Boosterthon Fun Run

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

Meet the Smallest Teacher’s Assistant Ever

If you were to peak inside Mrs. McMahon’s first grade classroom at Olde Providence Elementary in Charlotte, NC, you’d never guess who you’d see by the teacher’s side. She’s 2 feet tall, has black yarn hair, and makes learning a lot of fun.

juliel.mcmahon@cms.k12.nc.usMeet Sunny, Mrs. McMahon’s outgoing, bubbly and sometimes sassy classroom puppet! From reading books to teaching lessons, Sunny is Mrs. McMahon’s right-hand “teaching assistant” (well, actually Sunny’s controlled by her left hand.) Sunny was passed down to Mrs. McMahon from her mother-in-law and quickly became a part of her daily teaching style.

For instance, when school started in August, each first grader brought an “it’s all about me” bag to introduce themselves to their classmates. Sunny came fully equipped with her “it’s all about me” bag too and shared her favorite book, favorite toy and even her favorites shoes (which happened to belong to Mrs. McMahon). The students quickly saw how much fun learning was going to be with Sunny and Mrs. McMahon.

But what prompted Mrs. McMahon to incorporate the puppet into the classroom? She explains, “My students love toys, and this was a way to bring in a toy without distracting from the learning process.” In fact, Sunny is a great focusing tool. “When my students lose interest, Sunny is there to boost their energy and attention back to the learning topic.”

And when the Boosterthon team came on campus, Sunny, of course, participated too. She wore a Boosterthon shirt, was introduced at the Pep Rally and attended the daily Team Huddles. Mrs. McMahon’s class even gave themselves the band name “Sunny’s Star Students.”

And on the Boosterthon Fun Run day, Sunny cheered while the students ran around the Speedway and helped mark the t-shirt lap counters.

Through every interaction with Sunny, Mrs. McMahon wants her students to see their potential and be the best they can be. She says, “Everything Sunny does engages my students, builds their confidence, and allows them to have a fun and unique interactive learning experience.”

Mrs. McMahon, thank you for being an awesome inspiration to your students and finding creative ways to make learning so much fun! I’m sure they’ll hold these 1st grade memories throughout their entire educational experience!


Puppet-Collection-w-Scissors-e1302800439986Bring puppetry to your home or classroom with one of these fun Do-It-Yourself puppet crafts:

Sock Puppets
Paper Bag Puppets
Stick Puppets

Joining Your PTA/O? Learn From a 6-year PTA Veteran Before You Do

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Kellie Boomershine speaking to students at Beech Hill Elementary School’s Career Day.

Joining your school’s PTA/O is a wonderful way to get more involved in your community and shape your student’s educational experience. Whether you’re hoping to volunteer more or you just threw your name in the hat for president, here are some encouraging thoughts from a 6-year PTA veteran who’s been in your shoes.

Kellie Boomershine is the PTA president at Beech Hill Elementary in Summerville, SC, and says that your first year as a PTA member can be THE most exciting year. Here’s why:

1.    You’re constantly learning. You’ll learn more about the school than you can imagine and you’ll see how your efforts, ideas, and initiatives directly benefit the school and your child.

2.    You’re building more relationships. You spend so much time working with the students and teachers that they begin to feel like family.

3.    You’ll have a new level of appreciation. You realize just how much the previous PTA members have done for the school, and you will be so excited to be a part of the new opportunities to come.

And for those who are thinking about moving up in leadership, Kelly says there are 3 reminders to keep telling yourself:

1.    Don’t over commit. Your time on the board should be fun and enjoyable, but it is very easy to over extend yourself. Know your schedule and time commitment. Create boundaries if necessary.

2.    Know you’re appreciated. Often times you’ll want early feedback on programs the PTA has put into effect, but life is busy. Remember that your work is valuable and appreciated even when you may not hear a “thank you” right away.

3.    Don’t be afraid to speak up and offer new ideas. This can be scary (especially at schools with long traditions), but just because something has always been done doesn’t mean it’s the right way or the best way. Whether things change or remain the same, new options are always worth exploring.

Being a member of the PTA can be a challenging but fun experience. The greatest reward is seeing the excitement on a child’s face when he/she is enjoying something the PTA has dreamed up!


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What’s your PTA personality? 
Take this quirky quiz to find out what you (and everyone else) are up against  :)

TAKE THE QUIZ. (Don’t forget to share!)

29 Fun “Pledge Secrets” That Help You Help Your School

PledgeSecrets

Over the years, we’ve seen that families who get the most pledges usually do so by asking LOTS of people in their social network. They’ve discovered that friends and family are more than eager to support your student and your school. You just have to ask!

