All Duckpin team members are encouraged to spend quality time outside of the office environment to recharge. We have monthly team building outings, indulge ourselves on the occasional company wide “mandatory” walk around the neighborhood, or in this case, we have two available days off dedicated to volunteer work. I’ve always been an advocate of balancing sedentary work life and outdoor activity, so I took the opportunity to volunteer for a full day’s work helping set up a cause-based music festival called Campout For The Cause.
If you have ever been to a camping music festival, you will understand that it is usually just a big party with thousands of people that lose their inhibitions dancing to their favorite music all weekend long. This festival certainly had that element to it, but it also had a focus on improving your health. The music didn’t start until well into the afternoon so the yoga and mindfulness instructors had a chance to be the only option for a while. There were workshops promoting nutrition, creative writing, environmentally friendly practices and family values. It seemed like there were more families than not; family-based events were plentiful and a large kid zone was built. I’ve never seen a festival ground so clean after the concerts ended, there was not a piece of trash in sight (I even noticed a person in the crowd pick up a beer can and ask if anyone had any others for him to take to recycling). The musicians had nothing but positive things to say and sing about.
This festival was named Campout for the Cause for a reason. Emmy’s Friends started as a grassroots fund that was created to assist with payments for medical expenses for a 2 year old, Emery Welle, who was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer called embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. After 2+ years of treatments, the family turned it into a non-profit designed to help families with young children receive better access to nutritional and organic foods and guidance for a more healthy lifestyle. In keeping with the mission, the festival as a whole is designed to do just that for all of the attendees, and it is the only one of its kind that I know of.
I chose this volunteer event for a multitude of reasons. I spent the day before the event started doing manual labor (clearing brush from campsites, pounding in stakes for temporary fencing, fastening large signs to tents, etc), but I wanted a change of pace from life in the office. Some of my favorite musicians were playing. I practice yoga and meditation, so I was excited to participate in some of those events. Everyone there knew that their money was going towards healthy practices for others, but they also were there to benefit their health as well. I believe that when a large group of like-minded individuals gather together in celebration of self improvement and health, that feeling carries with them and affects others outside of the circle. With that idea, we can all induce real change. We are constantly exposed to so much negativity and constant reminders of hopelessness for the future of the earth in the media, but if you step away from the screen and into your community, you will see that positive people are getting together to help in abundance. I’m grateful that Duckpin gives us the opportunity to do so.