Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our First Sponsor for 2011!

Please raise your pink pom-pons and give 3 cheers for our friends at Harmony Soapworks! 

Diana and her team are custom creating some gorgeous pink soaps for Music City Spirit.  I've had the good fortune of being given some of their soaps before, and I'm amazed at how good they smell, and how long they last!  We're going to use these soaps in gift packs we'll be creating as a fundraiser in April.

So don't worry about those Mother's Day and end of the school year teacher gifts -- you'll want one of our beautiful pink gift packs.  We'll update the blog with pictures once our soaps are done!

In the meantime, visit Harmony Soapworks' website to check out their product line, and be sure to "Like" them on Facebook.

-- Joyce

Monday, February 21, 2011

Watch Out Atlanta -- here we come!

We made the decision -- ATLANTA 2011!

As much everyone I talked to LOVED the idea of San Diego, it just seemed to make better sense for us to do Atlanta, where we could have more family support for all the first timers, and less travel expense.  I think it's also going to allow us to build a bigger team, which makes me really excited.  Spreading that Music City Spirit!

The discount code SAVE25 is good until Friday, so read my blog entry below about what exactly the 3-Day entails.  There is a team password to join Music City Spirit, but only so I can make sure everyone understands my fundraising philosophy before they commit.

My 2-Step Fundraising Philosophy, quite simply is this:

1.  We're a TEAM.  Everyone is going to help everyone else.  There won't be any prizes or competition for who raises the most money, because we're all going to be focused on helping each other meet their minimums.  Last year, I was able to channel several hundred dollars in donations to teammates so that we ALL had met our minimum before the walk.  It all goes to the same place!

2.  In order to share in any particular fundraiser's proceeds, you need to participate in that fundraiser.  Obviously people will do their own individual fundraising (like, for instance, some crazy people shave their heads to raise money.)  But here are some of the group fundraising activities I'm looking into.  Proceeds will be distributed to those who participate in each fundraiser.  Obviously, the earlier you join the team, the more group fundraising opportunities you'll be able to participate in!

- Mother's Day custom soap gift packages  (taking orders in April)
- Pampered Chef Fundraiser (in May when they have PINK products!)
- Crop for the Cure 2
- Booths at Lennox Village Farmer's Markets
- T-shirt sale
- Pied Piper Creamery event
- WalMart booth

What else?  I'm open to ideas -- especially ones that allow us to reach people outside of our circle of friends, like booths that don't cost money.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coming To Your City. Ummm... where do you live?

I live in Nashville, TN -- the Healthcare Capital of America. (Believe it or not, the music industry doesn't even come close to healthcare as an industry in Music City.) You'd think, we'd have a 3-Day Walk here. But nope! I need to get on my friends at the NCVB about that.

Last year, we did Washington, D.C. Why there? Well the dates worked, 2 of my teammates had never been, it was a manageable distance, and it sounded like fun. Because, if you're going to walk for 3 days, you want it to be somewhere with some scenery. Obviously, Atlanta is closer. But I know that on more than one occasion I uttered something along the lines of "Who wants to walk around Atlanta for 3 days?"

Well this year, the two cities we're looking at are San Diego... and Atlanta. And about every 10 minutes, I change my mind. I was having this conversation (via email) with my friend Taylor (Who is an AMAZING cancer survivor herself.)ME: I'm trying to make a decision on where to do my 3-Day this year. There's a strong battle between Atlanta and San Diego.

TAYLOR: Ooooooo exciting stuff! I feel like the last time I heard you talk about it, you were still iffy about whether or not you were actually gonna do it for sure. When's the Atlanta one?? Wouldn't that be like...extraordinarily more convenient than San Diego, haha? Too bad Atlanta is ugly. And hot. And smoggy. And San Diego is gorgeous. And had consistently spectacular weather. And an ocean.

My friend Jenny has been bugging me to go out to San Diego to do it with her.

ME: Yes to all of the above. I was waffling... I wasn't sure I wanted to make the commitment to all that training again... it really kills your weekends. So I was thinking maybe I'd just crew Atlanta. Then I had a little epiphany that that was taking the easy way out... so unless they find a Cure in the next 6 months, I need to get my butt out there and walk.

In addition to the scenery and the weather... here's what I'm working with:

Atlanta (October 21-23) 

PROS: Location... Lower travel costs = more money towards the cause....Could get a bigger team together... Lots more people to train with locally on the same schedule... Our families could come down and cheer for us which is HUGE. People that needed to could drive back Sun night and be at work on Monday. Happens DURING Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is cool. The whole world turns pink.

CONS: Who wants to walk around Atlanta for 3 days? And a lot of the additional people I could recruit as teammates would come from my same fundraising base.  (Although in hindsight... I don't know that that's necessarily true.)
San Diego (November 18-20)

Yes that's my husband.  The picture was taken at a D.C.cheering
station. But he was a San Diego sailor.  Maybe they knew that?
PROS: Scenery. The weather. The Ocean. My friend Rosemary would join a team for this location, and do it with her sister, who lives out there. The Ocean. You and Jenny. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the ocean? And my dad and husband were both San Diego sailors and I've never been. Pretty much none of these except the people are good Pros. But my husband is Mr. San Diego! Surely that's a sign that I need to see the ocean? Plus it's later in the year, so it's longer to train and fundraise -- including ALL of October. And on post-walk Monday, the ocean could massage our aching feet.

CONS: Cost. We're looking at AT LEAST an additional $500 in travel costs. Less people would be able to join our team, AND none of our families would be there. Just Rosemary's family, and probably my incredibly loyal yet crazy friend Sandi.

