Anyone who has ever been involved in fundraising for their children's activities, understands this whole different world. Everywhere you go, and everyone you see, sparks thoughts of, "Have we hit them up yet?" or "That would work well to help us out." Every information portal of your brain suddenly has new pathways that connect somehow to fundraising.
My youngest son is preparing for a class trip to Washington D.C. and New York City. It's going to be a great trip! A wonderful experience! But first, we all have to raise a huge amount of money. At his school, the fundraising is largely done as a group, for the whole. Our goal is a collective of $50,000. And we have until the end of the year.
Welcome Duck Derby. Since May, the students have been selling sponsorships of rubber ducks that are going to race down the Madison River. We'll be floating about 3200 ducks. The winning duck earns its sponsor $5000 in prizes. It's a great idea, fun and different, and pretty easy to sell. The down side? I'm in charge.
My house is filled with bags, boxes, barrels, and more bags of ducks. We have duck posters, duck fliers, duck charts, and duck pictures. All forms are in hard copy and digital. We have yellow ducks, pink ducks, and blue ducks. I have ducks already sold, extra ducks, recreated missing ducks, and even a decapitated by bicycle spokes duck. We have ducks in the front room, ducks in the kitchen, and ducks on the porch. I've collected about half of the ducks so far, and will collect them all by the end of next week.
One more week. The ducks float on Friday. And I'll be standing in the river, just past the finish line, frantically scooping ducks up with a fishing net. I imagine it will all be quite a sight to see.
All in the name of love for my son. Anybody want to buy a duck?
I just got back from my annual Writers Retreat. Each year, my writers group starts planning months ahead. We search for the perfect cabin and location. We plan what we'll be learning there, and doing with our time. We plan food, and movies to watch, and snacks to bring. Then, when the time is right, we leave our everyday lives behind for five days and head to writing paradise.
This year we stayed in a cabin just outside of the little Montana town of Ennis. This is fly fishing country on the Madison River. The mountains were right outside our windows. We each brought out laptops, and notebooks, and favorite pens. We also brought boxes and coolers of tasty food to make and share with each other. Plus chocolate.
Usually, I spend my week at Writers Retreat completely oblivious to my real life. I immerse myself in craft and creativity, barely remembering my former routines. And I always get an incredible amount of writing progress made. I leave feeling completely refreshed and energized, accomplished and hopeful.
This year was a little different. Right before I left, my youngest son got quite sick. I hauled him to the doctor, got the antibiotic, and left him home with Dad. Only, he didn't get better. I spent quite a bit of time this week on the internet researching medical conditions, or on the phone talking to doctors. He's doing some better now, but it's been a tough week for him, and my husband who took the brunt since Mom was gone.
I'm also the fundraising coordinator for the same son's 8th grade class trip coming next spring. We're in the middle of a massive fundraising effort - which I'll probably blog about someday. Fundraising doesn't pause for writing retreats. So each day, I had to devote some time to emails and calls, making sure the ducks were in a row. Literally.
So, with all the distractions, and intrusions of reality trying to grab me, my week wasn't quite as I'd expected or planned. Was it successful? You bet. Despite it all, I met my writing goal. I am a writer that has learned how to take full advantage of pure writing time. I get it so rarely, that when I do, it's all I need. I may not feel as relaxed or refreshed as most years after our retreat, but I am feeling hopeful.
And grateful to a wonderful writers group who support me through it all.
Writing for children is a passion - along with reading kid's books, writing plays for kids, and teaching kids how to write!