Courtesy of Lo Swim
“Here is the money from what I've sold so far. I'll give you more later – I need to make some more sales first.”
No, this is not an illegal street corner deal. This is my interaction with a 12-year-old swimmer on the Albany Armada Aquatics swim deck on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, discussing her individual fundraising efforts for her swim team.
Meet Kayla. A dedicated swimmer of eight years whose favorite stroke is butterfly, and who has recently been promoted to a higher swim level, Kayla is devoted to her new swim team, not only in the pool, but outside of it as well. And when I say devoted, I mean devoted.
As the Director of Philanthropy for Lo Swim, I dedicate part of my time to aquatic sports development. I set up fundraisers for teams to help pay for new equipment, travel and event expenses, as well as scholarships for their team members. I have communicated with many coaches, parents, and athletes, but none has left more of an impression on me than Kayla.
Not even a full 24 hours after I had given all the swimmers on Albany Armada their fundraiser bags filled with hair ties, wristbands and headbands to sell, I received an urgent and enthusiastic email from Kayla: she had already sold most of her product and was wondering if she could get her hands on more. And she didn't stop there. Apparently, a very proactive Kayla had started taking orders to better service her customers and asked me for the specific colors they requested.
“She did all the fundraising on her own. She just took charge and dove right into it!” says Kayla's mother, and I could tell. Not only was she the fastest seller, but the highest as well, contributing greatly to her team's rental of busses for an away meet.
What's crazy is that, from my interactions with her, I would have pinned Kayla as the most outgoing girl in school. After talking to her mother, I was shocked to hear that this had not been the case, and this program helped her break through her shy exterior:
“Swim Team has been really good for Kayla, helping her develop self confidence and overcome some severe socially negative experiences during her elementary school and onset of middle school years... Being part of a team like Armada, where education, individual and group accountability are valued, she has transferred this personal growth to her school environment. Fundraising for her team so enthusiastically shows this empowerment, and for that we are grateful to Albany Armada Aquatics and Lo Swim.”
This is the second time Armada, a young Northern California swim team, has used our fundraising program. The dedication of the coaches, Jesus Salcedo and Helen Garcia, to equal opportunity among their swimmers is inspiring, and they are the reason Armada has continued to use our program. The first time, the money was raised to support a swimming scholarship for a member of the team who would not have been able to participate otherwise. This time, the entire team benefitted. As we expand our program, I look forward to supporting more teams throughout the United States, as well as receiving more emails from swimmers with a plethora of exclamation points, smiley-faced emojis and dancing sock monkeys.
Contact The Lo Swim Director of Philanthropy here: [email protected]
Swimming news is courtesy of Lo Swim, the SwimSwam partner and supporter of all Swimming Photo Vaults (aka Photo Fishbowl). See their Swimming Photo Fishbowl Channel here.