Innovative Event
of the Year
San Diego
Action Center

Measurement Metrics:

New event idea/event

Barbeque and Bonfire at the Beach - A Networking Dinner Event during the CRY America 2012 conference. SD Action Center basically replicated a corporate outbound event in a beautiful beach setting - for all CRY America Volunteers!

# of participants/attendees: Approx 40:

Type and diversity of attendees: CRY America conference attendees-Volunteers all across United States

Revenue generated: Intangible $ value but high volunteer engagement value - A night of open networking, engagement, bonding and informal idea sharing by volunteers all across United States. This event forged a sense of community and assimilation of the common vision (discussed during the daytime conference). These very values will aid in collaborative effort across all Action Centers leading to long lasting revenue enhancement in years to come.

Degree of replicability (1-5) - how easy would it be for others to organize this event?: 3 . A beach setting is a good-to-have, but not mandatory.

Picture a glorious orange sunset, miles of coastline, surfers lapping up the hungry waves, sizzling barbeque on the grills, a warm bonfire, giggles, laughter and a bunch of happily singing folks. Could this be a beach side party or a corporate outbound event or maybe, just your dream vacation? Delightedly for the CRY America volunteers, this was the setting for the networking event post the CRY conference in Sunny San Diego. In the effervescent beach setting of Mission Bay, the SD Action Center put

together an informal event to enable open networking, engagement, collaboration and informal idea sharing by volunteers all across United States. While the day time workshop helped in structured knowledge partaking amongst all volunteers, this evening event was a logical extension of the CRY conference but in a fun informal (and beautiful) setting. This innovative event forged relationships with synergies that will extend beyond geographical boundaries and action centers for years to come.

Weeks before the conference when the idea was taking shape, CRY SD volunteers came forward with contributions from all possible arenas. Grills were bought out from the forgotten corners of the garages, camping equipment ransacked for chairs and other essentials, utensils emerged from many a kitchen, ideas thrown around - anything that could help the set-up At Minimal Operating Costs For The Action Center. And what a set-up it was!

The evening saw volunteers set-up multiple barbeque stations, a process quickly in place to cut and assemble barbequing essentials efficiently and ensure our guests from all across United States had a meal they would remember for a long time. SD volunteers transformed into self-proclaimed Chefs catering to all dietary needs, all specifications (with ingredients from the local grocery!), while our guests continued to marvel at the beautiful setting and the overall ambience.

The evening culminated with loud singing sessions (melodious and otherwise) around the bonfire with the waves lapping around quietly a few feet away. What better bonding facilitator than the jhatka-matka of a Bollywood song, with even the nonIndian volunteers try their hand at the passionate singing? As all the volunteers sat around the bonfire, there wasn’t just the warmth of the burning wood that engulfed us.

It was the knowledge that all of us from different parts of the country believed in the same vision, worked with the same compassion, had each other for support, and together, we will make a difference in the lives of the under-privileged children for years to come.

We at SD Action Center believe that with this informal event we have facilitated the forging of stronger relationships amongst CRY volunteers across United States. This innovative networking dinner was organized at minimal operating cost – the gap filled in by the sweat-equity of the enthusiastic SD volunteer base. The after effects are strongly evident with CRY America volunteers all over recollecting this networking dinner with warmth and gusto. A reminder of the big community we are - across all action centers and not just our own individual ACs.

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