, but they didn't do that, they were looking to just be given one (read: entitlement) or they figured they would cheat their way into the race.  He is a very connected person (just look at both of their social media pages to see who they are personally friends with) and could get one if they really tried.

What will happen to them?  Probably nothing.  This 'scandal' will probably go away soon (probably by this weekend) and maybe when the race comes around next year, everyone will be watching Mr. and Mrs. Crowley's social media accounts to see if they bandited the race.  The Boston Marathon probably won't ban them from every racing again, as per their policy, because of who Mr. Crowley is and his 'stature'.  Even if the Boston Marathon decided to pursue theft of services charge, Mr. Crowley would probably just throw part of his $30M to make it go away 'out of the public eye'.

To sum it up, rich people get on my nerves-no, ENTITLED people get on my nerves.  There are a ton of rich people who do great things and do not feel like they were entitled to get away with stuff.  Also, this really doesn't have anything to do with me.  I didn't run the Boston Marathon and I probably won't ever (I can raise $$ for a local charity, doing a local race and I am absolutely not fast enough to qualify, LOL).  I just think it is silly that people do this and have a half assed apology to those they hurt.  They are sorry they got caught, not sorry that they ran it as a bandit and they are trying to make it all go away.  It irks me!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Planning a Color Run and Raffle

This is take 2 of the How to Plan a 5K fundraiser post from a few years ago.  The 2014 Driving Jacks 5K and raffle raised just over $8,000 via a color run and raffle.  These are a few things we did to make our color run and raffle successful. 

Note:  This is a supplemental post on how to plan the Color Run and Raffle portion of the 5K.  If you want to know how to plan a 5K in general, go to the post above. ^^^^^^

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets.  Go to to purchase the ebook to have access to the forms we used (including a bonus section about creating color runs)

A few other changes for the 2014 race
1.  We had three categories this year:  A timed 5K (not typical at color runs, but added participants), a non-timed 5K, and a Sleep In and Hit Snooze Option-best idea ever!  These are the people who wanted to donate to the 5K, but couldn't make it that day.  We mailed them their official 5K shirt after the race.  The price was the same as the color run ($20).

2.  The volunteers had tie-dye shirts this year instead of purple ones.  They also had to sell at least $30 in raffle tickets to get a tie-dye shirt.

3.  We changed the route up this year and people loved it!  The same route each year gets boring, this year it went through the azalea trail at SFA.

4.  Social media-this year we created a FB page for people to "like".  In the past, we have always created events on FB, this time we created an actual page.  Go here to like us! :)

5.  We had a sign for the participants to take pictures in front of that was donated. Loved it!

Color Run F.A.Q.

Did you need a lot of volunteers?
We planned the 5K the exact same way as a regular 5K, but instead of needing volunteers for a water station only, we needed them for throwing color on the patrons.  We had about 6-7 volunteers at each station, and two stations had 1-2 people at the water stops (just before the participants got to the color station).

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets. 

Can we make the color?
Well, we started to make it, but that was a disaster!  While it was drying, it got mold on it and we couldn't use it.  Making your own is MUCH cheaper, but you have to do it correctly, or it will be a waste of time/money.  To give you an idea, to make 150 lbs of color powder, it would have been $100, but to buy it, it cost us $675.  I am not 100% sure why ours didn't turn out, but I think it had something to do with the water/food color/powder consistency and/or that we stored it in a garage.  If you do make it, I would suggest leaving it in a temperature controlled room without a lot of moisture to avoid the mold growth like ours had.  Also, when we did make it, we went to a food supplier and bought 50 lb bags of corn starch and then added water/food coloring.  You can buy corn starch at Wal-Mart for $1/lb, but we got ours for $20/50 lbs-see a difference?  Make a small batch before you decide if it is worth your time and effort.  We watched a Youtube video on how to make it.

So, where did you buy the color then?
We bought ours through Chameleon Colors.  They were nice, professional, and shipped it to us in a short amount of time.  They already have boxes of it made, so we didn't have to wait.

How much color do we need?
We had about a lb per participant.  I researched it and it said anywhere from 1-2 lbs per person.  We found that 1 lb was plenty for all of participants and we even had some left over!  We had a 25 lb unopened box and a little bit of other color as well that we used for the fight at the end.

Did you have a fight at the end?
Yes, in the registration packets we gave all the participants a snack size ziplock bag of color.  Plus, we had the leftover color from the color station in a pile in the middle.  There was a HUGE cloud of color.  Some runs have a color cannon, but we just had them throw it at each other in a 'fight'.

