The idea behind World Hoop Day is a simple one. Annie was hanging out with some NYC hoopers around Cinco de Mayo (05/05/2005) and thought how awesome it would be to have a holiday for hoopers. She wanted just one day a year where everyone could take the day off work to play, laugh, be with loved ones, hopefully be outside in nature and create memories. The other hoopers around her thought it was brilliant, of course.
But how does one go about creating a new national holiday, much less a local one? Travel and the internet. Oh and gifting, but that comes later. The idea was perfect motivation for her upcoming trip to Europe and Asia. She brought her hoop with her and shared her idea of a holiday that can create peace just by hooping. Those in Vienna became excited, but doubtful during an interview for a TV show like MTV. This doubt held in her mind as she returned to the USA to go to Burning Man.
Burning Man promotes a gifting economy, or a trading environment where currency becomes skills or tangibles rather than dollars and cents. Annie used her scents she acquired at Burning Man, combined with her International Trade degree and added the missing ingredient to World Hoop Day.
Give hoops away!
She returned to Europe that year with her mission in mind, yet unsure how to do it. Having met some amazing people who told her about CouchSurfing.com and being able to stay in people’s homes for free who enjoy traveling and sharing stories, the idea seemed to swell inside her. People out there besides just at Burning Man like to give. They opened their homes to her, often separate apartments. All of the exchange was done before hand on the web. She had to create a place for World Hoop Day online.
Starting with Tribe, MySpace and eventually buying a domain, hoopers flocked to the idea. Donations even started trickling in from Europe and the USA. Holy Hoops, Batman, the idea is working. Donating hoops costs money. Hoopers began sending cash to donate hoops to people in areas of the world with limited resources. Recruiting hoopers who were traveling and could take hoops with them became people who Annie sought out and vice versa.
The holiday idea was still in the back of Annie’s mind. The idea formed around 05/05/05. She really believes in the power of a symbol and symbolically number have great meaning. The triple six has quite negative connotations with a large amount of the world, so Annie thought about three 7s. How about 07/07/2007? What luck! It was a Saturday. The first international hooping holiday was to be on a Saturday, July 7, 2007. After that it was pretty easy.
She spent 2006 promoting World Hoop Day online and getting the word out. Returning to Burning Man in ’06 she met hoopers from all over the world and put a fire in their bellies for a holiday which has directly improved their lives. By the time June 2007 rolled around, over 100 cities were planning celebrations for World Hoop Day. In 2010 an additional 350 cities on all seven continents joined the event. Hoping for the best for 2011 and 2012 World Hoop Day could become the largest international holiday the world has seen.
To create income for the Ambassadors who would be traveling and distributing hoops, she created a line of merchandise that people could wear while hooping. Stickers were put on cars and bikes and hoops. Newsletters, performances and word of mouth helped spread the World Hoop Day buzz.
After a few years of generating more media attention, we achieved our 501 (c) 3 status to create a possible means for larger sponsors and tax deductible donations. The organization is still volunteer based, costs kept low, patience kept high. We continue to ask for donations and have learned that fund raisers including silent auctions are the best way to raise money.
As for World Hoop Day 2013 and beyond, a survey and vote will be cast after November 11, 2011.