With the celebration of today’s launching of World Hoop Day’s brand new and beautiful website, and with World Hoop Day 2012 now just a few days away, if you haven’t already figured out your plans for how you and your area will be spending 12/12/12 this year, then now is the time for making it 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 in your area. When hoopers all over the planet congregate on 12/12/12 to spin things up on one very special hooping day, do you want to be left out of the mix?
Last year Kevin O’Keeffe stopped at a small coffee shop in New Orleans and started talking about World Hoop Day. He told everyone about it who came into the shop. 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. Kids and people showed up to celebrate. They all appeared on the evening news and in the local papers – all because one guy stopped at a coffee shop less than a week before 10/10/10. If all that can transpire in a week, what can you do with an entire month still left to prepare? Here’s some helpful tips co-authored by Hoopin’ Annie of World Hoop Day and Philo Hagen of Hooping.org, on just how to rock World Hoop Day 2011 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 brand new website is chock full of information. In a nutshell, however, World Hoop Day is a two-part organization. It is a non-profit charity that gives away hoops to children around the world in need. It is also an international holiday where people gather to hoop for health, peace, love and joy.
2. Location, Location, Location: Most World Hoop Day events are held in city parks. Some people choose farmer’s markets, community centers, school gyms or beaches. Choosing the best venue for your World Hoop Day really depends on your location, hemisphere and the anticipated number of hoopers. Given that World Hoop Day is also a great day for hooper visibility, in raising money to get more hoops to more kids in need you might want to consider a public place where you will be noticed and the hoop love can spread to anyone just passing by. Flash Hoop mobs have also become a popular way to start in one spot and hoop parade through town spreading the word. Other things to certainly consider are convenience to a public restroom, and public transit access so nobody misses 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. 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 the World Hoop Day mission. If you show up playing the part of a responsible looking adult, or if you actually are a responsible adult, well, anything can happen. In one particular instance, a helpful city worker told us that if we wanted a permit it was going to cost us several hundred dollars, “but if you were to host an anti-war political rally where you happened to be 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, right?” You generally don’t get that kind of candor over the phone. In the end, 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 shut down right in the middle of it.
4. Pick a Time: World Hoop Day 2012 is on a Wednesday this year. Ohh, won’t people be at work? Well, perhaps, but in the United States this year World Hoop Day shares the date with Veteran’s Day, a national holiday, so many businesses will be closed. Given that WHD is an international holiday, however, you can always plan to start your event at 5:30pm. Or make World Hoop Day last all weekend long with different events daily and you all hoop till your pants fall down.
5. Plan the Day(s): When it comes to planning your itinerary for World Hoop Day, plans can range from very simple to really ambitious. A simple plan would be to schedule a hoop jam for an hour on 12/12/12 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, but to have them there for the hooping celebration. Some cities organize a full day of activities, while others organize a weekend of events with something every day. Be sure and include the Peace Prayer. At a desired time, ask everyone to gather in a circle and join hands or link arms. Say a few special words about those we love, have lost and are working for world peace. Remain standing and linked in silence for 111 seconds.
6. Supporting World Hoop Day: It’s always great if you can include some support for World Hoop Day in your plan. The majority of the money WHD receives each year comes from all of you. This money then gets turned around to the WHD Ambassadors who travel with hand-made hoops, 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 contributions are tax deductible.
7. Recruit: Ask for help from your 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. Remind them that together you can really make this happen.
8. Promote: In the all too grim world of the media, most news agencies won’t pass by a story opportunity about World Hoop Day. Hula hoops to help needy kids is a winner every time, but they have to know about it first. 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 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 do so. Take advantage of it, and don’t be surprised if the media turns up at the actual event with a camera crew, too.
9. Get Global: 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 2012 and teach it, film it and send your video to Spin Matsuri for inclusion in the final global edited World Hoop Day Dance video project.
10. 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 activity, but at the end of the party you’ll have a whole bunch of hoops on hand to gift to kids in need in your area. You can also plan for hoop making at your World Hoop Day event with a hoop making station. Those who have never made a hoop before are often quite excited to help with the process. Ask for donations to cover the cost of your materials. If you live somewhere that hoop making just isn’t going to happen, remember that your donations to World Hoop Day will do all of that work for you.
11. Gratitude: It is helpful to remember gratitude throughout all of your event planning. Manners and politeness go much further with a smile. Do keep a list of those who have contributed to your World Hoop Day event. Be sure to thank everyone who gave of their materials, time, energy and donations. You can also keep a list of names and emails to carry on the hoop fun all year round.
Whatever you end up doing for World Hoop Day 2012, we look forward to sharing the day hooping with you wherever you may be, hearing all about it, and seeing your photos and videos. If any other local World Hoop Day organizers out there have gained any other tips they’ve found to be valuable, please feel free to share.