Rotary and Interact working together.
Don't be afraid to try something new. We did, as a club, and I am so glad that we did. Our founding president of our Interact Club, Jasmine Woods, has been a ballroom and latin dancer for 8 years. She loves dancing and practices weekly along with teaching at her local dance school. However, she wanted to take her passion for dance and do something special with it, so she proposed that we hold a charity dancing competition.
She approached the e-club for their help and support with planning this project. The Interactors school, Northampton Academy, donated the use of the large sports hall for the day free of charge so the only other costs that would be incurred were for the prizes. Jasmine and the other Interactors wrote letters to local businesses asking for them to sponsor a dance. Because Jasmine and her brother have completed across the country they were able to speak to qualified professional dancers and ask them for their support, obviously giving up a whole day of your time for free when you run a business is a lot to ask, however she did manage to secure two very good judges that did not hesitate to give up to give up their time for this event.
The Interactors chose the charity that would be supported and they chose the Nc TLC charity which is both local to Northampton and National. The charity supports children of 0 - 17 and their families who have been diagnosed with cancer. Despite the charity having two other events running on the same day as our dancing competition, the founder of the charity, Janet, was able to come along and present some medals to our well deserved winners. We were also very privileged to have in attendance our current District Governor Rodney Spokes along with his wife. Rodney gave the audience a good insight into how Rotary can work for all ages and when we work together what we can achieve. Also in attendance was our past District Governor, Tim Tucker, and our assistant District Governor for Area 6, Steve Howe, who both were on hand to present some prizes as well.
The event itself was publicised through social media, the club’s website and word-of-mouth at competitions throughout the year across the country. The running costs for this event were extremely low as the Venue had been donated and the judges were giving their time for free. During the day, we also held a refreshment stand which also gave us an additional revenue. One of our Rotarians, Edward Borner, is a keen photographer along with a local college student, Tanina Bartaby, photographed the event which will also gain a revenue from selling the digital downloads. The day itself consisted of 41 different events that couples or solo dancers could enter. Both competitors and spectators paid an entry fee which is where most of our revenue was generated from.
The dancing world is very hard to get into and a very expensive sport; we used free publicity avenues and as a result our attendance wasn't great, in comparison to other competitions. We have to remember that this was for fun, to build confidence and to raise money for the charity. Feedback from our supporters on the day said that it was run very smoothly and professionally, the children had an excellent opportunity to showcase their skills without the pressure of a major competition and the Venue was an ideal location as we currently do not have any dance competitions in Northampton. Even the adults enjoyed coming, as it gave them an opportunity to compete but without the pressure of a big competition. This was extremely beneficial to one particular couple who had only been dancing for a few months together and this was their first competition in the UK.
The lessons that we have learnt from this event will help us to make decisions as to how we approach events in the future for our club and I also hope yours too. Working in partnership with your Interact Club is a brilliant thing to do. We as ‘older people’ are able to guide and focus their passions and make things happen for them because nothing is too big or unachievable with a good plan and people that believe in you. Also, don't be afraid to take risks try something that someone hasn't done before, you never know it might just work.
This week we will debrief, learn the lessons that we can from this event and start planning the next one. Most of the Rotarians in our club had never been to a latin and ballroom dancing competition and were absolutely blown away by the talent of the young people and how the event actually works. So my advice to you would be, get out there and see what is going on in your local communities, see where you can already help and what is already going on. Can you do something a little bit different something maybe no one's doing. Who knows, in doing this, you might even find your next member.