TAYLOR: As I sat here reading and pondering your email, I too had an epiphany (I have lots of those in case you haven't noticed). At the end of the day, isn't this about finding a cure? And raising the absolute largest amount of money that you can possibly raise, so that there CAN be a cure? Aaaaaand maybe not so much about scenery, weather, convenience, cheerleaders, etc? While I totally and completely understand the importance of ALL of those things, looking at the bigger picture and the fundamental purpose of the walk, kinda makes all of those factors seem a little obsolete. It doesn't matter if you're walking through an ugly city, alongside the beach, or even around in circles in a 5 x 5 ft're still walking for the same purpose: a cure. As for convenience and cheerleaders...there ain't nothinnnn convenient about cancer and if I've learned anything over the last 3 weeks, it's that even if you don't have a room full of cheerleaders, they are still there with you in spirit and truuuuuust me, you most definitely can still hear and feel their cheers and support...even if it's coming from a billion miles away.

So at the end of the day, I think you need to pick whichever place will allow you to raise the MOST amount of money...whether that's Atlanta with it's lower travel costs, a bigger team and the fact that it's during breast cancer awareness month OR San Diego where you have more time to raise $$ and less people cutting into your fundraising base. I'm also a big proponent of following your gut...even if what you're gut is telling you isn't necessarily what you OR what other people want to do.

Regardless of what you choose, I'm REEEEALLY glad you're doing it again!

My husband pointed out that while all of that is true… getting the BEST possible experience out of the event (whatever that is, whether it’s scenery or cheerleaders or weather) is what is going to make people come back year after year, and raise more money over the long haul.

All of which means, I’m more confuzzled than ever. My gut says Atlanta. My heart says San Diego. My head says there’s not a WRONG choice. But I want to make sure we pick the MOST RIGHT choice.  And, that I don't let anyone down.  Which probably isn't possible.

The $25 registration discount expires at the end of the month… so I plan to make a decision in the next week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So You Think You Wanna Do A 3-Day, eh?

Over the past few weeks I've been talking to a lot of people who are contemplating doing the SGK Breast Cancer 3-Day this year.  So I thought I'd create a little rundown of what you need to know if you're thinking of joining my (or anyone else's) team.  So here we go:

1.  It will change your life.  Being a part of something THAT big and THAT amazing is an incredible experience.

2.  It takes time.  That to me was the hardest part.  You don't walk 60 miles without training for it.  And training for it means you have to be willing to give up some family time.   It also means getting up early.  Here are the key things I learned about training:

- Make sure your family is supportive.  If you have a spouse, make sure they are on board and willing to pitch in with the things you're going to be too tired to do.  If you have kids, make sure they can be covered, and will be ok with you being around a little less for a while.  My husband and daughter were AMAZING.  But a 13 year old definitely requres less maintenance than a 3 year old does.

- Stick to the training schedule.  SGK lays out a 16 week or 24 week training schedule.  (I do the 24)  You have to BLOCK that time out on your calendar.  There's some flexibility on what days you do things, but plan for short walks 3 days during the week and long walks on Saturdays and Sundays.  Short Walks start at 45min-1hour (3 miles) and get longer as the event gets closer.  Long walks start around 2 hours and by the end take up the better part of your Saturday.  Saturday walks are longer than Sunday.  Click here to see the 24 week training schedule and make sure it's something that fits into your life.

- Proper shoes and clothes aren't negotiable.  More on that in a minute.

Now... if you miss a day, is it the end of the world?  Absolutely not.  But if your intentions are good and you are focused, you're going to be on schedule more than you're going to be off.  And you'll be fine.  And I'll be first to admit I did pretty much ZERO cross training on the schedule.  But I did at least 80% of those long weekend walks.  And I walked ALL 60 miles.

3.  It takes money. 

- There's a $90 registration fee (currently a $25 discount good through the end of the month, so let's make up our minds already!)

- There is a $2300 fundraising minimum.  This is a BIG, BOLD event.  It's meant for those who are dedicated to the belief that "Everyone Deserves A Lifetime."  Don't let the fundraising scare you.  Especially considering that you're thinking about this in February.  Plenty of time!  I'm looking at a late fall walk, so if you break it down it's less than $300 a month to raise.  Trust me, we're going to get it done.  EVERYONE on my team will meet their minimum and then some.

- In addition to the money raised for the cause, you'll need 2 pairs of good shoes, at least 6 pairs of athletic socks, 3 pairs of athletic pants, and a waist pack.  We'll do team shirts to walk in.  After you sign up, you're going to be telling everyone you know that you're doing this, and hopefully everyone you know is going to get you gift cards to Fleet Feet for your birthday / mother's day, etc.

*I have seed money for t-shirts.  We'll also sell t-shirts as a fundraiser this year.*

- Unfortunately, there's not a walk in Nashville.  (Yet?)  So there are also travel costs involved depending on where we decide to walk.

That's the 3 biggies.  I have learned a LOT from my first 3-Day last year, in Washington D.C.  And I can't wait to do it again!  The benefits far outweigh the downsides (like that 5:30am alarm on Saturday), and I LOVE that my daughter gets to see her mom doing something THIS cool. 

One other key thing I took in from last year's experience:  You have to be big and bold about TELLING people you're doing this.  If you don't tell them, they don't know, and they won't donate to you.  They may even donate to someone else.  I raised the majority of my money through Facebook.  No lie.  And then once I met my minumum (and then some!) I was able to donate my share of team fundraising activities to help my teammates meet theirs.  And the earlier you start with the fundraising, the sooner you'll meet your minium and be able to focus on the training part.  And that is a HUGE blessing.

Music City Spirit will be traveling to either Atlanta (October 21-23) or San Diego (November 18-20) this year.  The requirements to join the team are pretty simple:  You have to participate in team fundraisers in order to benefit from them, you have to represent Music City with pride, and you have to get along with me.  :-)

So... who's in?  And where are we going to go?