Freezin’ for a reason

It was like someone repeatedly stabbed my feet with knives.

Earlier this month I participated in Rochester’s annual Polar Plunge.  I was covering it for work, and figured I might as well take a dip in the icy, 34-degree waters of Lake Ontario. Thousands take part in the event, which raises funds for Special Olympics programs in the Rochester area.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 768Yes, those are snow ice banks. And that’s ice floating in the water.

After working for a few hours (interviewing organizers and other plungers) I strapped a go pro camera to my head and headed toward the gathering spot. Led by several Special Olympics athletes, masses of people dressed in costumes and bathing suits all headed toward the water.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 834We’re about to go for a swim Pic by Hank Kula

I shivered in a bathing suit as I walked arm in arm with my friend Hannah. Neither of us had plunged before and were a little nervous. But we shuffled forward and in we went. As you can see- there’s a camera on my head. To see footage of my plunge – check out my article and D&C video here.

I shed my jacket and dumped my towel, wearing only sneakers and a bathing suit into the water. I hesitated at the edge before running in.  A slew of students ran past me and dove into the frigid water.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 838I’m in here! Do you see me?

It was cold. Damn cold. But I dropped to my knees and dipped myself amid the ice chunks. Yes, ice chunks. I wanted to dunk my head, but didn’t. (Still kicking myself there). I wanted to shoot more footage, but my body was screaming at me to head for shore — and most importantly — WARMTH.

Out I went, cutting my legs on ice chunks – not that I felt it or anything. I ran up the shore – wincing each step in my now soaked sneakers.

Dec 14 to Feb 15 777Shivering and smiling post-plunge. Pic by Hank Kula

Once back in the tent – I couldn’t get out of my wet clothes fast enough. I couldn’t feel my feet as I changed into fresh socks. I chucked my iced-over sneakers and icicle socks into the garbage and layered up. Friends Gary and Charlotte came to watch me plunge and ensure I wasn’t frozen. THANK YOU! I may not have made it so easily to my car if not for them!

In all, I raised $400 for Special Olympics programs and more than $300,000 was raised through the entire event. Amazing! Thank you to everyone who supported my crazy efforts and donated. You all made a difference on a young athlete’s life!

It took more than an hour for my feet to stop hurting and much of the day to really thaw out. (And then I bundled back up and went curling that night)

I’ve been asked several times if I would plunge again. Surprisingly, yes. It’s insane. It’s freezing. I might get sick.

But I need to dunk my head and really jump headfirst into Lake Ontario. Who wants to join me?

Have you ever gone for a wintry swim? How cold was it? Would you do it again?

Calling All FitBit-ers – Let’s Feed America!

Do you like helping people? Did you know that being hungry sucks? Do you own a FitBit?

If you answered yes to these life questions like I did, then LEMME TELL YOU A STORY.

Last Thursday, I found out about the FitBit/Feed America challenge to make the calories I burn between today and March 3rd count toward 1.5 million meals for hungry Americans. HELLO, SIGN ME UP!

It’s ridiculously simple. All you need is a FitBit and a few minutes of time.  Here’s the scoop:

fitforfood1. Read more about the project on the FitBit Blog and on Feeding America’s Website.

2. Sign up here.

3. Track your calories on your dashboard.

4. Watch the video because it’s kinda hilarious.

 

I hope you’ll join Mer, Vic, and I in this virtual race to punch hunger in the face! MyFitBit Profile Link

It Made a Difference For That One: 5 thoughts on volunteering

Hi, I’m Meridith and I’m a professional philanthropist.

I always joke about this with friends (especially Brooke, who is also a professional philanthropist) but I’m only somewhat kidding. I volunteer my time… a lot. And it rocks.

If you’ve read Scoot a Doot for any amount of time, you’ve probably figured out that we chicks are big on the doing good things. Do good, feel good! That’s our motto.

Okay, no it’s not. But it’s our secondary motto. (Do those exist? Well, they do now!)

When the PTO needs a secretary… or a vice-president – yeah, I’m holding two positions this year – I’ve got my hand up.

Food drive? Here’s the tuna fish!

Gifts for the holiday giving tree? We’ll take two requests!

When you’re looking to do good, there is never a shortage of opportunities. In fact, it can all be a bit daunting. As a professional philanthropist, I feel it is my duty to share different ways that you too, can volunteer.

Selfie with one of the snuggle pups, Star. ADOPTED

Selfie with one of the shelter snuggle pups, Star. ADOPTED

Front and center on my volunteering stage recently has been my local animal shelter. The want to do this was always present; the reality of me being able to make this happen started in August.

