How do you create a successful event? Start with an idea, enthusiasm, a fun-packed obstacle course, and then just add water… balloons.

On June 17, 13-year-old Indigo Kopp hosted a Field Day at Plainfield, Elementary School. Her goal was to raise money and awareness for the Sierra Club Foundation, an organization that takes on the environmental causes close to her heart, right at home in New Hampshire and around the world.  We talked to Indigo about how she made it happen, what she learned from the experience, and what’s next for this enthusiastic, environmentally-minded mover who, in her mom’s words, “does not want to miss out on a darn thing in this life!”

What inspired you to take on a Positive Tracks Challenge? “Last summer my Mom sent my brother Finn and me to the Positive Tracks Camp at Kimball Union Academy. At first I thought it was just a really fun day, but at the end, when a girl talked about her own Positive Tracks Challenge it made me think, ‘I can do this, too!’”

How did it go from a good idea to something real? “It stayed in the back of my mind for a few months, and then it resurfaced. I filled out the application and sent it in to Positive Tracks. Then I had to figure out what to do. I knew I wanted to do something for the environment, and climate change.”

IMG_3368How did you pick the Sierra Club? “My mom told me about the Sierra Club and I liked that they were doing work all over, beyond where I live in the Upper Valley. They are not just asking for money but also informing people about how they can help. I also liked that Sierra Club partners with other organizations that share similar missions. They work together and I think that’s the way change is going to happen. Together.”

Once you picked the cause, then what? “I got overwhelmed. How do I start? That’s where Positive Tracks came in. Liz from Positive Tracks helped me go over my ideas and decide what to do. She showed me how to do it myself.”

Why a Field Day? “I wanted to do something lots of people would be interested in and could do without having to be great at one thing. It was more about getting active and getting people interested in the cause. I decided against doing anything in pairs or teams because I did not want anyone to feel left out.”

What was the hardest part about the actual event?  “It was hard to decide what obstacles and how many to do, having never done this before. I relied a lot on help from people like Liz and my mom, who have done events before. My peak stress was about two days before the event, when I was worried about how it would turn out.”

What was the best part? “As soon as the day came I could just breathe. It was super fun. My favorite station was the water balloon launch. The obstacles, the venue set up and the length of event was good. The snow cones, watermelon and lemonade—they were all good. It was nice to accomplish it, and to know I could do it!”

Did you set any goals going in? “My goal was to have 35 people and raise $230. I met my fundraising goal but not quite my participation goal, though I was close. I would rather it was flip- flopped because what I want most is to raise awareness.”

Would you do anything differently next time? “Next time I would start earlier getting the word out. I used my school newsletter and flyers, but the best was word of mouth. I would try to get more done earlier to create less stress for myself. Also, I would focus less on the fundraising and more on getting the word out about the cause.”

What advice would you offer to anyone taking on their own event? “Pitch something you are passionate about! It was definitely scary but so rewarding knowing I was not only raising money but helping more people think about my cause and get passionate about it. Find what you want to change, or what you want to support, and just go for it!

After hearing about her event, a local chapter of Sierra Club asked Indigo to be an official committee member representing her generation. Indigo said “yes.”

 

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