Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ideas That Work (101)

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The Canton Learning Center has found an Idea that Works.

Last month marked the Center’s 7th annual Teddy Bear Rock. The 1950s style sock hop is open to all ages and features dancing, ‘50s themed food, and even an Elvis impersonator.

“Everyone has a great time. We have kids from 3 years old and adults up to 80, and they’re all out there dancing and having a good time,” said Center Director Carol Jones.

Bad weather threatened this year’s event, forcing volunteers to reschedule it for the following week. Carol said she thought rescheduling would kill the event, but she was pleasantly surprised when it still raised over $6,500.

A planning committee made up of local Scottish Rite members, their spouses and board members, head up the event. They decorate the Masonic temple ballroom with crepe paper streamers and retro rock and roll posters to look like a ‘50s style gym.

The event raises money serveral ways. There’s a jail, where attendees are locked up and can only be released if someone pays to get them out. A used book sale and table sponsorships also add to the proceeds. 

A highlight of the night is the basket auction, which brings in about a third of the funds. Center supporters, including everyone from Eastern Star chapters to local businesses, donate themed baskets that are sold at a silent auction. The bid sheets include a starting bid and bid increments to ensure that the baskets go for a legitimate price.

The size and value of the baskets vary. A few of the basket themes over the years have included scrapbooking, fishing, art supplies, pasta, dinner for two, movie night, and even an exercise-themed basket, complete with a workout mat, weights and an exercise DVD.

“The baskets are always fun,” Carol said. “People come up with different themes, and we get some really neat ones.”

This year more than 40 baskets were donated, raising over $1,800 dollars.

Almost everything at the event is donated, from food to services. Volunteers sign up to donate food items like hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, fries and nachos as well as beverages.

One couple owns an old fashioned milkshake machine that they bring every year and donate the ingredients for shakes and sundaes. The Elvis impersonator and disc jockey volunteer their time each year.

Committee members have discussed changing up the theme. But for now they’re going to stick with what works.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time. Elvis is in the building
John Berrill
Portland Me

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