We at the NCB Foundation had a blast at the 2nd Annual Nathan Chris Baker Fun Day. The weather was perfect and everyone had a great time. As we looked out at the parking lot filled with bounce houses, vendors, police cars, fire equipment, and kids running around laughing and smiling – we were amazed at the support of our family, friends, and community. We also realized that all of the hard work that the Fun Day committee had put in over the last 4 months was coming to fruition.
As we look back on how Fun Day has grown – we are reminded of how far we have come. Only a handful of people know how this event came to be or why it is the way it is. Let me explain…………
In late September 2012, two kids – Justin and Ridgley approached their parents about doing something to remember Nathan and raise a bit of money to put towards “scholarships or something” as they told their parents. Justin and Ridgley are friends of our family and both knew Nathan. They are great and caring kids from great families and we are blessed to have these families in our lives.
Justin’s parents own Hoppers Kid Zone (a great local bounce house place) in Eldersburg. Ridgley’s parents are heavily involved in the community and her father was Nate’s baseball coach. Justin and Ridgley’s parents took the idea of a fundraiser and approached Katie and I. Things from September 2012 remain blurry to me but I don’t think we hesitated to say yes. By November 2012 the 1st Annual NCB Fun Day was off the ground. A simple idea from 2 kids took off and brought a community together on a cold and windy day in November. It was a huge success and one of the reasons we were able to give so much to Mechanicsville for the playground fund.
Immediately after our first Fun Day you could tell that everyone involved was excited and we talked about how we would make this event even better in the coming years. When we began to plan the 2nd Annual Fun Day we put together a group of local friends and families who we knew are just as committed to this foundation as we are. We also knew that this committee knew the roots of this event and recognized that this day took place because of the GREATNESS of some kids. We wanted these kids to know how great this idea was and we wanted them to embrace the idea of Go Out. Be Great.
A big part of what we want to do at GOBG is to inspire others to make a difference in the lives of those around them. This is especially true for kids. We want kids to know that no matter how small the act of kindness is……the impact is priceless. The impact has the ripple effect on those around them. A kind of pay it forward mentality.
We truly believe that one day everyone will need the help of another. Whether you believe it or not – you can’t plan life. Life is going to happen and some day – you will need someone else to provide you with something. A place to stay, a meal to eat, an ear to bend, a shoulder to steady you, a smile, maybe just something a simple as hope – a hope that things may be bad but they can get better. We want kids to know that they can be that force that helps to change others.
When our team began planning the 2nd Annual Fun Day we wanted to make sure that the kids were the focus. We realize that this is a major fundraiser for the foundation but it is also because of Nate that this day was born. It was because of other kids who set their sites on a GREAT idea and we always want to remember that and make this day about the kids.
As the team began to plan the events of the day we knew that the children of our team members would be heavily involved in our efforts. Even if it was just a late night planning meeting at Hoppers Kid Zone, the kids would more than likely be there bouncing as we strategized. We also knew that the kids would have their own stations at Fun Day. Some would sell bracelets or jewelry that they made, others helped with face-painting or tattoos, some helped us make signs, and volunteered for the dunk tank. Some of these kids knew Nate and others never met him. All of these kids poured their hearts into lending the talents that they have to give back to this event and foundation.
I want to share the story of one particular kid who approached a member of our Fun Day team with an idea he had to help. Chase is a 10 year old and creates some really great paracord bracelets which are extremely popular. Chase asked if he could make some bracelets and sell them at Fun Day. He wanted to sell his bracelets and make a donation to the NCB Foundation. During the weeks prior to Fun Day we were told that Chase was hard at work making his bracelets which he called Chaselets. We were told that he was super excited to be able to be part of Fun Day and we were excited to have him.
I walked around Fun Day checking on things when I located Chase’s table for his paracord bracelet – The sign read: Go Out. Be Great. – Chaselets – The sign had other information on it but I couldn’t get past the first two lines. This kids had taken an idea, invested in his idea, created his product, and was marketing it as well. I was really impressed.
I had the opportunity to meet Chase, his mother, and sister that day. What great people. As I spoke with Chase I could tell that being a part of this day meant a great deal to him. I could tell how proud he was to be a part of it. I could tell how proud his mother was of her son who had put his heart into this project and giving back.
Chase did very good at Fun Day and sold a lot of Chaselets. Chase donated $150.00 of what he made at Fun Day to the NCB Foundation. As we sat around totaling the events of the day we saw the $150 that this little guy donated – every member of our committee was just in awe. After meeting Chase and talking with him about Fun Day and what it meant – that $150 could have been $15 and would have still meant just as much but to a kid a $150 is a fortune.
At the end of the day we were told that Chase had faced his first organizational/business dilemma. Chase had every intention of giving his handmade sign to Katie and I after the event – something we could keep as a reminder of the day. When it all ended Chase was kind of attached to that sign and he and his mom talked about whether he wanted to keep it or give it away. Luckily someone from our Fun Day committee stepped in and suggested that Chase keep his sign and that Katie and I would want him to have it. They were right and Chase kept his sign. I am glad he did. I hope that sign serves as a reminder of the great thing that he did on September 29, 2013. I hope that sign encourages him to continue to Go Out and Be Great.
I am very proud of all of the kids that participated at Fun Day. If a group of kids can make a difference in the lives of others – think about what we as adults can accomplish. The power to help others is at our fingertips. It is the most rewarding thing you will ever experience. Greatness lies within each one of us – Experience it. Show it to others. Pay it forward. Go Out and Be Great.
We hope to see you all at the 3rd Annual Nathan Chris Baker Fun Day – 2014! – Justin