Isn't it great when someone picks up an idea, runs with it and it really pays off?
This is just what's happened – quite literally, actually – for a young neighbour of mine, who has a dream to become a World Karate Champion. Archie 'Bonsai' Brown is still only 8 years old and only took up karate in May 2012, yet already he's represented Great Britain in Japan, and now has his sights set on the US Open Karate Championships in Las Vegas in April.
The thing is, karate isn't an Olympic sport, so there's no public funding available to support Archie. So, given that Las Vegas is quite a trek, and he obviously can't travel alone, the costs for him and his chaperone (a.k.a. Dad) to get there seemed to rule it out for this year.
That was a Monday early in February, when Archie suggested that he could maybe do a sponsored run to raise the money he needed – say, a 10K run (as you do, when you're 8 years old…)?
What's followed this decision is an absolutely beautiful example of the power of the networks we build up in our personal, professional and online lives – something that I've been known to get quite passionate about when discussing both social media and face-to-face networking.
Just days after Archie came up with his idea, here's what was achieved:
– the venue was booked, and a neighbouring venue has offered facilities for an 'after-run' reception;
– a number of local (and not-so-local!) celebrities, sporting heroes, businesses and supporters offered their time to help Archie by running some of the 25 laps with him (it's a long run when you're only 8!);
– lots of prizes were donated so that a fundraising raffle can take place alongside the run;
– local businesses offered their services for free to take photos, share social media posts (yep, that's me!) and write articles to share Archie's story;
– the local community has rallied round, with sponsorship and general support being offered both in person and via Facebook;
– the local radio stations and newspaper are on board to share his story – and our regional television news are set to cover it too!
It's been a joy to see how people have made the most of the networks they've built up to draw in people who they thought might be able to help Archie reach his goal. To me, the speed at which this event has progressed from idea to reality is a reflection of all the very best that can come from personal, professional and online networking when it's done with the intention of building relationships, rather than just focusing on self-promotion.
So, good luck to Archie – and thanks to everyone who's supporting him in whatever way they choose to do so!
(photo by Jo's Photos)