Boosterthon Fun Run

We’re Throwing a Giant Party For YOU (on Facebook) from May 26-28

Congratulations! Another successful school year is complete, and a “thank you” celebration is in order. We’re so grateful to have served you this year.

And what better way to say thank you than with a giant party we like to call BoosterFest–our 5th annual online festival of games, contests, prizes AND sneak peeks of next year’s theme!

Boosterfest

Join us from May 26-28 on our Facebook page for a whole lot of festival fun!

To say THANK YOU, you’ll experience:

–   Fun contests with gift card giveaways
–   Encouraging stories from the year
–   Behind-the-scenes photos
–   The release of next year’s giveback initiative
–   And … The BIG REVEAL of our 2015-16 character theme!

It’s going to be an awesome 3 days of celebration, so make sure you give our page a “like” to get updates, enter contests, view sneak peeks, and countdown to the BIG REVEAL of next year’s theme.

It all starts on Tuesday morning. See you all at BoosterFest!

Tortoise Breaks Fun Run Lap Record at Arizona Boosterthon

It’s a beautiful morning in Scottsdale, AZ, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School kicks off its Boosterthon Fun Run. With game faces on, students are ready to run laps and help their school.

But among the crowd of runners, there is one “student” who stands out from the rest. He’s 3 ½ years old, short, and loves books, because he basically lives in the school library.

TURBO PLAY HARDWe’d like to introduce you to Boosterthon’s slowest-moving, but most determined runner ever – “Turbo Tortilla,” an African Spur Thighed Tortoise.

Let’s meet this unassuming athlete. Ms. Jennifer Marshall, a library aide at OLPH, is Turbo’s primary caregiver and says students love him. In the past, students have been rewarded with “Turbo Time” outside and love reading on the grass while he wanders around grazing.

Because this little guy is such a huge part of the school community, Ms. Marshall came up with the idea to include Turbo in the Fun Run. All that was needed was a track, pledges, and one very determined tortoise – and OLPH had all three.

Ms. Marshall made Turbo his own Speedway out of black, red and blue presentation boards. The infield was decorated with the Boosterthon logo and motivational phrases like, “Go Turbo” and “Help Our School.”

Are you ready for this? Turbo raised $754 for his school and had 51 sponsors, including the principal, pastor, teachers, students, friends, and other employees of this parish community. It would have been difficult for some of these sponsors to pick just one OLPH student to sponsor, so Turbo provided a great way for them to support a “runner.”

Ms. Marshall says, “I’m not surprised that Turbo received as much support as he did – he really is the perfect athlete for this type of event because he loves to be outside in the Arizona sun and his humble and quiet demeanor has won the hearts of many in our community.”

Every runner needs a little motivation, so Ms. Marshall used lettuce on a string to guide Turbo around the track – and a few stops for eating helped reward him for his effort. This year, he ran an amazing 20 laps, beating his record of 11 laps last year. Apparently, his motto was “Slow and steady may be good for some, but I just like to run, run, run!” Last year Turbo raised about $500, but this year, he dusted his old record.

Keep training, Turbo. We’ll see you again next year!


Check out this “quick” video of Turbo in the heat of the race at the Boosterthon Fun Run.

Who’s the 2014-15 Most Influential Boosterthon Teacher? Facebook Speaks.

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day!

For the past 35 years, America has declared a day to recognize some of the most influential people in our lives – teachers! So, we wanted to spread the love today and do something special.

On our Facebook page, we asked parents and educators to nominate teachers who have made a difference in their lives this school year. The task was simple—rave about your favorite teacher. People from all across the country responded with local teachers who are teaching and loving the next generation beyond the call of duty. They posted pictures, called out their strengths, and shared stories. There are too many to name on the blog (a great thing!), but we’d like to celebrate a handful of them below.

(You can read the full list here) Let the inspiration begin!

