by Kennedy McKay
Many teams have begun preparation for the upcoming season with summer bootcamps, intense choreography sessions and fundraising. Hard work and creativity aren’t just the cornerstones of skating skills and program creation, they are essential in other ways as well. Teams are hard at work developing and executing fundraising events to help cover a wide variety of expenses such as ice time, dresses, and travel fees. Just as each team has a unique skating style and theme, they also each have unique ways to defray the costs required for a successful synchronized skating season.
One interesting and unique fundraising event is Capital Ice’s (Bismark, ND) annual Duck Race. The Duck Race, which began nine years ago, and takes place at a local water park, is essentially a huge interactive raffle. Various corporate and local businesses, as well as individuals, purchase raffle tickets. Each ticket number is associated with a rubber duck.
Many events take place on race day. The first event is voting for the best dressed and most unique corporate duck. Ducks purchased by corporations are decorated by employees, along with Capital Ice skaters, to represent a company theme. Next is the corporate duck parade: these ducks float around the lazy river as an announcer states the company name and sponsorship level.
Finally, the main event takes place. Buckets of ducks are dumped into the lazy river. Skaters hold all of the ducks back and once every duck is in the water, they are released! Thousands of ducks float through the river and flow through a funnel at the finish line to clearly establish a winner. Prizes include cash, jewelry, golf packages, hotel stays, and fit bits, all of which are purchased by the club or donated by other parties.
All Capital Ice skaters are required to sell a certain amount of ducks. The younger teams are required to sell $500 worth of ducks to cover dresses, travel costs, and registration fees to the Midwestern Sectional Championships. The intermediate team is required to sell $2,500 worth of ducks to cover travel fees to Midwesterns and hopefully Nationals upon qualification. Duck prices are $5/Solo Duck, $20/Quack Pack (5 ducks), $50/Flock (15 ducks). Corporate Sponsorships are $100 Cool Duck, $250 Lucky Duck, $500 Golden Duck, $750 Executive Duck, $1,000 Top Duck, or $2,000 Platinum Duck. In 2015 the skaters raised a whopping $85,000!
Coach Becky Gallion says her favorite part of the event is watching the local community join together to support the club skaters, who are working together to sell raffle tickets to fund their dreams. Coach Gallion enjoys seeing how much fun the skaters have on the day of the event as they display Capital Ice pride sporting their team shirts and dancing to music.
Fundraising also plays a large part for teams competing at the collegiate level. Meg Kasner, IllinoiSkating team’s Secretary for the 2015-2016 season, handles a majority of the team’s fundraising events. Through organizing football game shifts and partnerships with local restaurants, she helps the team raise about $10,000 throughout the season.
Two of the most successful events are the fall and spring ice shows that feature the Learn-to-Skate classes, local skaters, and the youth synchro teams. Team members are required to work these events, including announcing, ushering, painting scenery boards, and decorating the ice arena. In turn, the team receives the money earned from ticket sales. These large events are a great opportunity for the team to connect with members of the community.
Kasner plays an essential role in keeping skating costs low, as numerous college expenses add up quickly. She explains that since a majority of teams are not fully funded by their universities, it is essential to make synchronized skating affordable for skaters who want to continue their passion after high school. Kasner says the most rewarding part about organizing fundraisers is giving back to the team and creating fun opportunities for the skaters to work together to raise money.
Infusion senior, based in Perth, Australia, works hard to fundraise to afford traveling to international competitions. Skaters Danielle and Ashlyn explain that since exchange rates do not typically work in their favor and the distance they travel for competitions is typically very far, travel fees are extremely expensive.
One of their most popular fundraisers is at a local hardware store. Every Sunday, the store hosts a sausage cookout. The team partners with the store about eight times a year to sell snaggers (sausages) in a bun. They also reach out to the community to hold quiz and murder mystery nights along with chocolate and cupcake sales. Through a variety of events, Infusion is able to raise money to offset travel costs for international competitions.
Be sure to follow Get It Called on Snapchat at GICupdates to get a behind the scenes look at some of the fundraising events featured above. Capital Ice’s Duck Race will be featured on our snapchat on August 15th! The deadline for your #BackToSynchro photos is coming up on August 23rd; you can submit photos from fundraising events, team practices, choreography camps, or team bonding activities. We look forward to receiving your submissions!