Fourteen Ideas to Make Your Walkathon Fun for Kids

Happy Walkathon WalkerHow will you keep your walkers entertained, especially if most of them are kids?  A few walkathon entertainment ideas:

  1. Do things ahead of time to get the walkers engaged in what’s to come.  For example, if you will have special event T Shirts, get your principal, pastor or another beloved figure to show up wearing the shirt a few weeks before the event, then give a speech about the event.
  2. Have special awards for milestones reached during the walk.  The kids can collect them.  For example, we’ve used colored ribbons for each mile walked, and we’ve also used very thin, rubber band-like jelly bracelets.  The kids love to compare collections.
  3. You might like to look at my walkathon lap card product for tracking distance.  If your route isn’t a loop you could design something similar based on other milestones.  The kids love to look at how many holes they have punched in their cards.
  4. Set up a PA system and have a DJ.  Play music and use the system for announcements.
  5. Have Karaoke.
  6. Have an orange slice station – a table stocked with orange slices and water.
  7. Have little fun things to do along the route, like “kick a soccer goal”, etc.
  8. If it’s hot, have volunteers stationed with misting sprayers (about $1 from Target), who also help keep an eye on things
  9. Set up a “mist tent” right on the course, with misting hoses attached.
  10. Have a photographer.
  11. Have a raffle.
  12. Have a live band.
  13. Have a “pocket lady” – a nice mom or grandma figure who wears an apron covered with pockets.   Each pocket holds a different trinket.  Walkers can pay 25 cents to choose a pocket and get a surprise.
  14. Have concessions.  You can often get food donations in exchange for publicity for the donor.  Give away one free item per walker, such as a popsicle or hot dog.

Learn more about The Walkathon Guide book.

Learn more about Lap Cards.

Walkathon Planning PodCast

Walkathon Planning, on BlogTalkRadioDo you learn by listening?  Then we have the podcast for you… words of wisdom from my friend Roger Carr and I, all about planning walkathons.  Click to listen.

Choosing a Location for your Walkathon

Make your walkathon route a loop with many interesting things along the way

Map your walkathon route and site, including water stations, concessions, and even waystations that add to the fun.

Consider the following factors when you choose your walkathon site and route:

  • If you want to support people with varied levels of endurance, choose a route that is a loop.  That way people can duck out at any time.
  • For children, an ideal length for your route is ¼ to ½ mile. For adults it can be longer.
  • Is the area safe?
  • Is there adequate parking?
  • Are there adequate facilities or can you augment appropriately, including restrooms, shade, seating, concessions, and electrical power?
  • Is the neighborhood amenable to having a large event?
  • Do you need one or two professional custodians to assist with cleanup, and if so are these services available?

Reach agreement between your leaders and any outsider who controls the site on the date and exact location, and if necessary, obtain written permission from those responsible. Be sure you inform other groups who would normally use that site, such as sports leagues, that it would be unavailable or shared that day. If you are a community organization in a small town, consider presenting to your town council to obtain moral support and keep them informed.

Walkathon Concessions Tips

ConcessionsIf your walkathon event lasts more than an hour or two, you can make a bundle from concessions!  A couple tips:

  • Get donations from local vendors as part of your sponsors program, in exchange for plenty of publicity.  You may be able to get much of your walkathon concessions inventory for free.
  • Be sure to keep an exact tally of what you purchased and how much of it you actually sold.  If you have a walkathon every year, you can use those records to vastly reduce wasted food.   You can even keep your records in a spreadsheet on Google Docs so that any new concessions chair can easily have access to all the old info.
  • If you offer freebie items like popsicles or hot dogs, you can use the walkathon lap card to keep track of what the walker has already received and what they still have coming.

Let’s Talk about Planning Walkathons!

shoe2Roger Carr, author of Charity Walks Blog, has invited me as his first guest on the Charity Event Success radio show. The interview will take place on Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 2 p.m. Eastern. We will be discussing the topic of Planning for a Successful Walkathon. There are several ways to listen to the conversation:

* Call (347) 850-8340 to listen to the show live

* Listen to the streamed show from the host webpage at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/charity-event-success

* Listen to an archive of the interview will be available immediately following the show at Roger’s blog.

Be sure to leave a comment on the show page when you visit.

Poll – Walkathon Lap Cards and Other Options for Tracking Distance

If you are seeking ideas for keeping track of how far people walk or jog during your walkathon,  check this post about lap cards as well.

There have been several questions about this walkathon topic so I thought I’d post an anonymous poll.  It would be a big help to others if you would take a second to share how you do this. Again your answer is anonymous.  Thanks!

The Walkathon Guide

The Walkathon GuideHello Friends,

After three months of writing, editing, cross checking, and rewriting, The Walkathon Guide, Edition 1.0, is ready.   It’s an e-book all about how to organize a walkathon.

Learn more here.

You have a cause you are passionate about

Whether it’s your school, church, or an important charity, this is something worth funding and it’s up to you to figure out how.  How can you really do justice to your cause?  Are there other goals on top of fundraising?  How can you make the most money, create a great atmosphere of fun and community building, and keep it all organized and positive?

Would you like a walkathon planning mentor?

If you are organizing your walkathon on behalf of a school, church, or nonprofit group, this book is here to help.  It offers  what I learned by organizing and participating in twelve different walkathons.    The goal is to help you avoid the risks and stress of trial and error by laying out all the planning details for you.

What’s in The Walkathon Guide

The Walkathon Guide is 102 pages long.  It’s about 5% wisdom and 95% timelines, checklists, and materials that you can copy for walkathon publicity, registration, soliciting sponsors, and getting volunteers.

It has a chapter about early decisions and what to do right away, as soon as you decide to hold your event, followed by a list of committees needed, their start times, and how many volunteers per committee.  Then there are chapters with goals, dependencies, timelines, and notes for each individual committee.  There are seperate files you can hand to committee chairs to keep everyone in sync.  There is a long appendix with copy-able files, in MS Word format where you can actually cut and paste, for publicity, registration, donor letters, and volunteer recruitment.  There’s another appendix listing technology ideas and options for using the latest tools for your walkathon.

I set the price very low so you don’t have to think too hard about price, at $14.95 including all the extra files.  You can download it and have it right away.

Learn more here.

I would really appreciate it if you would help spread the word about this book by telling anyone who might be interested.  Thank you!

Yours,

Lee

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