 

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Ms. Kelli Edge Beaty – 2nd grade, Great Bridge Primary in Chesapeake, VA 

“She puts her students first no matter what! She is known for her soft-spoken, kind-hearted personality that brings out the best in all children. She believes in her students and helps them believe in themselves.” – Carrie Suzanne

M. Webb

 

Ms. Melissa Webb Walton – 1st grade, Northport Elementary School in Northport, AL

“She is the most exuberant teacher, filled with passion for her 1st grade students. She equips them to be fantastic students and teaches them to believe in themselves.” – Jenny Dansby

 

Stacey FreemanMs. Stacy Freeman – 2nd grade, McNeal Elementary in Bradenton, FL

“She teaches ‘amplify others’ by being a positive influence and setting a great example. She ‘plugs in to serve’ by going above and beyond in the classroom with special projects for her students and for the school. She ‘plays hard’ because she’s always on the go with her three teenagers in competitive soccer. ‘Thanking her crowd’ comes second nature and it rubs off on her students! Mrs. Freeman is a treasure to our school and community!” – Monica Thomas

 

Mr. Eric Tyree – 4th grade, Chocachatti Elementary in Brooksville, FL.

“He spends hours working on fun ways for children to learn. He planned a grade wide egg hunt with math problems inside. Every time I walk into his classroom the kids are having fun learning. They are either racing to the board to answer the question first or working in groups – leaning is always fun!” – Sara Lee Chase

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Mrs. Amber Kohl – 1st grade, Lookout Mountain School in Phoenix, AZ.

“She is patient when necessary, tough when needed, and most importantly cares so much about each and every student! She makes sure all students are prepared and ready for the next school year – not only in education but emotionally ready for what life may throw at them.” – Tiffany Odle

 

Mrs. DMs. Tara Desrosier – Kindergarten, Blankner School K-8 in Orlando, FL.

“She is an inspirational leader and teacher and has touched our family’s life. She has several special needs students in her class and she takes them under her wing. Before our daughter was in her class she didn’t talk and was delayed. Ms. Desrosier was able to break through and now my daughter is learning how to read. She is the greatest teacher ever!” – Michael and Kay O’Hara

Thank you to every teacher for the countless hours of hard work and sincere care for the students in your classroom. You are changing the world by educating a generation. THANK YOU!


A special congratulations to Ms. Tara Desrosier for being the Boosterthon Teacher Appreciation Day Winner!

Whether it’s on our Facebook page or somewhere else, give a teacher a shout out today. It’s the perfect day!

 

Is Our Music Video Talking Directly to YOU? It Did To This Boosterthon Teacher

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 11.19.40 AMEver listen to the radio and hear a song that just seems to speak to you? The message was exactly what you needed to hear and the rhythm gave you a well deserved pick-me-up. Well, for Jami Carter, a Boosterthon teacher at Meadow Glen Elementary in Lexington, SC, a song did more than just speak to her as an educator—it also said her name.

Imagine Mrs. Carter’s surprise when on the second day of Boosterthon Team Huddles, her 4th graders gather to watch the “Plug In To Serve” character music video and hear these first lyrics:

It all started with my teacher Mrs. Carter. One day she said, ‘Alone’s always harder. If we serve other people and we work as a team, well, it’s just a whole lot smarter.’

As the video unfolds, the students discover that not only does the teacher in the music video share Mrs. Carter’s name, but also her desire for her students to develop a love for serving others.

So, I spoke to her to learn if anything has changed in her students’ behavior or attitude since.

Q: How did your class react to you having the same name as the teacher in the music video?

A: “My class was excited to hear ‘Mrs. Carter’ in the music video. They talked about it all day and the connection boosted them to want to do more for others. It was excellent motivation and is still a funny joke between us.”

Q: Prior to Boosterthon, was serving others something your class focused on?

A: “My class displays this characteristic every day. They are helpful to one another and also to those in the school. I have small groups that occasionally volunteer their own recess time to help our housekeeping staff in the cafeteria after lunch. ‘Plug In To Serve’ seemed to be directed straight to my class because they are always helpful, but this lesson added fuel to their fire!”

