National Project: Back to School Shopping Spree Origins

Other 20-30 Club national projects:
Universal Fingerprinting
Safety Sallys (putting up warning signs at school’s crosswalks)

Curious to know about when clubs started shopping sprees? Or maybe just wanting to know when it became our current United States National Project?

Members from Sacramento #1 visited the re-chartered Stockton Club around 1974. That club was hosting a back to school shopping spree. They thought it a great idea and brought it back to Sacramento, where a back to school spree happened around 1980.*

More and more clubs starting holding their own shopping sprees and when a new National Project committee was formed in 1993, they ended up deciding on having this be the one that they felt clubs would get behind.

Kevin Thompson from Torrance, California “ran for National President on the campaign of a National Project. My campaign speech included … “I have a dream that on the same day, every year, thousands of Active 20-30 members together with thousands of needy children and their families will gather with the purpose of obtaining new clothes and supplies to return to school.” The vision was to create a united cause as previously Active 20-30 did not have a united National project.” He became the National President in the 1994-1995 term and got to work on making his goal a reality. He hoped to reach out to stores like Mervyn’s or Target and get a corporate deal for across the U.S.**

Back-to-School Shopping Spree

The National Project Committee met with Jan O’Laughlan, Community Projects/Public Affairs Manager, Mervyn’s, and established Saturday, August 3rd as the Active 20-30 Back-to-School Shopping Spree. This will be in concert with Mervyn’s fifth Annual ChildSpree.

With your club’s involvement and all of our clubs across the country, it is our hope to provide clothing and school supplies to over 1500 needy children on this very special day.

It has been a three year endeavor to find a project that all of our clubs could participate in no matter what size the club or how much money the club decided to spend on the project.

The National Office has a sample letter that can be used to send to your local Mervyn’s store as well as “Child Release Form” and a sample set up sheet to give you an idea on how the project should be run.

Each Mervyn’s store has available $1500 matching funds for this purpose. Mervyn’s has requested that each Active 20-30 Club contact the local store to submit a request for these matching funds. While there may be a competing non-profit agency also requesting the allocated funds, Mervyn’s is very aware of our national effort and it would therefor behoove us to submit our requests as soon as possible.

Upon receipt of the club’s request and approval of the $1500 matching funds, Mervyn’s will also provide a very detailed “How-to-Kit” to augment what you will receive from the National Office. Mervyn’s will additionally provide a 10% discount for Active 20-30 the day of the event as well as any sales or special promotions that may be going on.

It is the hope of your National Board of Directors that all of our clubs will participate in this worthwhile National project. However, we know it takes time for new projects to get incorporated into a club’s schedule. But certainly for those clubs who can’t participate this year, they will be able to join the others clubs in 1997.***

PROJECT: A Gathering of Eagles

eagles-03Pssst … Buddy, ya wanna buy an eagle? Rent one? How about a long term loan?

This is what the US Department of Interior offered the Sacramento City Zoo; a permanent loan of several pairs of Golden Eagles, provided an appropriate display area be created. And that’s when the Active 20-30 Club of Sacramento go involved.

A year ago (May ’73) Bill Meeker, a Director of the city zoo, was invited to speak before the Sacramento club on “What’s New At The Zoo?” After hearing about the development of the zoo into one of the most formidable for a community the size of Sacramento, and about Meeker’s plans for future zoo development, he was invited to make a presentation before the club’s Projects and Charities Committee.

Meeker advised the P/C Committee that in order to keep pace with other similar zoos, and in order to maintain public interest and attendance, a new exhibit should be developed every one or two years. Meeker added that there were no funds available for expansion. He therefore envisioned his best source for zoo expansion would be through the Sacramento area’s service clubs. He felt that if one major club, such as Active 20-30, would provide the first new exhibit, this would be the initiative for other service clubs to build additional new exhibits.

Meeker introduced his plans to expand the zoo with a new ornithology area to include many new aviary exhibits. The first being the new eagle aerie for our national bird. He showed the P/C Committee an illustration of a new eagle display shaped like a giant canary cage and said the cost would be approximately $1,500.00 for material and construction. The committee suggested the plan ought to be revised to a larger more natural exhibit with high rock formations, trees, etc. Meeker thought this was a great idea but too expensive since it would boost the cost to around $20,000.00.

Nevertheless, the Sacramento club believed they could build such a cage, using the resources available through its own members, and voted to go ahead with the project.

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After the zoo provided the basic design, several engineers from the club determined what the structural requirements would be and their approximate costs. They estimated if the club could obtain the majority of the materials by donations from the community, the cost could be kept within $2,000.00 … including food and beer. After this, several club members in the construction industry determined the time and manpower requirements. They estimated ten to fifteen members working on the project for five or six weekends would complete the entire job.

An “Eagle Cage Committee” was formed with two co-chairmen: Steve Whichard, who is a partner in Whichard Construction, to provide the expertise and round up materials; and Ned Strong, from the mortgage business, to provide manpower.

The exhibit was planned to include a 25-foot high heavy-gauge screened area which could best be framed with telephone poles. The then-president of the Sacramento club (ahem) just happened to be employed by Pacific Telephone and was able to obtain enough poles for the exhibit, which the telephone company also placed. Through members in the construction industry, cement for the foundation, lumber, nails, metal eagles-02doors for the building, and many other materials were provided. Another major construction item was the framing and gunnite material to create the rock-mountain structure. Steve Whichard was able to have all of the material, as well as its construction, donated by the Northern California Lethe and Plaster Contractors Association. This, obviously saved the club several thousand dollars. All other labor, in addition to tools such as forklifts, power equipment, hammers and pliers, was provided by club members.

The cage took seven working weekends to complete, starting last October and ending in April. Dedication will be May 23, 1974.

Sacramento City Zoo now has a new eagle aerie at no cost to the city, valued at $20,000.00, because of the initiative, imagination and effective use of resources of the Active 20-30 Club of Sacramento.

Hefflefinger, Dean. “A Gathering of Eagles.” Active 20-30. April/May 1974: 12-13. Print.

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