Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 5th – more details to come.
To celebrate the announcement of this year’s hike, we wanted to share more about how the first hike came to be. To learn about the story, we spoke with Mark Green, Vice President of Business Processes and Finance at Karl Storz – and the hike’s creator.
How did the idea of the hike first start and what was your role?
I have been a contributor to Kidsave for many years, and had not volunteered prior to the first hike. At the Gala prior to the 2015 Hike, I was inspired by the stories I heard and I decided I wanted to volunteer in some capacity. Shortly thereafter, I was in a Landmark Forum program. For that program, we needed to do a project and I fully expected it to be a work related project… I had a couple in mind. However, they suggested we do some internal brainstorming even if we already had our project idea selected. From that, I came up with a few ideas and then was inspired to combine them into one. The Hike idea was born from the desire to 1) bring the joys and benefits of hiking to the community and kids 2) to find a way to bring the community together with the kids and create the opportunities for connections to the kids and Kidsave, and 3) raise money for Kidsave.
When I went back to my car that same night, I heard a Kidsave commercial on KCRW – the first time I had heard it – and took it as a sign. The next morning, my mind was working through hike ideas and I had just thought about our need to do some marketing for the event and was wandering where I might get help. Just then, I ran into our Corporate Communications Director (who I had not seen in months). Another sign. I asked if her team could help and she readily agreed. Normally, our company-supported charitable activities are all in the medical field, but Karl Storz was willing to support with company resources, fundraising events, etc. No direct cash contribution from the company. Karl Storz has been great in supporting our efforts. I then started reaching out to people to help create the event.
Describe the first hike: What were some of the highlights? Why did you decide to take part? What were some of the challenges?
The first hike was a great success. My internal fundraising target was $10k. I put out there the goal of $20k. I think we raised nearly $13k. More importantly, we got new people introduced to Kidsave and helped create and foster connections. It was a fun day with the kids, though very hot. The team came together wonderfully, helping with food, raising funds and awareness, leading hike groups, setup/cleanup, etc. We struggled a bit with the website and just getting used to how things worked. We also had a relatively tight timeframe, especially given it was the first hike. We got a late start on sponsor searches and struggled a bit with when to do what… all normal learning experiences. Biggest challenge is in recruiting hikers.
Is there anything that will improve for this year’s hike?
We got a much earlier start on the process. We know what we want and when. The hike will also be a loop this time, instead of in and out.
Why should people participate?
This is a wonderful opportunity to help the older foster kids that are often left behind by the system. I have found that many people are willing to help, they just need to be asked and informed. Meeting and getting to know the kids is awesome. Doing the hike and seeing a part of LA that most people don’t even know about is great too. Why not participate?
What is your favorite part of putting on the hike?
Hard to pick a favorite part. The team work. The kids. Seeing the kid’s faces when they got new shoes. Seeing it come together and believing we can continue to grow the event.
Why is this kind of fundraising event important?
This is important because it helps to bring physical activity to the kids and community. I think we all need this. It does so in a beautiful way and may introduce the benefits of hiking to some. Even more importantly, it really provides an opportunity for the kids and adults to get to know each other. Even if the adults have no plans to adopt or become a permanent connection, it is a very rewarding experience.
Do you have any specific stories about connections made at the last hike or anything special you observed during the event?
At the event, a number of colleagues came to me to share how they felt, and that they were truly touched by what Kidsave does and the kid’s needs. That was pretty cool. Watching some of the kids come out of their shell during the hike was also cool. One of the kids started out very quiet and reserved. At the end of the hike he was talking with kids and adults alike… and challenged one of the other kids to a race. It was very close.
Anything you would like to add?
I welcome all to come and hike, raise money, meet the kids… You will have no regrets.
Register today – RSVP HERE.