Acting as One

January 29, 2015

When it comes to large fundraising projects, combining student-athletes from a couple of athletic teams often leads to success. Get the football and basketball teams together and the annual car wash triples its profit. Combine the wrestling and softball teams for a lift-a-thon and there is some great comradery. But how about partnering athletes with students involved in theater?

At Hazel Green (Ala.) High School, that scary scenario turned into a fantastic fundraiser last October in which baseball players and drama students teamed up to create a haunted house Halloween attraction for the community. The event brought in over $9,000 and bridged gaps between two very different groups of students.

T.J. Orr, Head Baseball Coach at Hazel Green, came up with the idea during a workout session with other teachers. "Clint Merritt, the head of our drama department, and I were at the gym, and fundraising came up," he says. "We started talking about how it would be neat to do an event together. The idea for a haunted house was mentioned, and it evolved from there."

The first step was getting the two groups of students to buy in to the idea of working together. "When we started planning, Clint and I didn't think there would be any major conflicts between the kids," Orr says. "But we soon realized their personalities clashed. The baseball players didn't understand how to appreciate drama, and the theater students didn't get the competitiveness and intensity of baseball."

In response, Orr and Merritt organized activities to help the two groups bond. "The baseball players did improv at the first meeting," says Orr. "During a second gathering, the theater students completed a P90X workout with the baseball players.

"The third meeting was the best," he continues. "Clint had the students portray coaches and administrators from the school. He told the kids, 'You're Coach Orr, you're [Assistant Baseball] Coach Weeks, you're the principal, and you're the athletic director. You have just caught a student skipping class. What do you do?' They liked making fun of us and from that point forward everybody clicked."

From there, the group began planning the specifics of the attraction--what scenes would be included, what they would look like, how many actors each needed, how many ticket-takers and parking attendants to find, and so on. Orr and Merritt soon realized they would need seed money to construct the scenes and turned to the students' parents, who formed a Promotions Committee. By soliciting local businesses, the group brought in $4,500 in sponsorships.

"We gave every sponsor tickets for their personal use as a thank you for donating, but we also provided them with ticket packages to sell that would cover their contribution," Orr says. "For example, if a sponsor donated $300, we'd give them $300 worth of tickets free of charge to sell in their business. If they sold all the tickets, they'd break even."

A paintball facility offered its 100-acre wooded lot as the site for the event, which was dubbed "Haunted Woods in Howell." Eleven live scenes were constructed and staffed by the Hazel Green baseball team and drama program. Many referenced popular horror movies like Saw, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Silence of the Lambs, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Almost 1,500 people attended the attraction, which was open during weekends in October. After expenses, each group earned $4,600. Orr's squad is putting the money toward building a new field, while the theater department is using the funds for transportation to competitions.

Encouraged by the community's enthusiastic response, and no longer facing the burden of start-up costs, Orr is looking to repeat the event next October. He's confident his players feel the same way. "It was a little rough early on, but once the kids bought into working together, they had the time of their lives," he says. "I expect this will be one of their great memories from high school."
From New World Of Coaching
Bob Ladouceur’s coaching innovations at De La Salle produced 12 straight undefeated seasons in football, which set a national record at the time of 151 consecutive wins. But for Ladouceur, the number of accumulating wins was never his main focus—just a byproduct of the culture he built within his team.
SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

A Rebounder With Versatility

Medicine ball exercises are a staple of many workout routines. Whether the goal is performance enhancement by strengthening the core or helping an athlete rehab from an injury, medicine balls are versatile piece of equipment that can get the job done. But most strength coaches and athletic trainers don’t have enough time available to catch … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Author and Strength Coach Mike Mejia Praises VersaClimber

“Over the course of the past twenty years I’ve trained hundreds of clients that run the gamut from average Joe’s to professional athletes and in all that time, I’ve never come across a cardio piece that comes anywhere near the Versa Climber!” says Mike Mejia M.S., CSCS, author of The Men’s Heath Better Body Blueprint, … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Indoor Pool Surface Solution

Mateflex has indoor pool surfacing that is safer and more enjoyable to walk on than concrete. Mateflex offers perforated tiles to allow water to drain through that can cover up old, unsightly concrete or just spruce up a new area with a colorful design. The interlocking tiles dry quickly while keeping your feet out of … CLICK TO READ MORE...

The Evolution of the Lifting Platform

The days of the above ground weightlifting platform may be a thing of the past. More and more high schools, colleges, and professional strength and conditioning facilities who are either building a new facility or renovating an existing facility are going away from the traditional above ground lifting platform and choosing the inlaid platform, which … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Teaching Principles: Neck Rotation

Coach Bill ‘Jake’ Jacobs goes back to the basic teaching principles with Neck Rotation. View his demonstration.  CLICK TO READ MORE...

VIEW MORE ARTICLES

Stay at the Top of Your Game!
x
Receive articles like this by signing up for our newsletters