Local Church School will Flock with Flamingos to Raise Money for Camp.
Think about your front lawn. You make sure it gets enough water. You time the mowing schedule so the grass will look nice for the weekend. You take great satisfaction to add just the right amount of shrubbery to give the perfect look.
Now imagine that lawn covered with dozens of plastic pink flamingos. If you’ve seen a lawn with this pink overload in recent weeks, you are witnessing a flamingo-flocking.
For thirty-five dollars, parents and students in the fifth grade class of St. Paul Lutheran School will cover a typical Merced lawn with up to forty flaming pink plastic flamingos.
School admissions director Mary Ann Daughdrill says this is a fundraiser that has been going on for the past six years. “We hope to cover the cost for the fifth-grade class to go to Hume Lake Christian Camp in the Sierra Mountains.”
Typically, a relative or neighbor will pay the School a suggested thirty-five dollar donation. Volunteers will come to the lawn shortly after sunset and do their gentle redecoration. The flamingos stay on the lawn for twenty-four hours.
Plastic flamingo season in Merced usually gets started in August and runs through October when the fifth graders head off to Hume Lake. Some weeks are very active with two or three lawns getting the pink treatment every night.
One year, the fund raiser was so successful, all of the dozen or more campers had their entire Hume Lake trip costs covered by proceeds from the flamingo flocking.
There was even money left over to purchase in-house planters for the school and make a donation to the local animal shelter. The class gets involved with ideas for donating excess funds.
Flamingo decorating is one of the several outside-the-box ideas local schools and non-profits are trying to raise awareness and money.
Playhouse Merced produces a Broadway themed revue in the summer.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) stages an evening of video horse racing in the spring.
Just about every other non-profit uses some variation of the dinner-followed-by- auction format to make money their cause.
And who can forget the summer of 2015 bucket challenge to raise funds for continued research into Lou Gehrig's Disease?
The idea of strangers taking over the front lawn with over three dozen plastic flamingos can bring some risk. Families, their neighbors and the curious wonder what’s happening in their cul de sacs.
Usually, all it takes is a quick explanation of what is going on and why it’s all for a good cause.
“One time, the children of one family were playing in the front yard when we arrived,” Mary Ann says. “We waited for a while, and then just asked the children to go inside and look outside for a surprise in a few minutes.”
Steve Newvine lives in Merced