About a year ago I was asked to help run a social media campaign for a local event called Motionball. I was recently getting into social media marketing and I couldn’t help but jump on the opportunity to help a great cause and learn at the same time!
Motionball is a foundation raising funds for the Special Olympics Canada. It’s a cause striving to encourage Canadians to come together and raise funds, awareness and ensure the long term stability of the foundation.
Normally, I like to be able to get the full fledged experience before I begin social media-ing about anything. But because I had to wait an entire year to really understand the emotions behind what it was like to experience Motionball, and the fact I had to start gaining social traction ASAP, I kind of just had to go off what past information was available. I saw a lot of photos with familiar faces from Kelowna’s business community, I learned about the special Olympic athletes who participated last year, and I watched a few Youtube videos explaining how Motionball came to be. I honestly thought I knew what to expect come “Game Day” on Sept 23, 2017 … but wow, did I underestimate the emotions I was going to feel.
I woke up bright and early, with my phone charged, my Motionball gear on, and a surprising excitement for the day. I arrived at City Park around 7:30 am and the bleachers had already started to fill up. I was told by the committee members that they had reached their team goals but I honestly was not ready to see so many young business professionals showing their support for Motionball so early on a Saturday morning. For some reason, I always brace myself for low turnouts at these kind of events but I was pleasantly surprised last week!
This event is sponsored on a national and local level but the local support is so important for the “day of” success. There were realtors, lawyers, tech companies, food and beverage services, and sound studios all donating time and funds to make Saturday a success. It was great to even see the Bean Scene supplying the coffee for the day!
Once the crowd was settled with coffee in hands and organized into their teams, the Executive Director and master organizer, Donnie Ungaro, stepped up to the microphone. Donnie shared the necessary information that helped prepare everyone for the day ahead – and then the athletes were introduced. The local Special Olympics athletes ran into the stadium as they were introduced to their team captains and everyone was off to their stations to start the biggest sports day of the year!
The camaraderie, the friendly competition, and the friendships that were formed throughout the day was amazing to witness. Being one of the people keeping an eye on the social media activity, I was able to see everyone tagging photos, sharing stories, and connecting on a very individual level with their Special Olympic athletes. There was no doubt the whole city knew about the event because of all the social blasts!
It was a long and exciting day in City Park and it was all captured with the help of Harvey, the photographer behind behind Pinstripe Productions. Hockey, basketball, human foosball, flag football, ultimate frisbee, bocce … it was a day FULL of sport and it ended with a great finale! Kelowna’s Motionball committee came into this year hoping to make their goal of $80,000 in fundraising. However, once everyone had come together again for the closing ceremonies, and the cheque was presented, Donnie turned the cheque around and the final tally exceeded expectations! The city of Kelowna raised $105,000 for Motionball this year – $105k! For such a small city (in comparison to Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto etc), this was a goal they were not sure would ever be reached… BUT Kelowna blew almost every city in Canada out of the water and I could not be more proud of our city!
Sometimes… I find myself giving up on these types of events. In such a work driven city I feel sometimes people are so focused on financial success and work that supporting our diverse community can get put by the wayside. Last Saturday showed me a different side to Kelowna’s business world. To see so many young professionals come out and show their support, volunteer their time, be on their feet all day, and share their love of sport with our local Special Olympians made my first Motionball event a day to remember and feel proud to call Kelowna home.
Keep your eyes and ears open for next years event! The committee is looking for awesome people to join the Kelowna Team so if this is something you are interested in helping out with, I would highly recommend getting in contact with them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also head on over to their Instagram @motionballkelowna and give them a follow so you can stay up to date as next years’ event planning commences.
This is a local event not to be missed!