Did you give your participants some in a goodie bag?
Yes, we made snack size ziplock bags of color and gave it to the participants in their goodie bag.  They sell color packs where you can buy them already pre-made, but we decided that we didn't need to buy them.  They were 'fancy' and we were a small race that didn't need all of that.  We added about a handful or two to each ziplock.

Did the color come out of the shirts?
We had a info sheet on how to get rid of the color that we put in their participant bags.  I just googled how to get the color out and typed it up in word.  I am not sure if it came out, I stayed away from all that color! :)

Was the cleanup bad?
We had four color stations, 1 was easy, 2 were ok, and 1 was a nightmare.  3 of them we put a plastic tarp down to minimize the mess.  We got a roll of it at Home Depot for around $20.  We laid it down on the ground and duct taped it.  The volunteers were on each side, throwing the color.  It helped the mess A LOT!  At the first stop we were able to use a leaf blower to clean up and it was a breeze.  The next two had a few patches that we poured water on, but the last stop was a disaster. They didn't have a plastic sheet down and the color was everywhere!  I know that if we didn't have a sheet down on all of them, it would have been a lot worse.  We used the left over water from the water station buckets to clean it up, and then refilled them instead of lugging around a water hose.  We also had a push broom to help clean up.

What supplies did you buy specifically for the color portion of the race?
We bought plastic sheet roll that is super thin (sort of like those restaurant glove material) to keep the mess minimized.  We also bought squeeze bottles (6 for $5 at Sam's) to throw the color and a push broom for clean up (we actually borrowed that).  Plus the color too.

Did you have a timed start?
Most color runs do not have a timing system, they just say start and you finish when you finish.  I am a runner myself (and love giving out awards) and we figured we would get  lot of registrations having both a timed and non-timed race.  It was an added expense $800, but it worked out.

Where did you get the awards?
OMG!  Aren't they awesome?  I wanted something custom made this year, so I looked on Etsy and found a seller that makes custom awards.  His name is John and his site is called I Love Geocaching and he is AWESOME to work with. We got them in the shape of Texas and there is a cutout heart where Nacogdoches is, plus our logo.  I added a lime green ribbon to make them into ornaments.  We also used Crown Trophy to make some plaques for us for the overall winners.
Did everyone wear the same shirt?
We had the participants wear their white participant shirt (or any white shirt they wanted), but the volunteers had tie-dye shirts to wear.  We bought the shirts directly from the manufacture since it would cost about double for the screen printing company to provide them.

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets. 

Raffle F.A.Q.'s
How many raffle items did you have?
I believe it was around 44.

How did you get raffle items?
We made a list of the people we wanted to donate and then sent them a letter telling them about Driving Jacks and asked for the donation.  We mailed/dropped off/emailed about 140 requests and got back about 50 raffle donations plus sponsors.  A lot of them were people we knew that wanted to donate and who had businesses or worked at businesses.  People to ask are friends to sell items (like Mary Kay, Scentsy, etc), sports teams, tourist attractions in the area, restaurants, etc.

Who did you sell to?
Everyone!  We ran out of time, otherwise we would have set up a table at a grocery store or Walmart type store.  We mainly sold them to our friends and family.  I personally sold about $400 in tickets, the top person sold almost $700.  I tried to post about it on my personal FB page about once a week.

How many people sold raffle tickets?
Ummmm.  About 30?  I am not sure, but that sounds about right.

What were you 'big' items or top prizes?
An Apple iPad (donated) and a GoPro Camera (bought)

Where did you keep the tickets?
We had a raffle drum that I borrowed from my stepmom. I didn't want to buy one just for this event, but I am glad we had one.  I think you can get them for about $100 online, but a lot of elementary schools or car dealerships have them-ask if you can borrow one.

Did you give your top sellers any prizes?
We purchased three gift cards for the top two in sales ($50 and $25) and one random winner ($25). In order to be in the contest, you had to sell over $30 in tickets.

Who drew the winners?
We had someone who did not buy  tickets or sell tickets draw the names.  I didn't want someone to think it was rigged or anything, so we chose someone who didn't have anything to do with the tickets.  We also recorded it for anyone to see (just in case).

Where and when did you host the raffle?
The drawing was held at 11 am the day of the race.  We had time to finish cleaning up and then head to the office to draw.  I didn't want to lug all the prizes to the start/finish area and then worry about the wind and stuff.  It was easier to keep it all in one place.

What did you tickets say?
The State of TX is very specific about what needs to be on the tickets, I'm sure other states do as well.  I would check what your state requires.  Our tickets had our name, date and time of raffle, address, official rules, and the prize listing on one section.

Were you able to get ahold or everyone?
Yep!  We just called the number on the slip.  We did leave some voicemails, but they called back right away.  You always call back quickly when you win something!  It also helps to call everyone, leave messages if you have to, and then go back to the ones who you left messages for.  If they see a number a few times, they figure it is someone important.

