Paula: When you decided to do the walk/run, what were some of your fears?
Staci Buck: We worried about the weather and a good turnout. We desperately wanted many people to walk away changed, informed, and ready to act.
Kristen Herbst: Probably our biggest fear was that people might not come. But also the usual weather concerns when you are planning an outdoor event. Also, finding the best location with both safety and accessibility in mind--a location where we wouldn't have to close roads ideally--was essential!
P: How did you overcome those fears?
SB: God. God. God. Lots of preparation and lists! We had a great team of volunteers.
KH: I guess, once we decided to do the Water Walk, we just threw ourselves into it and tried not to let worry ruin it or take our focus in the wrong direction. We definitely prayed for the event and the weather, but if I do it again, I think we will make it (prayer) a bigger emphasis-- especially for our participants!
P. How did you market the walk/run?
SB: We contacted our local newspaper, put up flyers, and distributed flyers to businesses and churches. We contacted the International Studies Dept. at our local college. We did a Facebook invite to everyone we knew. We promoted it at our two church campuses and during VBS. We posted facts about water almost daily leading up to the event.
KH: Social media!! We created a page for the event and we created an event. Then we invited and shared like crazy! We also made T-shirts and we utilized the Team World Vision site so that people could more easily fundraise. We made announcements at our church and VBS as well. And the VBS focused on the Water Walk as its mission.
P: Who did you invite?
SB & KH: All of our contacts near and far via FB. Churches, small groups, clubs, schools, businesses, and families.
P: How did doing this event change you?
SB: It brought us so much joy! We also really realized that so much of what we do as Child Ambassadors is education and seed planting! But don't worry, some of our participants sponsored children months after the event and some sponsored children just from seeing the posts on social media about our event.
KH: It gave me greater faith in God. In our initial planning, Staci and I were talking about goals. She mentioned raising enough for a hand dug well. And I said, "Okay." but secretly I want enough for a deep well (which is $15,000). I think she thought I was crazy. But we both jumped in with that being our goal and God made it happen!
P: What will you do the same/different this time?
SB: When we did our walk, we created a lot of checklists, etc ourselves. Now World Vision has a great template and we will use that to save time. We still loved our personalization of the Water Walk by highlighting a specific country and educating with specific facts and signage about that country. We also had a lifelike hut, buckets for water, a course, games, and crafts for younger participants, lanyards which depicted different scenarios from developing countries, and a take-home paper for further resources.
KH: Well, it will be a little different by adding the run option--which will affect our location maybe. And carrying water may have to be optional or a side activity.
P: How did it inspire you as a CA and Christ Follower?
SB: The community really got into this event! We loved hearing the stories from the younger generations. Kristen and I both feel this is key to our "job" as CA's. The younger generation may not be able to sponsor children now, but we can educate, educate, educate and open their eyes to the injustices of the world! People around our town still wear their special t-shirts and talk about the event! They felt so good making a difference in the lives of children lacking water.
KH: It made me realize that we can truly make a difference in the lives of a whole community across the globe. Knowing that people who had NO CLEAN WATER, would soon have water for a lifetime was amazing. Staci and I were truly on a spiritual high! As a Christ follower, I grew in my faith in God and in gratitude to Jesus for allowing us to do something of this nature. We truly had tears of joy when we reached our goal.
P: How did it change your family and community?
SB: Our families helped with everything. They had check-in jobs, tour guide jobs, set-up and tear-down jobs, etc... I believe they felt proud to be part of such a meaningful event. It was a definite memory-making experience for our families. Our community was put on the map! We had other communities reach out to us about replicating a water walk in their small towns.
KH: Our families were very involved, supportive, and helpful. It was a great project to do together the first few weeks of summer. I think they really enjoyed it, and I love that they proudly wear their Water Walk shirts to this day. I have pictures of the kids painting our signs, leading groups, and driving the gator to dump the full water buckets back into the reservoir. Such good memories! Essentially, our tiny town of Selma raised a tremendous amount of money for a community that was very different from ours--with no expectation of payback of any kind. It was a triumph for sure and it made me feel very proud of our people and very thankful to God!
It may be too late to become an official host site for a Global 6K, but it's not too late to join an established Global 6K or to host your own special event on CA Day. Let's all do something to continue the conversation and make a global impact on May 6th & 7th!
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.