Mrs. Carter and a group of Meadow Glen teachers show their Rock'N Town Live enthusiasm to inspire students!

Mrs. Carter and a group of Meadow Glen teachers show their Rock’N Town Live enthusiasm to inspire students!

Q: Do you have any examples of what you mean by adding “fuel to their fire?”

A: “What I found to be interesting is that during Boosterthon my students began to seek out individual ways to serve. I have had several students take on their own individual projects like raising money for research or shaving their hair for cancer awareness.”

Q: It’s so great to hear that they help others outside of their classroom communities. What’s something you all do as a class to help each other at school?

A: “We complete a project that helps students identify fears and set goals about reaching fifth grade. As we work through this project, we learn that we all have similar fears. We take this a step further by learning how we can help each other overcome these fears.”

Q: How do you plan to keep your students motivated to serve throughout the remainder of the school year and after they leave your class?

A: “I plan to keep my students motivated by setting an example so the students see how serving others is a way of life that brings happiness to those being served and to yourself for reaching out and making a difference. I hope that with my teaching and through the lessons received at school and through programs like Boosterthon, students are motivated to make serving others a permanent character trait.”

Mrs. Carter, thank you for being an amazing teacher. In the words of the song, I know your 4th graders would all say, Thanks, Mrs. C., for investing in me. Now I’ll pay it forward so that others can see!


Watch the Boosterthon music video that inspired Mrs. Carter’s class even further to put others first and serve where there’s a need.

5 Colorful Conversations That Bring Character To Your Home

We love the chatter that goes on between students and teachers about our character lessons at school. What can we do to serve people more? What words can we use to amplify others? And as much fun as it is to listen to these in-school discussions, it’s even more fun when we hear that families bring up our character lessons at home—especially around the dinner table.

We thought we’d give our families another healthy way to approach dinner conversation and the meal.

Here are some suggested conversation starters and healthy food pairings that go along with the color for each character lesson from our partners at the Together Counts™ program. So, while your family is discussing how they can “Listen for Feedback” (orange), everyone can enjoy a slice of cantaloupe!

Check out these great healthy and delicious fruit options:

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1.   Strawberries (“Play Hard”)
– This deliciously sweet fruit is among the best source of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. After your family “plays hard” with a game of tag or front yard football, grab a handful of these for a refreshing snack!

Conversation Starter: “What are fun ways our family can exercise together?”

 

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2.   Cantaloupe, (“Listen for Feedback”) – Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin C and E, perfect for a delicious and nutritious boost of energy in your day!

Conversation Starter: “What’s one interesting thing you learned today that you would have missed if you weren’t listening? Are you glad you listened and learned?”

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3.   Banana (“Amplify Others”)
– Bananas are full of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and fiber! Eat these whole, cut into slices in a fruit salad, or even in a fun lunch, like a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Conversation Starter: “Let’s go around the table and tell each family member one reason we think they’re awesome. I’ll start…”

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 4.   Blueberries (“Plug in to Serve”) Packed with fiber and antioxidants, these berries are a great treat by themselves, served over oatmeal or ice cream, or even mixed into a smoothie.

Conversation Starter: “Our family is going to serve others this month. Let’s think of some people or organizations we can help! Who has an idea?”

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5.   Kiwi (“Thank your Crowd”)
– This sweet and tangy fruit is packed with potassium and rich in vitamin C and E! With summer days approaching, this is a great, cool fruit for the whole family to enjoy!

Conversation Starter: “Let’s grab a paper and pens and each write a thank you note to someone who means a lot to us. Decorate the cards however you like, and then we’ll head to the post office to mail them off!”

 


Raising funds for your school? Profit 70% more with Boosterthon’s character and fitness-based fundraiser, designed for America’s top schools. Contact us today!

Helping Kids Be Kids: How Boosterthon’s Giveback Program Will Impact Military Families

KidFit-LOGOIn every community, there are families who know a little more about what it means to sacrifice. These are the military families—the families who make the hard decision to trade time with their family to serve our great country. When a parent is deployed, and everyone is counting time until their soldier returns home, children, especially, can need a necessary (and fun) distraction. So this year, to support military families across the U.S., Boosterthon is partnering with Our Military Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in military families stay happy and healthy with activities.

