Labor Pains of Planning a WBW Event Bring Fond Memories
Topeka KS USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 22 No. 6, November-December 2005, pp. 270-271
One of my intuitive co-Leaders draws an analogy between having a baby and having a WBW event. Right after, you might say to yourself, "I'm not doing that again!" but as time goes by, you can look back and say, "We should do it again!"
The 2004 WBW event must have been quite a difficult labor because even by May of the following year, Leaders with LLL of Topeka, Kansas hadn't forgotten the pain. At an early summer Leaders' meeting, we debated about what to do for this year's annual WBW celebration. We had to decide how much we could each contribute and what the scale of the event would be. We wanted to continue with the "annual" aspect of the event and have something that would attract the usual supporters involved with our WBW celebration, as well as new mothers, and provide our Group with enough funds to run successfully for another year.
Over the last six years, our event has grown to include a walk, silent and live auctions, a free meal, children's games, door prizes, and merchant booths. Last year we started planning in March for our July event. Almost 150 people attended! All the hard work paid off for our 2004 event, but skipping ahead to 2005, it was already June and we didn't have a location reserved.
For 2005, we decided to have a smaller scale celebration and keep it simple by having a potluck brunch. A Group member generously volunteered to be the chairperson for the event. Leaders got busy soliciting items for live and silent auctions, publicizing the event, getting food and drink donations, reserving the location, and sending out invitations.
Our brunch in the park took place on Saturday, July 30, at an open-air shelter house at 10 am. Due to the extreme heat, we opted not to walk and focused on the meal and auctions. In attendance were 37 adults and 36 children. Food and drinks were donated by businesses, Leaders, and Group members. At the location was also a fun playground area for the children. Leaders, Group members, and businesses donated items to the auctions. We had five items in the live auction and nearly 40 in the silent auction. Minimum bids were set, which we believe really helped the success of the auctions.
One of the challenges we faced while planning was the location. It was centrally located and easy to find, but very spread out. The shelter was far from the play area and sign-in table. The auction tables were set back away from the main path because we needed to stretch a clothesline between trees to hang clothes for the silent auction. We had to be very thorough in directing attendees to each area. Another challenge was where and when to have the live auction. It was scheduled for 10:30 am, with silent auction tables closing in increments afterwards; however, at 10:30, people were congregated in several different areas and many were still eating. We eventually corralled everyone in a central location and started the live auction closer to 11 am. Since the auction started late, the silent auctions had to end later and it was getting very hot outside. Fortunately, the event was still a success.
Families enjoyed the wonderful food, children played on the playground, and everyone generously bid on the auction items.
The moral of the story is that even though it is best to start planning a WBW celebration early to find an ideal location and get organized, Group Leaders and members can still plan an event in only a few weeks.