Let’s break it down. I’ll be using the animal shelter as my emphasis but really, this works for many volunteer positions.

1. INTEREST

It’s usually a good idea to make sure you’re fully interested in volunteering for a cause. For example, I wouldn’t volunteer to be a children’s archery instructor because I have bad aim and bad luck.

Many volunteering positions are one and done opportunities, and that’s great if you’re short on time or looking for a quick jolt of feeling good!

An example? Recently the shelter was low on food. As in, so low that they weren’t sure how they were going to feed the animals for the next month. A local news station picked up the story as a human interest piece and then this happened.

shelterpic2

A-maz-ing. Photo credit: Camden County Animal Shelter

Community members far and wide came together to donate cat and dog food, beds, laundry detergent, and other daily shelter needs. It was truly incredible to see!

Some people want to do even MORE. That’s when they come out to volunteer interest meetings. Shelters, hospitals (I was a junior volunteer aka candy striper, once upon a time), PTOs – they all have these meetings to tell you more about the organization and what you can do to make a difference.

2. TIME

Time is something that everyone seems short on these days and I can appreciate that. I do have more time than many as a stay at home parent, which is why I like to fill my time with things that are valuable in meaning.

I love dogs and I would have all of the shelter dogs living in my house if I had the option. However, I do like my husband and he’s told me that we are good with ONE dog for now. Sigh. 

Anyway… runners and walkers, take note because this is for YOU.

The dogs in shelters NEED exercise. They want nothing more than to get out of their kennels and frolic with me. I walk with many but there are some who are all about running! I spend approximately a mile per dog, which adds up for both dogs and mileage! It’s a win all around.

Also, some of those dogs require upper body strength because they are STRONG! Total body work out, heyyyyy.

3. GOODS/MONEY

Oh, you’re not independently wealthy?

Yeah, me either.

Until I hit the lottery or find a suitcase of 100s, I’m not always able to give financially. However, I have plenty of things in my house that are useful.

And I bet YOU do too.

Shelters need old bedding, towels and sheets to make their animals feel comfy cozy in their temporary homes. Recently I went through my linen closet and pulled older things I no longer used and then reorganized my closet. Donation for the shelter AND a clean closet. Look at me, being all domestic! (This happens less often than it should so yes, I’m totally patting myself on the back.)

In the case that you ARE independently wealthy, I hope you’re donating to your favorite causes!

4. ADVOCACY

There is something that speaks to me about being a representative of someone or something that might not otherwise have a voice. The animals at the shelter don’t have Facebook, they don’t have blogs, they don’t get a chance to get out much…

But I do.

As a volunteer, I am able to bring a pup to get pictures taken at an amazing photographer.

lexus

Sweet Lexus on the way to her glamour shots! She is available at Camden County Animal Shelter.

lexusvaleriebruder

Photo credit: Valerie Bruder Photography

As a volunteer, I am able to take a dog to a local park in hopes of having them meet people who are looking to add a new member to the family.

Shawna at the park! ADOPTED!

Shawna at the park! ADOPTED!

As a volunteer, I am able to sign up for events such as parades and mall visits to get the pooches out of their kennels and visible in the community.

It’s good stuff. And when you’ve got a big mouth and a willing audience, you cannot be stopped!

5. MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Listen, when it comes down to it, a big reason that people volunteer is that it makes them feel good.

I love animals, I love spending time with them, and I want to help them in any capacity that I can. Since I don’t live on a ranch and since I’m not independently wealthy, volunteering at the shelter is the absolute best thing I can do to love on the dogs there (and cats – I’ve ventured into the cat room too, I’m still learning the ropes there).

kiwi1

Kiwi – Available at Camden County Animal Shelter (edit to add: ADOPTED!)

I have many four-legged friends and yes, I’ll admit that I miss them when I enter the kennel area only to find a new little face looking up at me.

But that’s also the best day, because it means that they’ve found their forever home.

And that new pup will need a friend to love on them, to walk them, and to give them treats. I’ll be there, leash in hand.

What are your favorite ways to give back to the community? Is there a volunteer opportunity that’s on your bucket list? What’s stopping you?

And I will walk (run) 500 (100) miles…

Oh, come on, you know you’re singing The Proclaimers song with me!

Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da

Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems…

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably know by now that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. And unless you’ve been living under a rock in that cave, you probably ARE aware of childhood cancer. So why is there a whole month devoted to bringing awareness to a disease that people already know about?

Well, firstly, cancer sucks and if we can help eradicate it by any means possible, WE WILL DO IT.