PledgeSecret-2

A good old fashioned phone call is still the best way to ask for a pledge, but we’ve seen families do a lot of creative things to get the word out. Check out these Pledge Secrets below to boost your pledges, earn more rewards, and help your school.

As a family . . .

1.    Make a video asking for a pledge. Share it on Facebook, Vine, or Youtube.

2.    Run in the Boosterthon Fun Run before? Ask your previous sponsors for a pledge. This is the BEST place to start!

3.   Always tell sponsors what the funds will be used for.

4.   Group text 5 work friends asking for a pledge.

5.   Do you have a favorite store? Ask the manager for a business sponsorship.

6.   Post on your blog asking for a pledge.

7.   Facetime or Skype with relatives.

8.   Tweet your pledge link.

9.   Make a family video using your smartphone. Send it in a text message.

10. Email ten people asking for a pledge. Use the share function on funrun.com.

11.   Take a family Instagram asking for a pledge.

12.   Email, tweet, or Facebook a link to this video asking for a pledge. Sponsors can see how much fun the Boosterthon is.

13.   Use the “Helium Video Booth” app on iPhone or Android to ask for a pledge in a chipmunk or bear voice. Text your silly video to a few family friends.

14.   Contact the people on your holiday card list.

15.    Get a pledge from five different states.

16.    Ask your dentist.

17.    Ask your doctor.

18.    Ask your CPA.

19.    Ask your realtor.

20.   Ask your insurance agent.

21.    Ask your hair stylist.

22.   Ask your veterinarian.

23.   Ask your dry cleaners.

24.   Ask your tutor.

25.   Ask your art, music, or piano teacher.

26.   Ask your Scout leader.

27.   Ask a college friend (sorority sister, fraternity brother, etc.)

28.   Ask your golf or tennis friends.

29.   Ask your sports coach.


Do you have a unique way your family asked for pledges? We want to feature it as a Pledge Secret! Email Noel at info@boosterthon.com and put “Pledge Secret” in the subject line.

Is This The Year Your Family Serves Together? Dr. King Gives You A Pep Talk On His Birthday

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Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and on Monday we will recognize his contribution to America.

Known for his amazing speeches and inspirational quotes, one is sticking out to us today.

king“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

We love how he makes serving so simple, and in fact, it’s similar to what our team teaches Boosterthon students through our “Plug in to Serve” character trait this year – put the needs of others before your own, in big or small ways, and at any age.

So in a continued spirit of serving, and as a reminder that anyone can serve, here are a few ways to get your family started:

 

1. Make goody bags for people in need. Be sure to include water, snacks, and toiletries. You can even personalize it by writing an encouraging note.

2. Volunteer your time. If you don’t have a charity in mind, take some time to discuss what matters to your family. The environment? Hunger? Education? Then research organizations and sign up to volunteer at your local chapter.

865372673. Participate in a 5K. Once you find an organization (or pick a new one), look for an upcoming charity walk/run. You’ll support a cause and enjoy family fitness all at the same time!

4. Donate. Sort through and gather your new or gently-worn clothing, and donate them to an organization such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.

5. Write letters to soldiers overseas. Write an encouraging note to the men and women who serve our country. Organizations such as Adopt a US Soldier can help connect you to a soldier.

6. Visit a Nursing Home. Decorate a card or draw a picture, and visit a local nursing home. Share your smile and happiness to elderly men and women.

By serving others, we have the power to change the world!


 

More inspirational quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

-  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”

-  “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

-  “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”

Ever Been To An Indoor Boosterthon Fun Run? 5 Things You’ll Need To Know.

Brrrr! It’s cold outside, so we’re taking all the fun of the Boosterthon inside! In many ways, some schools enjoy an indoor Fun Run even more. indoor funrun

So, here are 5 things you’ll notice when you cheer on your student this winter, plus a few helpful parent tips.

1.   Smaller Track: Most gyms fit just one track (whereas a field would hold two). We’ve shrunk the size of the Boosterthon track without taking away the exciting elements of our larger setup.

2.   Run Time: Instead of 30 minutes, each Fun Run will last 15 minutes. But, students will still be able to complete their 30-35 lap goal. 

3.   Even More Cheering: Because of the track size and time, half of the students will run for the first 15 minutes, while the other half will cheer on their classmates!
Then, they’ll switch so each group gets to both cheer and run.

Parent Tip:
Even though we’re indoors, still bring your signs and banners to cheer on your student.

4.   Water Stations: No need to worry about slipping because we do not set up a water station indoors. Instead, students will be given time to use the school water fountains.Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.29.27 PM

Parent Tip: If you bring water into the gym, make sure it’s in a closed top bottle!

5.   Indoor Soundtrack: Some things don’t change whether you’re inside or outside. We’ll still feature the same upbeat songs students love to run to.  Be prepared to sing and dance throughout the run!

