A Day of Walk-A-Thon FUN!

 

What’s the secret behind BLEND’s Walk-A-Thon success? That’s easy. The secret (or the golden rule of walk-a-thons) is……….…drum roll…………they are FUN!  Not just everyday fun. BLEND Walk-A-Thons are genuinely–without a doubt–unanimously–100% FUN!  The kind of fun that kids actually want to talk to parents about.  The kind of fun that kids won’t soon forget. The kind of fun that kids, parents and staff look forward to year, after year, after year.

Traditional Walk-A-Thons vs. BLEND Walk-A-Thons

Wikipedia defines a “walk-a-thon (walking marathon or sponsored walk) as a type of community or school fundraiser in which participants raise money by collecting donations or pledges for walking a predetermined distance or course.”  Traditional walk-a-thons are a good fundraiser and a nice event for participants but they can be a little lackluster – especially for kids.

BLEND Walk-A-Thons are defined as: “an active and healthy fundraising event that encourages students to raise money for their school and in return ALL students participate in a celebratory and fitness-based event.”  In many ways, BLEND Walk-A-Thons are like traditional walk-a-thons. Students do seek donations and walk an identified distance during the event, but the distinct difference is…students are not limited to just walking.  BLEND Walk-A-Thons offers fun fitness activities called “Physical Activity Stations.”  These stations give students the freedom to participate in a number of fitness activities, games and challenges in addition to the walk. Providing a number of physical activity station allows students to choose whichever kind of FUN they want to have.

For those who haven’t seen a BLEND Walk-A-Thon in action or haven’t heard of BLEND Walk-A-Thons – here’s a great way picture it…imagine combining a traditional walk-a-thon, PE class, track & field days, a concert, a school dance and a school carnival (minus the snow cones and cotton candy, of course!). And, there you have it – a BLEND Walk-A-Thon!  Doesn’t that sound like FUN?!

Physical Activity Stations = FUN!

The fun starts with brainstorming – WAIT!  First, it’s critical to round up a committed team of staff and volunteers to plan and customize the entire walk-a-thon. The planning should start weeks and months before the date of the event.  Once the committee has formed and ready to go –  let the brainstorming begin!  Keep in mind that a walk-a-thon is a fitness-based event to get and keep kids active. Determine how long or how far student will walk before participating in physical activity stations.  Throw around ideas for physical activity stations. Consider how many stations will work for the space available and how many volunteers are needed to support the activities. Most schools select to have 6 to 8 stations. Important to note: be sure to plan activities that are age appropriate and include students with disabilities.

BLEND advises committees to look within their own school for ideas and activities that can elevate their walk-a-thon from ordinary fun to extraordinary fun.  PE Departments are typically the best place to start looking. Equipment is available for free and easy to grab on the day of the event.  Other games and activities may be available in your community, as well. Check your local college and university campuses, retailers and rental stores (inflatables and dunk tank), radio stations, etc. Don’t be afraid to seek donations or ask for a reduced price. If there are parents or staff who have connections in the community – ask them to help make requests.

Here are some ideas to help brainstorm ideas for physical activity stations…

Physical Activity Station 

Individual Games (Unstructured Play)
  • Jump ropes
  • Hula hoops
  • Shooting basketball
  • Obstacle course
  • Hurdles
  • Pogo sticks
  • Tumbling mats
  • Biking
Group Games (Structured Play)
  • Kickball
  • Soccer
  • Flag football
  • Catch and throw
  • Bean bag toss
  • Golf ball toss
Challenges:
  • Minute-to-win-it
  • First to finish contests: bug eating, snack eating, etc.
  • Dunk tank
  • Bungee jumping
  • Inflatables

Providing “challenges” can be a great strategy to encourage students to raise more money.  Set target dollar amounts and if students reach that amount they are rewarded participation in these challenges. For example: each student who raises $20 gets a chance to dunk a teacher or take part in the bug eating contest. Increase the money raised to $40 and now students can have unlimited access to the inflatable.

Photos of Fun!

It’s fair to say that no two BLEND Walk-A-Thons are alike – trust me – that’s a good thing. Creating a unique and unexpected event builds excitement and anticipation for the entire school and truly benefits fundraising efforts. Make announcements to share the physical activity stations planned and ask staff to continue promoting in the classroom. It’s noticeable how students become more tuned-in and ready to collect donations when they know how much fun they’re about to have.

Take a look at these photos from area walk-a-thons.  You’ll notice kids and adults are having a lot of FUN!

Do you have other cool activities or ideas that would be a great addition to a walk-a-thon.  Please share and submit a comment – we’d love to hear about them and add to the list!

Would you like your school to host a walk-a-thon fundraiser?  Share this blog with your school administrator or PTA/PTO and tell them to look at this exciting and healthy school fundraiser.  Be sure to send the link to our new tools for organizing a BLEND Walk-A-Thon to show everyone just how easy it is to plan a FUN and profitable walk-a-thon!

Be well,
Kathy Geislinger
BLEND Walk-A-thons Specialist
geislingerk@centracare.com