So this past Friday night was the Bull & Shrimp Roast for the cheerleaders. One of the topics of conversation was a piece of literature that was going around that someone had written about the event. It had no context to it whatsoever, but it turned out to be the post that I'd written a few weeks ago. By "no context" I mean that it didn't have the Baltimore Diary header on it, nor my sidebar picture, or anything else. Apparently someone did a quick copy and paste.
(It just occurred to me that they're not supposed to be able to do that…I wonder if they had a Mac?)
Anyway, on Saturday night a response to the post was added by one of the parents. It was long, and thoughtful, and written by a parent whom I respect. I actually agree with much of what she had to say, but I also think that my point was missed a little bit. So I'm going to respond here, and then I'm going to drop the matter. Anyone who wants to debate it further can do so through email or can feel free to speak to me directly. This isn't really the place to do it. This blog is about whatever I choose to care about on any given day, and I'm moving on.
Her (unedited) comments are in italics and indented; mine are in regular text:
Unfortunately, due to the economic times, fundraising is a must! Many parent's just cannot afford to shell out hundreds of dollars for their children to do activities that I feel are important in the growth of the children and keeping them occupied and out of trouble.
I agree completely with this, but this was also part of my argument for a different activity. I'll get to this in a minute.
With that being said, I have to comment of the article about the Parkville Patriots Bull Roast fundraising event. While the suggestion of the pancake breakfast was a good one, there are a couple comments I have about that. First, from what I was told, there was a problem with the location having enough parking, thereby make it really impossible to sell a large amount of tickets.
The location that GF had considered first was a church that was in the community. They manage to fill up the sanctuary every Sunday without too much parking hassle, not to mention the nearly-every-evening events that take place during the week. However, if this were to be an issue, there were plenty of other places to choose from, again in the immediate community. This event was held in Rosedale (not on Eastern Ave. as I'd originally been led to believe). Which of the Parkville Cheerleaders live in Rosedale? This was a failure to get another facet of the community behind the event. Also, given the nature of a Pancake Breakfast, which would not be an all-morning event for the people who come to eat, parking would be in a state of frequent turnover.
Secondly, while the suggestion of the girls helping in the fundraising is a nice idea, my feeling is that they have done more than their share by practicing and working very hard to make it to U.S. Nationals in the first place.
I have to respectfully disagree with this point. Well, not quite: of COURSE they worked hard to earn their way to the Nationals. But if paying for it is part of the issue, then it's part of the commitment. The Bull Roast took away the girls' commitment toward the full measure of what it takes to get to that event.
Additionally, this group has 43 cheerleaders in the 5-14 age range, and I feel that the parents/grandparents/guardians, etc. who volunteer to participate, would have to spend a fair amount of time supervising the girls, which would take away from the actual working of the fundraiser and could jeopardize the event running smoothly. Let's face it, they are children and children tend to goof off when with their friends. That's just how it is.
The short answer is that we've done this before, more than once, and we've made it work. Plus it's safer than having them wander about Perring Parkway with a bucket.
As for the parent meeting and the decision making process for the fundraising, well let's just say, if you don't show up for the mandatory meeting, that you were informed about, then you don't have a say in the outcome.
As I'd said in the original post, I had to go to New York to support my OTHER daughter in her extracurricular activity. My family was represented, however.
I have been with this program for several years now and have seen the time, dedication and hardwork that the directors, coaches and cheerleaders put in and year after year, seen the same parents pitch in and get involved, while other's barely show their face at practices, competitions, fundraising events, etc.
No argument whatsoever at all, there. I put in a full day and about $150 of my own money to ensure that the Show & Tell day from last week was a success. And I know that you're there at every turn when someone is needed.
To run any youth program, it takes hardwork, dedication and a commitment from everyone involved, including the parents. These youth organizations are not babysitting services! You cannot just drop off your child and come back to pick them up in a couple of hours and think it's okay to complain about how things are run. That's the problem with this society now, people have to get involved with their children and not just sit back and be a spectator. Raising children is not a spectator sport.
