March 17, 2011
My idea of a good time does not include asking complete strangers for money. But yet, my last few weeks have been filled with this activity. Why? No, it is not for the earthquake relief. (Which is a valuable honorable cause-check out this Kiwi Blog and this Japanese blog for inspiration.) The damage done in both of those places is unimaginable. Instead, I have been focused on gathering donations for a community faire.
Every fall my youngest daughter’s Kindergarten (3-6 years in NZ) hosts an old-fashioned Harvest Fair. I am in charge of the gift basket and silent raffles. It is a solid money-maker. I had no idea how much time I would spend worrying and thinking about who and how to approach this. Many businesses say “Yes, I’ll think about it.” then “Yes, come back after I thought about what to donate”, then “Ohhh, sorry, I’m not ready yet”. It can take four to five trips to get one donation.
This is just one small part of the faire. All forty families put hours of time, effort and money into the event. This year we hope to raise $8000 for a new playground. This is only $200 each family. The effort involved is tremendous. So, why, oh why, do we do this?
My normal life and business have been put on hold the last few weeks to focus on this project. Is this the best use of my time? Really?
I thought about this for a while and have come to this conclusion: The faire is not only about a new playground. It is an event.
A community event.
It is the place where people usually first discover our playcircles, kindy and home school groups.
It is a vibrant Sunday afternoon where the community can learn about bee keeping, and knitting. Children play old-fashioned games like “Henny Penny” and “White Knight” and “Humpty Dumpty”. There is local music, dancing. There is also a little cafe, storytelling tent, craft tables for children. Visitors can buy from homemade stalls with local goods and produce. It is a place to sit on the grass while your children run and you talk to your neighbors, your community. Your children can have a cup of tea with a fairy.
So, yes I am overwhelmed thought of the set up, work on the day and clean up. I am overwhelmed by the paper work and shifting of tents and tables and signs. I am over being courageous as I enter my 6th winery asking for a donation, but I will do it.
Because this is not just a fundraiser, it is a fun-raiser!
I want to live in a community that throws parties, that builds wholesome memories for its children. I am responsible for creating the childhood that I wish my children to experience. So, when and if a disaster strikes I have no regrets about how I lived my life. And when and if a disaster strikes, I might know how to work together with my community.
I’ve decided that it is a worthwhile cause…