Parent Tip: If you take pictures, be sure to use #Boosterthon on Facebook and Instagram


Is this your first time experiencing the Boosterthon Fun Run? Here’s a quick video of what it’s all about. 

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10 Festive Facts About the Songs You’re Singing Right Now

The Boosterthon team loves music (we get requests for our Fun Run soundtrack all the time) and we love to teach (some of the most fun we have is teaching character lessons). So we thought we’d teach you a few fun facts about the holiday music you’re singing with your family, then you can teach them.

Did you know . . .

  • The first song to mention Santa Clause (though referred to as St. Nick) was “Up on the Housetop,” written by Benjamin Hanby in 1864.
  • In Australia, you’ll hear a different version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” where all of the gifts are replaced with wildlife from down under.
  • “Frosty the Snowman” never actually mentions Christmas or any other holiday.
  • Played in 1906,“O Holy Night” was the second piece of music ever to be broadcasted on the radio.
  • “Jingle Bells” was the first song to be performed in space. In 1965, astronauts Walter “Wally” Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford joked to mission control that they saw a UFO with eight small modules in front and a captain wearing a red suit. Then they broke into song and performed “Jingle Bells” on a harmonica.
  • The original lyrics for “Silver Bells” was actually “Tinkle Bells,” inspired by a tiny bell on the desk of the composers. It was changed after a composer’s wife shared the slang meaning of “tinkle.” : )
  • “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby is the biggest selling Christmas song of all time. white christmas
  • The original Welsh lyrics to “Deck the Halls” were a celebration of New Year’s Eve, not Christmas.
  • The “Christmas Song” (also known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) and “Let it Snow,” were both written in the heart of summer by composers longing for cold winter weather.
  • After hearing people whisper, “here comes Santa,” while riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Clause Lane Parade, Gene Autry was inspired to write the song “Here Comes Santa Clause.”

Now, spread the holiday cheer and share these festive facts with friends and family!

We searched the Internet so you didn’t have to. Here’s where we found these facts and more: http://listverse.com/2013/12/22/10-hidden-facts-about-christmas-songs/http://mentalfloss.com/article/32013/10-facts-about-your-favorite-christmas-carols, http://www.neatorama.com/2012/12/24/Christmas-Carols/

 

 

The Boosterthon School That Circled the Globe

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Did you know when Boosterthon is on campus, the world gets a little smaller? It’s true. Instead of just asking parents to carry the majority of fund raising, through funrun.com parents can ask for a pledge from their old college roommate who now lives in England, or their second cousin who works for a Japanese business. Amazingly, 72% of all Boosterthon pledges come from sponsors who aren’t parents, but are still connected to local schools here in the U.S.

And there’s one Boosterthon school that may know this power better than any other—and it started with our “50 State Challenge.”

Like most Boosterthon schools, Round Top Elementary in Blythewood, SC, a quaint town, took our challenge to get pledges from all 50 states. And it’s not always easy (there’s always pesky South Dakota and elusive Idaho). Not only did this school with just 566 students get pledges from all 50 states, but they also got pledges from . . . are you ready? 36 countries. 36!IMG_5385

So, how did a small South Carolina elementary school in a town of just over 2,000 people get pledges from all over the world? I spoke with Principal Jeaneen Tucker, and she said it was due to “the incredible enthusiasm from our school community to help our school.”

Here’s how Round Top Elementary circled the globe:

Enthusiasm. From the Rock’n Town Live decorations to all the support shown from faculty, staff and the PTO, Round Top Elementary couldn’t wait for the Boosterthon team to arrive!

Reminders. Mrs. Tucker said the Team huddles, daily announcements, and school social media posts encouraged her students to take action, and before she knew it, families were helping their school far beyond her expectations.

Asking, “Who else do we know?” 3% of Round Top students have international parents. So, getting pledges from France, Iran, Morocco, Korea, and Mexico meant reaching out to other family members through our “share” function on funrun.com. One family, who used to live in the United Arab Emirates while the father was stationed in the U.S. Air Force, connected with longtime friends from overseas, receiving pledges from over 20 countries!
Round TopGenerous sponsors from all 50 states and 36 countries will help Round Top make upgrades to their facilities and playground. For our schools with big dreams to improve student education, it’s nice to know that large tasks can become a little smaller and a lot more fun.

What a joy to see people from all walks of life and all areas of the world join together to help Round Top Elementary accomplish their goal! Congratulations! Think you can top it next year?

Curious what 36 countries supported Round Top? (Try to say them all in one breath)

The United States, South Africa, South Korea, Panama, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Germany, Italy, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, China, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Japan, Ethiopia, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Oman, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, Philippines, Costa Rica, Palestinian Territory, United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Austria, India, Vietnam, and France.

