On September 26th, Johns Creek Elementary School (JCE) held its first annual Jaguar Fit Fest. Over 1,047 energetic students, 50 enthusiastic teachers, 100 dedicated parent volunteers and several community businesses joined together for a day of fitness, health-related activities and lots of fun, all in support of the school's major fundraiser.
With cut-backs continuing to challenge school budgets, fundraisers have become a critical source of money to help support school programs and improvements. We are all familiar with fundraisers that sell candy, coupon books and wrapping paper; however, many people may not be aware that the third-party companies that manage these types of fundraisers retain 40-50% of the monies earned, which significantly impacts what the school receives.
This year, the JCE Parent Teacher Association (PTA) decided to explore fundraising options that could be managed entirely by the school, to help JCE retain more proceeds for the benefit of the school. Through the vision and leadership of Amy Bartle and Misha Patel (PTA Co-VPs of Fundraising) and Kim Autry (Physical Education Teacher), the students, parents and staff collaborated to develop and implement the first annual Jaguar Fit Fest., with a focus on health, nutrition and overall wellness.
The event kicked off early in the week with a pep rally, including a visit from JC, the school's own Jaguar mascot. The day of the event, each student received a Jaguar Fit Fest t-shirt to wear. Everyone started with warm ups and then visited 29 different activity stations that included karate kicks, pilates, soccer dribbling, tennis pop-ups, capture the flag and various other activities. Students were also challenged to a game of Fitness Feud and Fitness Trivia, testing their knowledge of sports and nutrition. Wholesome snacks and lunch were provided throughout the day to reinforce the value of making healthy meal selections. During the day, the students were treated to a visit by Thrash, the Atlanta Thrasher's mascot
While the fundraising aspect is purely voluntary, most students helped raise money through either a flat donation or collecting a dollar amount per activity that they participated in throughout the event, from friends and family.
The benefit to the school is two-fold, since JCE exclusively manages the fundraiser, it allows the school to retain 100% of the proceeds and secondly, each student gets to participate in earning money for their school in a healthy and positive environment, as well as enjoy new enhancements throughout the school as a result.
Debbie Smith, JCE Principal, said she "was so pleased to see all the children, teachers and parents collaborate to support the event. We all agree that Jaguar Fit Fest is a wonderful, new tradition for Johns Creek Elementary School, and one that will grow bigger and better each year!"
Jaguar Fit Fest raised more than $42,000, and plans to use the proceeds to support the school's media center resources, playground improvements and other PTA programs. Since the funds remain within the school, enhancements will begin immediately so that students can enjoy the benefits of their fundraising activities quickly.