Did you buy any raffle prizes?
We only bought one item, the GoPro Camera, all others were donated.  We needed to get the tickets printed and at that time we only had one 'big' item donated, so we voted to buy the other big item.  Some organizations buy all of their big items, but we only needed to buy one.

How much did you end up making from the raffle?
I am not sure the exact totals for the raffle.  We had sponsorships and registration fees to add up, but then expenses. It's hard to tell.  I do believe that without the raffle, we would have had a lot less profit, probably only about $3,000-$4,000 instead of $8,000.  (that could be bad math though!)

Where did you buy the raffle tickets?  Did you make them?
I got them online through a printer.  We order 4,000 of them and sold probably about 2,500-3,000. I don't have the exact totals in front of me.  We spent (with shipping) about $175 on the tickets.  I didn't want to print them ourselves because by the time we created them, bought the paper and ink, etc., we would have just spent that time on something else.  It is an expense, but worth it.

Edit:  I have now created an entire website about planning a 5K and also ebook with forms, spreadsheets and sponsor packets. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1 year ago today

A year ago today, I traveled to Kingagop, Kenya to hang out with some pretty cool kids at Into Abba's Arms Orphanage!

I can't believe it has already been a year since I was there, man how time flies!  Into Abba's Arms is actually hosting a benefit concert on May 17th at 6:30 pm at Woodsedge Community Church in the Woodlands, TX.  They are having the Robbie Seay Band come out and perform!

Here are some Kenya related posts:

Countdown to Kenya Post
-Medications for Kenya 
-What I am packing for Kenya-Snacks 
-What I am bring to donate to the kids 
-File Folder Games I brought to Kenya

While in Kenya

-Meet Jacob
-Day 1
-Day 2
-Day 3
-Day 4
-Day 5
-Day 6
-Day 7
-Day 8
-Day 9
-Day 10
-Day 11
-Traveling to and from Kenya
-Final thoughts

Monday, April 14, 2014

7 Acre Wood

On Friday my sister was going with my nephew Hunter to a school field trip and asked me if I wanted to babysit Cole for them.  Of course, I said yes!

As soon as my alarm went off, I headed over there.  She lives almost an hour away without traffic so you can only imagine how long it would have taken me to get over there if I hadn't left at the crack of dawn.  I got over there hoping that I could sleep until Cole woke up, but no such luck!  Cole woke up as soon as they left and I didn't sleep.

Cole and I decided that we wanted to take a trip to the park instead of just stay home all day.  Who wants to stay home?  Boring!  I had heard that there was a place called 7 Acre Wood that was really close to my sisters house.  My sister suggested that I look on Groupon to see if I could get a discount first, and luckily there was!  I bought a 2 person pack for $10 and you get two admissions, two animal feeding cones and two drinks.

Cole just thought we were going to a park, but he was very surprised at this park.  He just looked around for a bit before deciding on where he wanted to play.   There was so much to do at 7 Acre Wood that his little brain couldn't decide what to do first.  There is putt putt, a petting zoo, zipline, big playground, smaller playground, huge checker/chess board, horseshoes, basketball and other games.  He loved doing the zipline, so we did that multiple times.  It isn't a zipline with a harness, it is just one where you stick your feet in the rope and hold on.  I was afraid he would fall so I held on to him the entire time and just ran with him to make him go.  He was giggling the entire time!  It's such a cute sound.

We played basketball and volleyball plus fought off the pirates at the ship that is stranded at sea!

The petting zoo was really interesting too.  We fed the animals with our cones outside the gate (Cole was a little scared) and then went inside to pet them.  One baby goat was hoping from one donkey to the next!

Finally, we played putt-putt, but Cole didn't quite understand the rules of the game, specifically that he needed to not touch the ball.  I have a really cute video on my phone, but it won't upload.

We ate lunch at the park (their chicken salad is really good) and then played some more. Apparently Cole LOVES brownies.  Everything these days is LOVES.

 We left around 2 pm and Cole was pulling out all the tricks to try and stay.  It didn't work! #jail

7 Acre Wood is a really cute place to take kids!

Monday, April 7, 2014

SFASU NCAA Tournament

A few weeks ago, SFA's men's basketball team played in the NCAA Basketball tournament in California.  I got to see first hand how much the alumni of SFASU really cares about it's school and its legacy.  It was a very fun filled weekend! My FB newsfeed was filled with tons of images that cheered the guys on!  SFA spirit really showed that weekend.

