festival of trees - a grownup prom
The formal night would be quite a departure from our usual 6 a.m. gathering at Mentor Heisley Racquet & Fitness Club. We're all in the middle of our lives, mostly women and a few men, who do aerobics, work out with weights and other exercise equipment early each weekday morning. The sense of support we bring to our workouts has, over the past few years, extended to other parts of our lives. So when our workout colleague Kathie Hartman Frisby (at right, standing) invited us to the Nov. 20 Festival of Tree gala we began making our plans.
We agree with Kathie that taking care of the younger generations is vitally important and a look at the success that BigBrothers BigSisters has in doing that is convincing. Kathie is a Big Brothers board member and a tireless supporter of the cause. Their matches of adult mentors with children have had amazing results in the lives of kids from this area. I wrote about a few of the organization's programs a few weeks back and came away even more impressed with its impact. (See www.news-herald.com ; Nov. 8 )
The Festival of Trees was lots more than a great night out. Gorgeous Christmas trees, many decorated by pros, were auctioned off. Silent auction items ranging from spa services to ski weekends and even a hot water heater were represented at tables around the room.
Ohio wines were poured and hors d'oeuvres passed as we oohed and ahhed over how nice we all cleaned up. We couldn't help but notice how those abs and lats we work on at Heisley fit dress-up clothes.
Big Brother Joe Dalhausen and his Little Brother, Kyle of Mentor, spoke to us briefly about what their involvement has brought to their lives. It's clearly a win-win scenario for both of them and other Bigs and Littles.
Most of us had never really seen each other except without makeup, with our Tshirts and shorts drenched from working out. Now we were all glitter and shine, hair in place and elevated by heels; the guys resplendent in tuxedoes.
One of the tallest trees was a Wine Tree, with each of seven levels filled with bottles of wine. One level also included a week's getaway to Hilton Head while another included eight cases of wine. Raffle tickets were $20.
The evening's Dessert Dash was a really fun element. Elaborate desserts from a variety of food professionals overflowed a central table in the middle of the dance floor. Each 10-person table filled an envelope with donations and the top fundraisers got the honor of dashing for their choice of desserts.
A runner was appointed by each table. Since we work out together we knew that Nancy Crissinger (standing second from left, in photo above) was one of our speediest members. Nancy took off her shoes so as not to slide out of control on the dance floor and waited for the signal. But our table was not among the top donors, so she had to wait for others. She returned with a great plate of goodies which we all devoured. The next table, however, shared the cake it scored in the Dash.
The Dessert Dash alone raised $6,800 for BigBrothers BigSisters.
I'm hoping a blog reader involved with the group will send a message telling us how much the evening raised for the organization.
We all agreed that the Gala was a lot of fun. But since most of us are up every day around 5 a.m. to make it to the gym on time, we faded fast. I didn't even stay long enough to learn if I won any wine.
That's the down side to being an early riser.
Labels: big brother big sisters