But instead of me telling you how military families benefit from Our Military Kids, I’m going to introduce you to two Boosterthon moms who have received Our Military Kids scholarships and let them tell you themselves.

Debra Kerr is the PTA President at Rustic Oak Elementary in Pearland, TX, and received an Our Military Kids grant when her husband was deployed. Her husband, Gary Kerr, is a Lt. Colonel in the USAF/ANG and has been deployed 6 times during his 30 years of service.

campzoo_logo1Deployment is always difficult, but Lt. Colonel Kerr’s most recent 6-month deployment to Kuwait took the greatest toll on their family, especially their children. Debra says, at ages 5 and 7, their children felt the impact of their dad’s absence, but were still a little too young to understand why he was gone for so long. When Our Military Kids presented the Kerr family with a scholarship, both children were able to attend Zoo Camp, which helped break up the monotony of anticipating their father’s return. What Debra loved the most was that “it put a smile on my children’s faces and gave them an experience they could be proud of!”

April Getz, the librarian at Carmel Christian School in Charlotte, NC, also received a scholarship. Her husband, Major Jeff Getz, was deployed with the 203rd RED HORSE squadron (a heavy construction unit) of the Virginia Air National Guard. He was stationed in and around Afghanistan for a period of eight months, some of which was during the summer, a season precious to their family. “My husband always plans wonderful summer vacations for our family, so that summer was especially hard for my sons,” she said.

Aviation_Challenge_2011_web_logoOur Military Kids stepped in and provided scholarships to the Getz family and turned what could have been a long summer into a time for their children to develop their interests. Their youngest son, Bryson, went to a camp at Johnson and Wales, a culinary institute in Charlotte, NC, where he learned from professional chefs and met other students who enjoyed cooking and baking. Their oldest son, Evan, was able to attend Aviation Challenge, a part of the United States Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. He learned teamwork and leadership skills with other teens across the country who had an interest in aviation. Mrs. Getz is so thankful for the program and says, “Our Military Kids gave my children something to talk about when they Skyped with their dad, and let them know that other people cared about them while their dad was away.”

We are very proud to partner with this great organization and we are halfway to our $25,000 goal!


Check out this video to learn more about the Boosterthon “KidFit Salute” initiative with Our Military Kids. 

Your Spring Break “Stay-cation” Survival Guide

Spring is here, which means Spring Break is right around the corner for our schools. Some families are gearing up to go out-of-town, while others have opted for a “stay-cation” and are trying to avoid the dreaded, “Mom, I’m boooored.” So, if you’re planning to stay at home with your children this Spring Break, here are a few fun activities that could make the week come alive.

1. Gardening Day: Spring is a great time to watch things grow! Whether you have a large backyard, a small garden container, or one flowerpot, pick out flowers or vegetables and plant them with your family. This is also a great opportunity for learning even when school is out. And who knows, you may discover that one of your children has a green thumb! Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 3.03.08 PM

2. Backyard Camping: Grab your sleeping bags, flashlights, and, of course a tent, and turn your backyard into the greatest campsite ever! No cell phones, laptops, or handheld games allowed, just your family and the good ol’ outdoors. Make sure to fire up the grill for hotdogs or hamburgers and remember no campout is complete without s’mores for dessert! For added fun, tell campfire stories and make shadow puppets using the flashlights.

3.  Family Picnic: If you like the idea of being outdoors, but aren’t a huge fun of sleeping outside, try a family picnic during the day instead. Pack a large blanket and a basket full of sandwiches, fruit and healthy snacks, and take your family to a local park. You could even bring a Frisbee or kite and enjoy the beautiful weather after you finish eating! 

