by Hoopin’ Annie and Philo Hagen
With the celebration of World Hoop Day 2014 now less than a month away, if you haven’t already figured out your plans for how you and your area will be spending October 4th, 2014, then now is the time for making that happen. Perhaps there is already an event being organized in your city and you can help by sharing your support and enthusiasm in whatever ways are needed most? But what if there isn’t something on the calendar where you live. When hoopers all over the planet celebrate World Hoop Day this year, do you really want to be left out of the mix?
If you’re thinking you’re just one person and there isn’t enough time, think again. A few years ago Kevin O’Keefe stopped at a small coffee shop in New Orleans and started talking about World Hoop Day. The owner loved the idea and decided to send out press releases. A local hoop group heard the news and donated hoops. Musicians were inspired and came out to play. People ended up showing up to celebrate from all over and it made the evening news, all because one person stopped at a coffee shop a few days before World Hoop Day in 2010. If all that can transpire in less than a week, what can you do with three whole weeks still left to prepare? Here’s Ten Great Tips to help you rock World Hoop Day 2014 where you live.
1: Know Your WHD: Before you even begin it’s important to read up on World Hoop Day so that you can tell others in 10-30 seconds exactly what it is and what it means to you. The World Hoop Day website is chock full of info. In a nutshell, however, World Hoop Day is a non-profit charity that raises money to give away hoops to children around the world in need, and it is also an international holiday where people gather together to hoop for health, peace, love and joy.
2. Location, Location, Location: Most World Hoop Day events are held in public parks. Some people choose farmer’s markets, community centers, school gyms, beaches… Choosing the best venue for your World Hoop Day really depends on where you live, which hemisphere you’re in, and your anticipated number of hoopers. Given that World Hoop Day is a really great day for promoting hooper visibility with a great cause attached to it, you might want to consider a public place where you will be noticed. That way you can use the event to help spread the hoop love to anyone just passing by and maybe get them to donate a buck or two to gift a hoop to a kid in another part of the world. Flash Hoop mobs have also become a popular way to start in one spot and hoop parade through town spreading the word too. Other things to consider in choosing a great location include convenience to a public restroom and public transit access so nobody has to miss out on the fun.
3. Ask Permission: Does your desired location require a park permit, performance insurance or rental fee? Usually these answers are only a phone call away. If it’s possible, however, talking to the powers that be in your area in person has been known to sometimes help the cause exponentially. There are many WHD stories now where the personal approach resulted in fees being waived, even locations signing on as a co-sponsor, once they truly understood what the World Hoop Day mission was all about. Also, if you show up playing the part of a responsible looking adult, whether you actually are a responsible looking adult or not, it’s been our experience that anything can happen.
You might even be able to get the unofficial inside scoop on how to make such an event happen too. I remember a World Hoop Day story about a helpful city worker who told a group that if they wanted a permit for World Hoop Day it was going to cost them several hundred dollars, “but if you were to host a political rally of hooping for world peace, well, that would be free under the first amendment. You are planning to hula hoop in protest for World Peace on the property that day, right?” It’s unlikely you’ll ever get that kind of candor on the phone.
In the end, even if your location does end up having fees attached to using it, if you can’t cover these costs out of pocket, perhaps you can be reimbursed by holding a raffle, asking for donations or charging admission. Whatever the case, finding out the facts will help you make an informed location decision, and will help you avoid having your event unexpectedly shut down by the powers that be.
4. Plan The Day: World Hoop Day 2014 is happening on Saturday, October 4th. Before you go making a flyer or writing a press release you’ll need to decide on a time. When it comes to planning the rest of your itinerary, well, World Hoop Day plans can range from incredibly simple to very ambitious. A simple plan might be to schedule a hoopjam for an hour and have a donation box to benefit World Hoop Day. Ambitious plans might include a silent auction, a performance showcase, free classes, coordinating with local children’s organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs – for not only gifting hoops locally, but to have them there for the hooping celebration. Maybe people would like to perform. Maybe a favorite local DJ or band would want to be on hand for it too. Some cities even organize a full day of activities.
5. Support World Hoop Day Itself: It’s always great if you can include some support for World Hoop Day in your planning. The majority of the money WHD receives each year comes from us. That money then gets turned around to the WHD Ambassadors who literally travel with hand-made hoops, hand delivering them to children without toys around the world. Donations can be made directly to World Hoop Day, or its fiscal sponsor MarinLink. And yes, all your WHD contributions are tax deductible.
6. Recruit: Once you’ve got the plan figured out, ask for help from friends and friends of friends to make hoops, DJ, bring food, take photos, teach classes, create flyers, perform, write press releases and spread the word online. When approached with more of a clear idea and a schedule you’ll likely find there are lots of people who will be willing to help.
7. Promote World Hoop Day: In the all too grim world of the media, most news agencies won’t pass by a story opportunity like World Hoop Day. Hula hoops to help needy kids is a winner every time, but they have to know about it in order to report it. Writing a press release and sending it to the media in your area will not only help promote the event, you may very well discover hoopers in your area you didn’t even know about, as well as recruit new ones. Many people will happily jump on the band wagon to hula hoop for a specific day and cause that wouldn’t ordinarily be willing to do so. Take advantage of it, and don’t be surprised if the media turns up at the actual event with a camera crew, or invite you to do a guest spot hooping on the air before the event to help you get people to come on out.
8: Think Globally: Be sure to send your event information to World Hoop Day so others can find you and you can watch your event appear on the Google World Hoop Day map as soon as possible. You can also learn the World Hoop Day Dance for 2014 and teach it, film it and send your video in for inclusion in a final global edited World Hoop Day Dance video project. Whatever you do, when you’re talking about World Hoop Day, let people know this really is happening world wide. Last year events were held on all six major continents.
9. Hoops Hoops Hoops!: What’s World Hoop Day without hoops, right? Pre-World Hoop Day hoop-making parties are a great way to not only encourage community involvement, but at the end of the party you’ll have a whole bunch of hoops on hand for people to use at your event and to gift to local kids in need in your area. Some World Hoop Day events plan for having a hoop making station at the event as well. Those who have never made a hoop before are often quite excited to help with the process, even those who may not want to actually hoop themselves. Ask for donations to cover the cost of your materials. And if you just don’t have the energy or interest or live somewhere that hoop making just isn’t going to happen, remember that donations to World Hoop Day all will take care of doing that work for you.
10. Gratitude: While it is helpful to remember an attitude of gratitude throughout all of your event planning and organization, as manners and politeness go much further with a smile, keep a list of those who have contributed to your World Hoop Day event along the way too and be sure to thank everyone who gave of their materials, time, energy and donations. You can also keep a list of names and emails who are interested in carrying on the hoop fun all year round.
Whatever you end up doing for World Hoop Day 2014, we look forward to sharing the day hooping with you wherever you are, hearing all about it what happened, and seeing all of your photos and videos from your event – no matter how large or small. Here’s wishing everyone a very exciting World Hoop Day 2014 and if any local World Hoop Day organizers out there have gained any other tips they’ve found to be particularly valuable, please share them below.