Boldly Going … (for a little while)

14 Sep

I’m a multitasker & am so use to burning my candle at both ends that I mostly don’t pay much attention to doing that anymore. It’s a way of life. So this summer, when my candle …  flaming at both ends … ignited in the middle, I really didn’t notice at first. It was a slow middle ignition that seemed insignificant until the flame took off, literally at WARP Speed.

I’m president of a science fiction club. We do a lot of fun stuff like dressing up in Star Trek costumes, doing promos at businesses, movies & comic shops & just having fun. We also are a helping force within our community & over the past several years have become recognized in our area as a credible helping influence. We have the best of all worlds … or the galaxy if you’d prefer to look at it that way, which we do.

When we started putting together an Annual Public Charity Auction 11 years ago we abandoned our little training cruise & took on a bigger mission. We use proceeds from that event to sponsor 10 local charities at Christmas AND send a local middle school student to Space Camp annually. We lowered our shields, our cloaking device was disabled & we became locally visible. We became CREDIBLE.

Our club’s Annual Charity Auction is a huge undertaking. We begin canvassing local businesses, restaurants & state attractions for donations in March, but as the coordinator of the event, my job starts earlier & doesn’t drop back out of WARP until the event is over & becomes history.

I don’t just coordinate, though. I canvass for donations just like the rest of our club members because I won’t ask someone to do something I won’t do myself, which just seems logical to me.  So in March, we ALL start canvassing & by the third Saturday in August when our auction becomes a reality, we usually have amassed a total of close to or more than 300 auction donations.  We’ve gotten this thing down to a fine system. This isn’t fantasy … it’s reality & we love the way we’re able to pull this off year after year.

2016 has been a big year for Star Trek &, in turn, has been a big year for our club.

A new feature film, Star Trek: Beyond came out in July & we attempted to be a presence at the opening, but our one & only local theater would not allow it, even though we have been a presence in the theaters at the opening of Star Trek films for the past 30 years.

So as Jean Luc suggested, “Seize the time. Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again” we contacted a collectibles shop located right across from the theater & did a promotion there all day long on opening day of Star Trek: Beyond. We signed up over a page of people who were interested in receiving our newsletter & recruited a new member.

At 7 p.m. we all met, still wearing our Star Trek costumes & went to the movie together.  At the movie people stopped us, asked who we were & took our pictures.  We had a wonderful time. As Mr. Spock would have told us that night, “Change is the essential process of all existence,” & mostly to the theaters dismay, we handled that just fine. We’d beaten the Kobyashi Maru!

In May the Executive Director of a local Artspace & personal friend contacted me about partnering with our club in September to present a 50th. Star Trek Anniversary Celebration & Movie Marathon in recognition of the 50th. anniversary of the airing of Star Trek originally on television on September 8, 1966. I discussed the proposal with our club members & all agreed that we should do it. They told me to, “Make it so,” so I did, even though we knew we couldn’t work on it until after the auction. That gave us just 2 weeks to pull together a large 50 Years of Star Trek exhibit, line up volunteers to be at the Movie Marathon for 10 nights in a row & to make an impressive showing … which we DID, but it was work & all of our candles began burning at both ends … AND in the middle.

The thing about the 50 Year Anniversary event was that we would be sharing the proceeds from movie ticket sales with the Artspace & our part of the money would go towards our Space Camp Program, ensuring that we could send a local middle school student to Space Camp for an additional year. It would have been highly illogical to say “NO” to that.

The week before the auction in August we were contacted by Hull’s Drive-in Theater in Lexington, VA asking us to do a promotional appearance at the drive-in the night they were showing Star Trek: Beyond … which just happened to be the night before our Annual Charity Auction.  We were pleased to have been asked, even though the timing was difficult.

Hull’s is one of only 7 remaining drive-ins in the state of Virginia & the ONLY non-profit one & we wanted to help. So, although we were (already) givin’ her all we had, Captain, we struck out to Lexington in Star Trek costumes & did the promo at Hull’s. Even though it was a thrash to get home & get everything ready for the auction the following morning, we DID it … & we had fun at Hull’s, realizing that where making our club more visible is concerned & being a helping force, our resistance is futile.