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 1.35.42 PM4.  Red Carpet Movie Night: Rent a movie (or two) that your family has wanted to see and make it a red carpet event! Set up a red carpet in your living room (you can find these at your local party store) and have everyone dress up! Take paparazzi photos, have a mock interview and pretend you’re there for the big premiere. Then relax and enjoy the movie with the ones you love and a big bowl of popcorn!

5.  Decorate Easter Eggs: We can’t forget an activity for the creative families. Decorating Easter eggs is a great way for children to us their imagination to create awesome designs. Not only will this be a fun activity to work on together, but it can also be used to proudly display their hard work!

6.  Host a Family-Run Boosterthon Fun Run: Whether indoors or out, the main ingredients are:

–   Fun, upbeat music
–   A track (no matter the size or shape)
–   Runners
–   Water
–   Energy!

Cheer on your children as they run and have a blast. Set a lap goal and try to hit it, but the most important thing is to have fun, be safe, and let out some energy. See how this family hosted their own Boosterthon – ->  (Lemonade in the Living Room)

So, Spring Break doesn’t have to mean going on a vacation. Whether you try one of these activities or come up with a new one on your own, we hope your family enjoys a fun-filled Spring Break “stay-cation” together!

How to Make Your Boosterthon Last a Year

Even though the Boosterthon is a 9-day program, one school has made it last a full year. Here’s how.

Six Mile Elementary in Six Mile, SC, makes our character theme their own, not when the Boosterthon program kicks off but when the school year starts. And they’ve been doing it for the past 3 years. If you walked through the hallways of Six Mile in August, you’d spot Boosterthon’s character lessons on t-shirts, hear them on the daily announcements, and championed at monthly breakfasts and at quarterly pep rallies. Mr A

I spoke to Principal Alexander about a few ways his school is implementing the Rock’n Town Live character lessons throughout the school year. Here’s what he said.

1. “Amplify Others.” Six Mile, home of the Eagles, has a “Best of the Nest” board displayed in the front office. This is a great way to practice “Amplifying Others” because students who are seen displaying the character trait of the month will have his or her name displayed on the board.

2. “Play Hard.” Students are also encouraged to be active whenever possible. The school has a morning fitness program led by its PE teacher. Most mornings, when the weather is nice, students get to start the day off walking the track.

3. “Plug In To Serve.” Students have service-learning opportunities with each grade participating in projects like giving Christmas toys or canned goods to children and families in need.

Principal Alexander said it’s great how the school sets up ways for students to experience the character lessons, but it’s incredibly rewarding when teachers see students live them out on their own. And this led to one of the most memorable moments he’s experienced as a principal.

On the day of the Boosterthon Fun Run, after all the Kindergarteners through 5th grade students finished running, they held a Fun Run just for the 4-year-olds. But it was late in the day and the crowd of cheering parents had long gone home.

The youngest students needed a cheering squad.

“Before I knew it,” he explains, “the track was lined with cheering fifth graders. It was a wonderful scene of what it means to ‘Amplify Others,’ especially those who need it most.” He was so proud of his school and for the 5th graders’ desire to support the 4-year-old class.

Months before the Boosterthon Fun Run, the 5th graders were learning to Amplify Others, and they seized a great opportunity to put it into action on their own.

11045335_337541043122701_6242209863034626138_nPrincipal Alexander says, “By applying the Boosterthon character lessons before and after the program, the students know what to expect and have already made it a part of their culture. The 9-day Boosterthon experience is simply an extension and highlight of what we strive for daily at SME.”

So what can your school do to make the Boosterthon character theme a year-round presence? Principal Alexander encourages you to “be intentional, plan ahead and don’t make Boosterthon an isolated event. Team up and make it a vital part of your culture.”

So, will your school take the challenge? Simply plan ahead and watch from Fall to Summer how your students grow into better, more caring leaders.

Lawson Tucker Dances Like No One’s Watching

One of our school’s favorite things about the Boosterthon is that it’s high-energy and interactive! While most students enjoy the music at pep rallies and cheering at the Fun Run, for some students, the energy actually makes it a little harder to enjoy the experience.image1

Meet Lawson Tucker, a 4th grader at Flowood Elementary in Flowood, MS. He’s a fun-loving 11-year-old who enjoys swimming, riding his scooter, and playing video games. He also loves spending time with his older brother, Hunter!

