A few weeks ago a friend called to ask for my assistance. Her nine year old daughter Maxie had come home from school with some questions about bullying. Her teacher had talked about bullying and Maxie had some questions. Basically, she didn’t understand the point of bullying and why it happened.
After a dialogue of why it was wrong and how it hurt people, what continued to bother her the most was she felt very helpless to do anything. She told her mom that when people were hungry they collected food. At Christmas they participated in a toy drive. Why couldn’t they do anything to help those being bullied?
Planning Events – Getting our Kids off to the Right Start
Maxie’s mom explained to her that there were organizations that worked against bullying and if she really wanted, they could plan an event to support the International Bullying Prevention Association. Her eyes lit up and an idea was born.
After much discussion they decided on a swim-a-thon to raise money and awareness for the International Bullying Prevention Association. The “where” wasn’t a problem. A relative owns a swim school and after pitching the idea, she agreed to donate the space for the event. The “who” was easy. Maxie goes to a school that encourages kids to help others and the principal was on board right away and agreed that the grade four classes would be a great place to start.
So they had the idea, the location and the date. Everything else was a “what now?!” kind of situation. That’s where I came in.
Planning Events – The Kiss Rule
When approached, I was thrilled to participate. Not only was it a great cause, but I love seeing kids take the initiative to make a difference. I told them I would be glad to help in any way I could and we set an initial meeting for the next day.
When we first sat down, Mom was full of big ideas about organization, sponsorship and marketing. But the first thing I did was explain that, due to the type and size of event, our best approach would be the kiss rule – Keep it Simple Silly. The last thing we needed to do was to over plan this event. Due to the size (about 50 kids) and age of the participants, it was best to keep it low key and easy.
Planning Events – The Necessities
We talked about what had to be done. First, the teachers needed to be informed and an announcement date for the classes decided upon. Maxie was quite comfortable in getting up and speaking in front of her classmates to inform and recruit them.
We knew we had to draft a letter informing the parents of the event and included a sponsorship letter along with a waiver. Although the pool is only three deep across, I explained the importance of ensuring that all legalities were covered.
We took the same basic letter and geared it toward the audience. So the teachers, parents and corporate sponsors all received the same basic letter as there was no reason to write different letters for the same event. Nothing a little editing couldn’t take care of.
We then created an event planning checklist to ensure that no detail, no matter how small, would be missed. We included marketing, refreshments, volunteer recruitment, press and more. And I explained to Maxie (and her mom) the importance of task assignment and deadlines. We divvied up the list and got working!
We are currently in the midst of organizing this exciting event and I see a wonderful future for a little girl who cares about the world around her.
It’s so important to get our kids involved at an early age. It opens their eyes to the world around them and who knows, after this swim-a-thon, we may have a future meeting planner in the works!