Reader concerned about turnout for Flip Flop BallPublished 4:23pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The 2nd Annual Flip Flop Ball to benefit Safe Harbor was held May 12. Arguably the most important cause in our area, Safe Harbor is otherwise known as The Butler County Children’s Advocacy Center, an organization that cares for abused and neglected children in our community. This is a nonprofit organization that depends on you and me to support it. Over 500 people were reminded of or unofficially invited to the Flip Flop Ball, as no invitation was needed to attend. Shockingly, less than 30 people walked through the doors on the night of the event. Why would our town not support this important, non-confrontational, bipartisan, necessitous cause? Trying to give my neighbors the benefit of the doubt, I thought about the possible reasons for the lack of attendance.
First, cost. Tickets to the Flip Flop Ball were $50 each, which some might believe to be steep. However, this fee did not only include drinks, delicious food, and entertainment by a great band that played all genres of music to appeal to different musical inclinations. Proceeds went to the Safe Harbor organization to care for our children! Kathy Smyth, director of Safe Harbor, was quoted in The Greenville Advocate as saying, “All proceeds from the event will go toward funding forensic interviews and counseling children with alleged abuse or neglect or those who have witnessed a crime.” This was a fundraiser, friends, for the sole purpose of raising money. The ticket cost was most likely set at $50 for the purpose of raising as much money as possible for the children of Safe Harbor, nothing else. If a guest made the effort to bring three other couples with him, then his admission fee would be waved – another incentive. No excuses accepted here regarding cost.
Perhaps the Safe Harbor folks did not adequately advertise. A Facebook event invitation was sent to 471 people, weeks before the Ball. Of the 471, 18 said they “might” attend, only 21 said they would attend, and 432 active Facebook users did not even bother to respond. What’s worse, of the 21 that indicated on Facebook that they wound attend, 12 of them were no shows. A lengthy, informative article also appeared in the Advocate the week of the Ball, citing specifics so that readers who did not have Facebook accounts would be encouraged to attend. Safe Harbor is non-profit organization, most likely lacking funds necessary to purchase television, radio, or print advertising materials to promote the Ball. As a result, local media outlets and print shops might have been willing to donate their services to raise awareness for the event – another example of how community members could get involved.
Speaking of getting involved, I cringe at the number of times friends and acquaintances of mine have complained, “There is nothing to do in this town.” Sure, there are no malls or bowling alleys or skating rinks, or whatever else some people find entertaining, but I think the most wonderful way to spend extra time is through fellowship with friends. When I think of Greenville and why I moved back here, it is because of the wonderful people who live here and care for each other like nowhere else I have experienced. Events like the Flip Flop Ball are a great opportunity to welcome newcomers to our town and show them how much fun we have when we all get together! The Ball offered dinner, an open bar, and a live band. What more do we need on a Saturday night? I encourage my beloved neighbors to get off the sofa on the weekends when there is a scheduled event, especially a benefit, and be supportive of those who took the time to plan for, decorate, and host the event. Be supportive not only with your money but with your presence!
The last possible reason I can consider as a reason so few people attended? Rain. I have a simple solution for that one – an umbrella.
Melanie Rainey Cain