At the age of 3, Lawson was diagnosed with autism and struggles with social and functional communication and sensor sensitivity that leads to frustration and anxiety when he is over stimulated. Even if he wants to participate in something (like a festival or amusement park) the music, cheering and dancing can overwhelm Lawson’s senses. And that’s what happened during Lawson’s first year as a Boosterthon student. He was so excited to participate, but had to overcome some obstacles. He was unable to participate in the Pep Rally, and though he ran a few laps at the Boosterthon Fun Run, he had to cover his ears.

His parents saw how much he wanted to be a part of the program and it was the perfect opportunity to help their son participate in the same activities as his non-disabled peers. As a family, they worked on desensitizing techniques and home therapy during the summer. Lawson excelled in therapy, and by the time the Boosterthon came back to Flowood Elementary the following year, he was ready to go!

Year two was much better than the first, and although he still covered his ears at times, he was able to attend the entire Pep Rally. He ran 18 laps at the Fun Run event, and he was even spotted dancing! His mother, Becky, says, “I understand that most people won’t see the significance in that, but for Lawson, and our family, this was a really big deal! He was so happy and proud of himself!image3

And just when you’d think Lawson has reached his limit, he exceeds everyone’s expectations. At this year’s Boosterthon Pep Rally (now year 3 as a Boosterthon student), Lawson danced like no one was watching! He sang and cheered, and didn’t cover his ears. He also raised $53 per lap in pledges and ran the entire 35 laps with a friend by his side – that’s over $1800 for his school!

The Boosterthon has been something he looks forward to ever year, and it gives him an outlet to feel proud of himself and of his accomplishments!

In giving advice to other parents of special needs children, Lawson’s parents say, “never stop encouraging your children to participate in things that would allow them to have social interaction with children of all abilities. I know that’s easier said than done, but if you can find what motivates them and provide them with constant positive reinforcement- regardless of their level of participation- then you’ve opened the door for them to build confidence and (hopefully) a desire to have more social interaction and build friendships. Social skills are probably the hardest to teach, but for a child like Lawson, they are the key to his future independence.”

Lawson, we are so proud of how far you’ve come. You are an inspiration to so many people. Keep dancing!


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Meet Christopher, another amazing special needs student who shines during the Boosterthon! We are so proud of him and all of our Boosterthon students.

 

Boosterthon’s President Inspires Future American Presidents

I love President’s Day because I love America! I’m thankful for all of our Presidents and their ability to govern, lead, serve and sacrifice for our great nation. It’s a tough, lonely, thankless job that is scrutinized by all, but here’s what’s amazing about it: any child could become it. We aren’t a monarchy; we elect our officials.

And I’d like to think that this year, as Boosterthon serves over 900,000 students, one of them is a future President. It’s not outside the realm of possibility. I’d like to think that in a 3rd grade class somewhere in America (like my daughter’s for instance) the future President of 2066 is hearing a character lesson like “Plug In To Serve,” and is inspired to serve others. IMG_5561

It’s fun and challenging to wake up knowing our program and team are making an immediate impact by serving schools and helping raise funds, all while inspiring the next generation of leaders—and maybe even a future President!

My favorite example of service is our first President, George Washington. After winning the War of Independence, he surrendered his power (though nearly everyone wanted him to be king) and in doing so went back to private life and resumed being a farmer. This unselfish act of giving up power has served our nation then and for the past two centuries as one President after another surrenders power to the next administration of public servants who will lead us.

Last year, I had the honor and privilege of teaching my daughter’s class about Washington’s Delaware crossing in a fun and memorable way. I hope our next generation of leaders learn to love daring acts of service.

Happy President’s Day to all – – and especially to a future American President’s parents who are reading this!

Chris Carneal
Founder, President of Boosterthon

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