Let’s take a peek at some facts.

goingthedistance

Last year, the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation decided to up the ante and invited people to donate miles in hopes of reaching a million. What’s the significance of a million miles?

Drawing from the inspiration of Foundation creator Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who set out to raise $1 million through lemonade stands in 2004, Jay Scott [Alex’s father] feels that through combined efforts, reaching one million miles in just thirty days is attainable. The initiative provides a fun, easy and free way for people across the country to make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer.
Million-Miles

Personally, I’ve pledged to complete 100 miles this September. It’s a higher number than what I usually do within a month but attainable and for the very best cause. Every step I take during a run, every person I connect with during a walk with my dog, and even walking my child home from school – it all counts toward my goal of raising miles and awareness! As such, I feel like I’m part of something that’s bigger than myself and that’s a good feeling!

Speaking of something bigger than myself, our team has been absolutely incredible at logging miles and fundraising. When we first heard about the initiative last year, the thought of fitness bloggers from all across the country coming together and donating their miles just overwhelmed us with emotions. Furthermore, we’ve seen both last year and this year, it has encouraged people who wanted to get moving to join us, get out there, and have the support of others while doing it.

teamscootadoot

In the past 21 days alone, our team has raised nearly 1000 miles and over $1700! And, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not too late to join our team! Want to get in on the action? Check out our Team Scoot a Doot Million Mile page.

We’re rewarding our top miles donated, top fundraiser and random #onwednesdaywearyellow social media photo with some fun prizes, including gorgeous Momentum Jewelry motivation wrap bracelets and foot notes.

wrapbracelets

Momentum wrap bracelets

Momentum Foot Notes

Momentum Foot Notes

Make sure to swing by some of our team members blogs, like Nicole, Bonnie, Suzanne, and Kristen to cheer them on as they #Journey2aMillion!

Nine days until the end of the month… LET’S DO THIS!

Many thanks to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for the facts and figures in this blog post. And thank you, thank you, thank you to Amy of Momentum Jewelry!

Do Good, Feel Good: Out of this World Lemonade

Ah, almost-summer. Time for sunshine, pools opening, long days (and short nights), and of course, LEMONADE. This past weekend my family hosted our third Out of this World Lemonade Stand to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in raising money for pediatric cancer research.

kidsalexslemonade

Despite hosting the same event yearly, each time is unique and incredibly rewarding. This was Little’s first official time “hosting” with his big brother and he took his job as ice scooper very seriously. His little voice rang out “CUSTOMERS!” every time a car slowed or people walked down the block.

We live on a cut-through street (you know, the one where people drive to avoid hitting lights) which really helps generate stand traffic. And, of course, we post signs at both ends of the block.

kidslemonade1

We encourage the kids to run the stand as much as possible, with minimal help from us. I do have to say that social media helps a lot with reaching out to friends and family and sharing our donation page; that’s something that neither of them have at this point and won’t for some time! However, they are the ones who are squeezing the lemons, old school style.

kidslemonade2

At the end of two days, between online and in person donations, we’ve raised $1,174.53. We set a slightly lofty goal of $2,000 and haven’t hit it… yet. But hey, if you’d like to help us out, please feel free to click the link (the in person donations aren’t yet visible).

While our lemonade stand weekend has passed, the official Alex’s Lemonade Stand “lemonade days” are actually this upcoming weekend! If you search here, you can find upcoming fundraisers in your area. Want to get involved and host a lemonade stand of your own? It’s not too late! Check out the Get Involved page.

Additionally, coming up in September is Alex’s Million Mile RUN.WALK.RIDE! We had an awesome team of 31 people last year and I’m betting that we can TOP THAT in 2014.

Let’s mix, pour, and find a cure one cup at a time!

A few of our favorite things…

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.

Just as Rodgers and Hammerstein shared a few of Maria’s favorite things in The Sound of Music (personally, I don’t get all that jazzed about brown paper packages tied up with strings but, hey, whatever floats your boat…), we asked our Team Scoot a Doot members if they’d like to share their favorite running things with you. While there’s no singing and dancing, they are still quite amazing!

Megan’s blog. Twitter. Instagram.

Lisa’s blog. Twitter. Instagram.

Heather’s blog. Twitter. Instagram.

Jan’s blog. Twitter. Instagram.

Just a few of our many awesome team members! Thanks for the vids, ladies. You rock!

From the get-go we’ve said that we are looking to collect miles and funds. Some of our team focused on one or the other but a couple of our members did both and we’re super grateful for it!

We’re currently at 37 team members.

1,317.90 miles.