I could cop a "guilty" plea on this one–I tend to stay only when I'm required to. But part of that is because I know that A) Wee One tends to get distracted when a parent is nearby; B) I actually like to see the routines for the first time in competition; and C) when I'm there, I usually just hole up with my iPod and my Kindle, or my laptop. I can do that anywhere.
As for the shrimp and bullroast – let me just say first, and foremost, that the people that put that event together took a lot of time out of their personal lives and busy schedules with their own children, to do a wonderful thing. They worked very hard making phone calls, driving all over the community to meet with people regarding tickets, donations, scheduling, etc. They should be commended for doing such an absolutely fantastic job in such a short time frame. Kudos to the small group of volunteers that took the ball and ran with it! Without them, nothing would have been done at all. You Are The Best!!!
They did a hell of a job, and I did send a note to the mom who sent out all the emails, thanking them for their hard work.
If more parents would get involved with their children's activities like these people did, then maybe the kids today wouldn't be getting into trouble like they do.
Again, no argument there.
And the questions were – Will they make money? Yes indeed they did!!!
My original post conceded that money would be made from the event.
Was it worth the time and effort put into organizing the event? It was well worth it!! Several thousands of dollars was raised to help send the cheerleaders to Nationals. Money that some parent's just could not afford to dish out of their own pockets.
This is true, but the problem then becomes one of cannibalizing the available money. Look at it this way: GF and I spent a given amount of money for the entry fees and for the hotel. Now we're asked to shell out another $80 for two tickets to the event. Even if we get $10 from each ticket back, sales still have to cover $60 just to get us back to being even. Plus, if we spend money on the raffles, the wheel of fortune thingy (which I admit I had fun working on, once I got the hang of it) and the silent auction, that's still money coming out of our OWN pockets to pay for the event we've already spent a couple of hundred bucks on. Our only hope is that the overwhelming number of people who attend and spend money aren't in the immediate families of the girls. In addition, the cost of the event itself was just prohibitive to some people. Wee One's father, for example, simply could not afford to attend, despite his recent attempts to support her cheerleading activities. A less expensive event could have brought him, his mother, his sister and her family. That's several extra bodies that would have netted the organization more money in the long run.
During the event itself, I spoke to many that attended and they all commented on how much fun they were having, what a wonderful job the organizers did and that they can't wait for the next one! (see you in September) As far as I'm concerned, I would certainly promote this fundraising event again.
Lastly, yes decisions are made by those that show-up! You can't vote, if you're not there! It's not rocket science. Was this a hijacking? Not by any means. When this was brought up in the MANDATORY parent's meeting that only the true dedicated parents attended, nothing was carved in stone at that time.
I can only go by what GF told me, but as far as she could tell, this was presented as a done deal. And when GF asked one of the directors how this had happened, the response was pretty much "I have no idea." GF also doesn't remember hearing anything about doing this again in September. At what point during the meeting did the group make THAT decision? Yeah, it was a hijacking.
I don't believe that the contract had even been signed yet.
I admit I don't know one way or the other. GF's impression was that we'd guaranteed a minimum of one hundred participants, which suggests a commitment of some kind.
So, had there been strong objections to the event, it would not have taken place.
Again, I have to respectfully disagree. Again, according to GF, concerns and objections went unheard at that meeting.
This was not a "mandatory participation event", so if someone chose not to partake, then they simply would have to endure the costs for their child's expenses themself. It's that simple! I know that my little cheerleader has a special place in my heart and like many of the parents, I would do anything in the world to help her fulfill her dreams.
Well…none of the fundraising events are mandatory participation, and those who choose not to participate don't seem to endure any grief from the ones who do.
I think that all (well, most) of us tend to have a special place for all of the cheerleaders, and are pretty supportive of them as a group. You'll recall from my other post that GF and I were starting to look into the fundraising activity before we even knew that Wee One's squad was going to the Nationals.
As I said, I'm dropping the matter now. You've said your piece, I've said mine and that's plenty, unless you feel like continuing in email or in person. I ask only that you deal with me directly in this; GF doesn't participate in this site nor does Wee One, and they shouldn't have to deal with any fallout from my standing on a box and spouting my opinion.