On Friday we had a watch party at Lucky's Pub in downtown Houston.  They gave us the backroom of the bar thinking we wouldn't have that many people, but little did they know that we packed out the place with over 300 people!  I got to see a lot of people I went to college with, it was interesting that I had no idea how many SFA alums lived in Houston!  My friend Teri came with us (I told her to wear purple) to the watch party too and she cheered for SFA like it was her school!  That's what friends are for. :)

The game was a nail bitter to say the least!  The game was pretty much neck and neck, though sometimes we were up by 10 or they were.  Towards the end of the game we were starting to lose hope, but one of players got 4 points to tie up the game.    Then, one of the VCU players missed a 3 pointer and sent the game into overtime.  We went wild!

The next 5 minutes were a nail bitter for us, but the boys played well and SFA won the game!  On to the next round!!!  How exciting for them! I know that the VCU students were upset, especially since it looked like they were going to win at one point-I even saw one kid with a smug look on his face, but it just wasn't their game.  I really felt sorry for them, especially as one kid was crying on camera. :(

We were called a Cinderella team by the press for making it to the next round.
The next morning the local paper had a headline of Stephen F. Awesome.

The next game was scheduled for that Sunday evening.  I got there early to help setup the bar for the party with another alumni that I met on Friday.    Unfortutnely, we were losing most of the game by 5+ points.  The guys tried hard to hold them off, but the team was much more experienced and they were meant to go on to the next round.  God already had it worked out as to who was going to win.  SFA played well, but it was someone else's turn to win.

The players were really upset at the loss, but only one team can go on to the next round.  It was heartbreaking to see how sad they were.  I truly believe they thought they were going to go all the way.  I wanted them to.

If just one more student heard about SFA or is debating which school to attend, and they heard of SFA from this tournament, I say awesome!  I love my school and a little ole' town called Nacogdoches.  I would encourage any student to at least look at the campus before making a decision.  It may not be the biggest campus or the most exciting town, but there is something about those piney woods that gets in your soul.  I fell more in love with my school more in the weekend of this tournament.  This tournament showed me how proud I am to be a Lumberjack and what an honor is was to go there.  I loved it then and will always love it (even if they choose a new ugly logo).

Axe 'em Jacks!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Taxing the Childless

I read this article tonight about a blogger who think that taxing people who are childless would be a better solution.  As a person who is childless, I say absolutely not!  This made me so mad!

First of all, it is not my problem that you had a kid, or multiple children.  Everyone goes through hard times, but putting a regular tax on people and try to make 'your child' have a better start is B.S.  Seriously.  I am choosing not to have children at this point, because I can't afford them at this point.  Yes, I make more than $51K a year (which is the rate which he says the childless should be taxed more), but that doesn't mean I should be punished for making more money than you.  How is that my fault?  If you are jealous of me having more money because you have 3 other people to feed, sorry!  I have no control over how much your boss pays you or your expenses.  I shouldn't have another tax added because you think it is 'unfair'.  Go cry to your mom!  It's called "choices" and "responsibilities" if you feel like you should have the same life as a non-parent, that's too bad.  It was you 'choice' to have children (yes, you did have the choice to have them or not, even if you don't believe in that) and now it is YOUR 'responsibility' to take care of them, not mine.

Secondly, what about the people who cannot have children?  You are punishing them for something that is biologically wrong with them? 

Third, parents already get a tax credit, why add more? I know lots of people who get $5K plus in tax refunds each year because they have children.  That tax is already one I pay, but to add more of a tax to it is ridiculous! I already pay for a public school system that I don't use and I am OK with that.  Kids need an education, because we all know that if it wasn't free, most people wouldn't send their kids to school.  I went to public school myself, however my parents paid that tax when I was in school, so technically I shouldn't have to pay for it now (but I do).

You should get a tax break for helping overpopulate the world?  It is not a countries duty to feed or cloth you.  You need to WORK you booty off to provide for your family or do not have children.  It's called birth control.  The world is getting overpopulated as it is, if you can't afford children, then don't have them.

Help yourself people!  It is not my responsibility or my neighbors responsibility to help you.  I should not be forced to help people.  I give my money to people and charities who I know need it.  Its a good thing to do.  I shouldn't have to give my money to someone who sits on their behind all day collecting welfare checks because they have had kids and don't want to work.  Now, I understand that some people are trying to get off welfare and I say good for them!  I am more than happy to help them get on their feet.  Show me how you are helping yourself before you ask for my help.  If you are on welfare and drive a nicer car, have a nicer cell phone, more 'bling', eat out more than me, or buy more crap than me, well then I don't think you deserve my help.  Stop popping out kids and working the system.

My mom was a single mom and she got through it and makes really good money now. She WORKED her way up in her jobs, she didn't 'welfare' her way through life.  Take a lesson from her.