The auction came off without a hitch & we made the most money that we ever have at an auction. Most of us pushed ourselves, no matter how tired we were becoming, because we knew that the success of our auctions means providing Christmas gifts for children & the elderly, & food for those who would otherwise have none during the holidays. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few … or the one.

The week following the auction, the Artspace Director & I did a total of 2 television interviews, 5 early morning radio interviews, 2 newspaper interviews & 1 college newsletter interview the week before the 50th. Star Trek Celebration & Movie Marathon began. We did most of the interviews together & a couple each, alone. It was exhausting & fun … & exhausting

“There’s an old saying, fortune favors the bold. Well, I guess we’re about to find out.”

In the end, all that media coverage gave our club & the Artspace a tremendous amount of exposure & added to the success of the more than week-long event.  

The week following the auction our club began work on our 50 Years of Star Trek Exhibit. Because we were strapped for time, only 4 of us provided items, collectibles & memorabilia for the exhibit, which was more than enough. 3 of us spent 7 hours the day before it opened setting up the exhibit that included costumes from the Star Trek TV series & movies, rare collectibles, memorabilia, & original Star Trek artwork that made a small, yet distinct art show as part of the exhibit. Our exhibit was, in a word, Fascinating; bringing in over 100 people in two & a half hours on opening night. The exhibit was so amazing that everyone who saw it will surely Remember …

For 10 days we provided the Artspace with the Star Trek feature films & our club members in costume. The Artspace personnel sold tickets & concessions & showed the films in a comfortable theater. People came, watched the Star Trek films, enjoyed the nostalgia, signed up to get our newsletter & we added 2 new members.

Our club members worked the event & got to see the movies every night. It was fun & never seemed like work at all. What a treat to watch the movies again … together … back-to-back while raising money for a very special cause.

We boldly went where our club had never gone before & learned that, even though it was a HUGE undertaking & we were very tired, we did it & can do it again if the occasion arises.

After 10 days, now that it’s over we will miss it.

It took each of our participating club members to make the auction, the drive-in promotion & the 50th. Star Trek Celebration & Movie Marathon a success because of what we brought to the events as individuals as well as a clubeach according to our gifts.

“In this galaxy there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all that, and perhaps more, only one of each of us.” – Dr ‘Bones’ McCoy, Star Trek.

For just a little while we so enjoyed working together, learning what we can do if we try & Boldly Going …

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4 Responses to “Boldly Going … (for a little while)”

  1. Willy (the husband) September 14, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    You described the events since March of this year very well Captain, and as your Science Officer you’ve heard me whisper, “Let’s drop from warp speed after Riverview” … which you thankfully have.
    As one of the people in the photo, I couldn’t believe how many of our members were there for us the entire journey and kept good spirits and smiles. THIS is testament to a cohesive group of people, working towards the same goals. We couldn’t have done it without you tho, who gave up your personal time to do the advertising … something that are better suited for, but nonetheless your personal time was compromised. I know we can do things like this now, but I felt like I was on a bobsled … knowing we would eventually stop one way or another. What a ride!

    Liked by 2 people

    • heimdalco September 15, 2016 at 4:12 am #

      Thank you so much, Willy & thank you for “hanging in there” every night at Riverviews & working behind the scenes all summer printing stuff for all of our activities & missing a night at Riverviews to get our newsletter out on time.

      I think we can be proud of all we’ve accomplished this year but I’m ready for a break, too. And I only have ONE THING to say at our meeting on Saturday.

      Love you …& the Marathon was even better because you were there …


  2. reriggins7 September 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    Wow! It takes a lot of work to do a lot of good, doesn’t it? I was glad to attend and participate in and benefit from some of that hard work. I wonder what could happen if the Church would take on the mindset, work ethic, and shared fellowship that your group has?
    Kudos for “boldly going” and paying he pice to make a positive impact in our community!

    Liked by 1 person

    • heimdalco September 15, 2016 at 4:04 am #

      Thank you SO much, Rebecca. So glad to see you at the auction, too.

      Thank you again for reading my stuff …


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