Oh hey… I haven’t written a post here since February. Now now, this isn’t a shocker, I understand that. You all have come to expect spurts of blog posts from me but consistency isn’t what you expect from me. That’s fine, my feelings aren’t hurt. It’s quite the opposite, actually. What have I been doing while away from my computer? Well, it seems I’ve been living my life.
Living my life? What’s that?
Those of you who know me personally know that I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately. I haven’t been over the moon with the world around me. I haven’t been in love with my condo. I am constantly wishing my job had me learning new things and doing something… well… new. I’m constantly counting down the days until my next trip to someplace that isn’t here. I stuck around my house when I had time away from work and found myself doing the same old things as the week before… and the week before that… and that… you get it, right?
That’s kind of obnoxious, isn’t it? I might even go as far as to say it’s kind of pathetic. It was time for a change. Sometime about 2 weeks ago I pledged to love where I am. Make the space I’m in one that I love. Find things to do that leave me loving the town I’m in. Just go out and have fun!
The making my space I’m in one that I love was easy. I hung pictures, staged some collections, CLEANED every square inch of my condo and finally bought that floor lamp the Sweet Boy and I have complained about needing for 2 years. Love the space I’m in? Check.
Now, onto loving the town I’m in. this wasn’t as easy. This meant getting out of my PJs on my day off and actually going out and doing stuff. No, this wouldn’t be easy. This past Saturday, I found myself doing my usual Saturday things. Thrifting, treasure hunting and hanging around rummage sales. I ran into a friend who recommended I head out to Abbott Nutrition RazorFest.
Wait… what? She recommended I take my childless, University of Texas alumni, burnt orange bleeding self to RazorFest? from the outside, what I knew of RazorFest was that it was a huge, kid-friendly, festival promoting all things UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS. However, I’ll give anything a chance once. I went to the event’s website (it’s here, in case you’d like to visit it, and I suggest you do, right away, well, after you’re done reading this post) to learn a bit more about the organization and to figure out a plan of attack.
Wow. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the event. Well, no, that isn’t 100% true. This is definitely a kid-friendly, festival promoting all things UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS, but it’s so much more than that. Abbott Nutrition RazorFest is Champion for Kids’ flagship event with the goal to inspire those who attend the festival to provide resources and opportunities to benefit children.
Hey, I love organizations that provide opportunities for children (after all, I firmly believe that those opportunities are what build strong, fruitful and fun adults… fun adults are better than not fun adults, right?). It was an easy choice to decide to head out to attend RazorFest… but only after running home to take off my Longhorn shirt and change into one of many of the Sweet Boy’s Razorback shirts.
Oh yeah, and to grab some canned goods to donate to the food drive at the event helping to fill area food bank pantries. I feel very strongly about providing healthy food to food banks, so the lower the salt content, the better. No Hamburger Helper from me, thankyouverymuch.
Now, on to the fun.
My first thought when I got to the event was “OH MY GOD… there are SO many kids… everywhere”. I’m going to be honest here, because honesty is the best policy. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t make sense of the layout of the event and there were lines of stressed looking parents with their pile of kids waiting to bounce on the blow-up slide or get flung to space on one of those bungee swing, slingshot thingies. Don’t even get me started on the length of the line for the free Houndstooth t-shirts. The lines were impressively long.
There you go, “OH MY GOD” was my first take away.
To be fair, this reaction came from a childless person attending a family event. Oh yeah, and I’m a professional event planner and have been for the past 9 years. Trying to completely let loose and thoroughly enjoy events like this can be tedious. I’m always on the look out for ways to make traffic flow better and to keep people moving along and happy. So when I was faced with the challenge to break my way through the human barrier the lines created, it was only natural that “OH MY GOD” was my first reaction.
One more thought on this, before I move on to the intrinsic, feel good moments, this event would be FAR better served with a bit more floors pace to spread out in and a bit of booth mapping.
Okay, I’ll stop being that person now.
This event was clearly succeeding in providing fun activities for families. Every booth there had giveaways or activities perfect for the kiddos. Some even perfect for the non-kiddos (I might have walked away with a handful of goodies myself, my favorite being the tomato seeds from Heinz… I do love a good packet of seeds). I searched around a bit for booths promoting ways to help children in my community and I didn’t have to look far. Habitat for Humanity was there, City of Fayetteville Parks and Rec with information about the Yvonne Richardson Center was out in full force, Lifestyles had a craft corner set up, a local Girl Scout troop was onsite, Seeds That Feed had a booth and many, many more booths filled the space.
Now, I saw the booths surrounding me, and because I know the mission of these organizations, I know of their importance in the community, but I couldn’t get that from this event. I just couldn’t get near many of the booths with activities due to the lines and swarm of children. I feel that their messages were lost on me and based on the short amount of time many of the people in line actually spent at the booth, I worry that the message was lost on other festival goers as well.
Is there a better way to accomplish the mission to spread this information and to share these opportunities with RazorFest attendees? Maybe. Do I know how do accomplish that? No. Unfortunately, I think the nature of a festival like this lends itself to just piquing the interest of those in attendance instead of fully educating them.
Perhaps baby steps are the right way to do this, in which case, I believe RazorFest’s message to be hugely successful. And, on top of that, I’m pretty sure every kid in that parking lot was having a BLAST! The parents, on the other hand, well… let’s just say I’m fairly certain many of them went out for margaritas afterwards.
I can’t blame them.
I almost did so myself.
Who’s to say I didn’t?
While I didn’t walk back to my car with any more information about Champions for Kids than I learned from the website before attending the event, I did leave with a sense of pride for my community. Countless non-profits showed up to help build a festival that was both educational and fun for the kids of our community. They didn’t do it for money or fundraising efforts, they did so just to help build this event.
Maybe I missed the point, but I didn’t miss having a great time. In the end, is it always about the point? No, not really. Sometimes it’s just about having a good time.
Don’t just let me tell you about this great cause and incredibly successful event, go do a bit of research yourself:
Visit the Champions for Kids website
Follow Champions for Kids on Twitter (all the cool kids do)
Go like the Champions for Kids Facebook page
What about you, have you ever found yourself trying to fall back in love with your community? What were some ways you did that?
While all opinions are my own, I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® . and Champions For Kids. #cbias #SocialFabric