1,090 dollars raised for Childhood Cancer Research.

It’s absolutely incredible what we’ve done so far this month and we could not have done it without each and every single person on our team. You’ve all put your hearts into this and we know that within the final six days of September, those numbers will be going up even more!

As a thank you to our team’s top fundraiser, we’ve put together a little prize package giveaway of a few of OUR favorite things. We’ve given hints via Instagram of some of the prizes but here’s a better peek to check out the goods.

mmrgiveaway

Many thanks to Sweaty Bands and Lace Locker for their contributions! There might be a couple more surprises added to this too… wait and see what we’ve got in the works.

Let’s go the distance within these next six days!

Do good, feel good!

Don’t Call Us “Mellow Yellow”

We’re painting the month yellow here at Scoot A Doot, and we’re off to an incredible start. I am so inspired by my chicks and our friends who’ve joined our team. It’s only been three days, and already we’ve run, walked, skipped or jumped over 145 miles! We’ve also raised over $600. IN THREE DAYS. I’m completely bowled over by the support for this cause, and so thankful that I know wonderful people, who know other wonderful people. (And I’m sort of lost with the words over this. Truly.)

When we decided to participate in the Million Mile Run, we weren’t sure what our goal would be. Teams are supposed to run 100 miles, collectively, and right away, we knew that we’d surpass that with ease. Some of us are training for long distance races, one of us is running her way through Napa this month, and one of us walks as her primary mode of transport. We’re a pretty ambitious bunch though, and since our mindset for this event was “Go BIG or go home,” we each set our sights on an individual goal.

BEC:

My goal is 13.1 miles for the month. I’m hoping for more but i wanted a workable goal and I’ve done a half in a month before so that seemed good.

This will be achieved primarily through walking, although i am restarting C25K, so there will be some running.

Because my phone died, and my replacement phone is on backorder, I’ll be using the local high school track as my mileage guide, and logging my time manually in Runkeeper. And once my phone gets here, I’ll be all about my Runkeeper and Couch to 5k training apps.

JESS:

I typically walk about three miles a day, so I know I can hit 90 miles by the end of the month without any problem. My secret goal is 100 miles – still doable but it will definitely require more effort. I’ll be stoked if I hit that!

To achieve it,  I plan to keep doing what I’m doing: by walking around the city as much as possible. Once I’m back to 100% health (summer colds are the worst!) I plan to run on the weekends as well.

I’ll be tracking miles with My Fitbit One, of course!

MER:

My miles for the Million Mile Run will be taking place during gym warm up (I usually average two prior to an hour of strength/cardio) and while my kids are at school. I’m going to try to streak as much as my schedule will allow this month and get at least a mile a day because, really, why not? The weekends will be dedicated to long runs.

I usually use my Garmin or just general knowledge to track my miles (I do my quarter mile stretch prior to the gym sans watch). However I’m getting a Fitbit within the next couple of days so perhaps I’ll use that to track my mileage. I’m excited to play with a new gadget and there’s really no better way to break it in!

VIC:

The Million Mile run happens to fall into my schedule at the same time I ramp up my mileage as I prepare for the NYC Marathon. As I look at my training schedule, I see that my long runs alone total more than 60 miles in September. So – I’ve decided to set my goal for 100 miles. I think my training should bring me pretty close, if not over the century mark. I was already nearly 1/5 of my way to my goal on Sept. 1, as I run an 18-miler in Watertown, NY.

I plan to run 4-5 days each week, with a little cross-training of swimming or spinning thrown in. Now while I do train with a Garmin (forerunner 210, folks!) I typically am lax about downloading said information into a fancy spreadsheet, but I do write my mileage, pace and time on my weekly running log. Now don’t laugh, but it’s all kept in a weekly pocket calendar from Target’s dollar spot. It’s old school, but it works for me.

BROOKE:

As for me, I plan to run 75 miles this month. I’m at the beginning of my training for Wine and Dine, and 75 is slightly over the planned mileage, but I’m going over on most of my runs already anyway. (Sorry, Hal Higdon.)

Cross training will be walking with my family or hanging with Hannah on the elliptical (does that count?), and all miles will be tracked by my trusty Garmin.

I’m sporting my yellow today (good thing I have a lot of it!) and I can’t wait to see how much we run- and raise- to help support children’s cancer research.

chicks(1)

Please donate if you’re moved to do so. Thanks.

Have you ever done a running streak? What are you currently training for? Tell me how much you love your FitBit (my mom has a birthday soon and I’m eyeing it for a gift!) What yellow clothing do you have in your closet?