Teacher Appreciation Day . . . Six Months Early!

Boosterthon loves teachers. We get the opportunity to watch teachers impact their students every day. They can’t be thanked enough for what they do for the next generation. And that’s why, when we get the chance, we love hiring teachers; they can make THE BEST Boosterthon team members. They’re sharp, caring, and extremely hard working. (You knew that though).

With many to choose from, we’d like to celebrate four teachers who are now influencing schools as Boosterthon team members—a “Teacher Appreciation Day” . . . six months early.

Taylor Fiske, Program Assistant, Charlotte, NC.

TaylorTaylor was a fourth grade teacher at Davidson Elementary in Charlotte, NC, when Boosterthon came to her campus. “I had the opportunity to experience first-hand how transformative the program can be for a school,” Taylor said. She taught for another year before applying to Boosterthon and is now a Program Assistant on our Charlotte Team. “I am so excited to be part of an organization that aligns with so many of my passions and that exists to strengthen schools.


Coby Rossen, Program Director, Atlanta, GA.

cobyBefore working with Boosterthon, Coby worked in the school system for 7 years. He started out by developing and leading an after-school program and then taught 3 years of Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade PE. He says, “As a teacher, you look for those rare opportunities to teach your students what it means to be a person of character, but those moments are often few and far between. With Boosterthon, I get to do that all day every day!”

 

Matt Deedrick, Program Leader, South Florida.

Image-5726572-220139272-2-WebSmall_0_edda6d783965c6b198a46c97193879aa_1After receiving a Masters of Science from Fordham University in Teaching with an emphasis on special education, Matt went on to teach 6th-8th grade social studies. “I wanted to stay in education, but I knew I wasn’t meant to be in the classroom,” said Matt. “With Boosterthon, I love that I get the chance to come alongside teachers and students, who need to be supported.”

 

Jessica Fowler, Home Office Program Director, Atlanta, GA.

40cb6.146241For 6 years, Jessica taught 5th grade reading and writing at Powdersville Elementary in Greenville, SC. She heard about Boosterthon when the program first came to her school. Jessica says, “Having seen the program from both sides now (3 years as a Boosterthon teacher and 2 as a team member), I can honestly say that we offer the most transformative school program out there! I joined Boosterthon to help Change the World, and I firmly believe we are doing that each and every day.”

 

These are just a few of the many Boosterthon team members who have been teachers or have educational experience—from our teams serving schools to our Home Office. They add so much value to our program and we’re proud to have them on our team!

And “thank you” teachers for how you selflessly lead our next generation.

Hey, surprise your teacher with a “Teacher Appreciation Day” SIX MONTHS EARLY!’

Is Boosterthon All-Inclusive? What About Special Needs Students?

One of the top reasons schools enjoy the Boosterthon is the fact that it’s “all-inclusive”—inviting all students to participate. But is it really all-inclusive? What about children with special needs? Can they still enjoy the Boosterthon Fun Run event?

1920535_817033795014876_1815993895901276481_nI spoke with Brenda Page, a Boosterthon parent, who was a little apprehensive about her special needs son participating in our program at Little River Elementary in Woodstock, GA.

Brenda’s 10-year-old son, Christopher, was born with Down Syndrome. He also suffers from a heart murmur and low muscle tone, so you can understand why she was uneasy with our fitness-based fundraiser.

She just could not picture her son running laps like all of the other students. And even if Christopher did participate, there was no way he could complete the goal of 30 laps around the Boosterthon Speedway. She wondered if Boosterthon would even be prepared to accommodate students with special needs.

1074797_10200572901355997_1505786724_oBut putting her concerns aside, she decided to make up her mind after witnessing the Fun Run event for herself. And this is what she experienced:

“Was I ever in for an amazing shock! Christopher and all of his buddies with special needs, even some in wheelchairs, were having the time of their lives!” she said. “I received amazing joy watching them all have a blast running, playing, and enjoying the party-like atmosphere.”

And Christopher hit the lap goal, running 30 laps with a smile on his face the entire time. He has the shirt to prove it.

Brenda said that not only was the Boosterthon Fun Run a fun fitness activity for Christopher and his friends, but the money raised through Boosterthon provided special needs resources for his class that had been overlooked due to budget cuts.

Little River Elem was able to purchase a class “therapeutic” swing, which helps calm and soothe students who become over stimulated and struggle to cope with their current environment. Plus, they were able to purchase new teaching materials that are not covered by government funds.

With her initial questions behind her, Ms. Page says she is proud to fully embrace the Boosterthon program and support Christopher and his classmates!


 

 We’re so proud of all our students. Meet another outstanding Boosterthon student, Dominic, who ran 14 laps despite having a rare genetic disorder, Hunter’s Syndrome.

Way to go, Dominic! 

 

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