GIVING BACK — Bona Vista Programs has been working in the Kokomo Jackrabbits concession stand to raise money this summer. The nonprofit's staff and volunteers served the community during 12 games this season.

If you follow us on social media at all, I have no doubt that you have seen pictures of our staff and amazing volunteers working the concession stands at the Kokomo Jackrabbits games this summer! We have worked the stand 12 separate times, and I want to be sure to give all of those who helped us or who supported us by visiting the stands we worked a huge shout out!

First, our staff. You probably didn’t know that each concession stand had a “leader.” That person showed up two hours before game time to fill the registers with cash (so we could give you change), made sure the popcorn was started and the candy was accessible (for your convenience, of course) and was in charge of having the liquor license (so you could enjoy an adult beverage). They also had to make sure that the stand was fully staffed with volunteers who were wearing the appropriate attire (hats, close-toed shoes, etc.), and they had to stay after the concession stand closed to count the money and make sure that everything was cleaned up!

Then, in addition to the stand lead, many of our organization’s staff also volunteered their time to work in the concession stand. What does that mean? Well, when they clocked out of their regular day shift, they headed over to Kokomo Municipal Stadium before the gates opened to get ready to serve the fans for the evening. But… they didn’t get paid for it! They did it because we needed them and they are rock stars! They cooked, cleaned, sweated all in the name of community partnerships and helping Bona Vista raise much-needed funds.

The stands weren’t just run by people from Bona Vista Programs, though. We recruited many community volunteers to help us. For example, our friends from Kokomo Auto World, C&C Cleaning, Grissom Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, Logansport Girls Basketball Team, and Walgreens all stepped up to help us make the stand run as smoothly as possible. Along with those community members, the spouses/parents of some our staff helped, members of our Board of Directors traded in their professional heels and ties for ball caps and joined us and our Pre-Employment Transition Students also gained some food service experience.

We wouldn’t have been able to do it without each and every one of the individuals who worked any and every shift. The work wasn’t always easy and glamorous. We worked closely in tight quarters while hot and sweaty at a fast pace to try to give people the best service they could experience at the ballpark. We definitely got to know each other a lot better in the process – to say the least!

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We sure tried to make it as fun as possible, though. We cheered each time someone put a monetary donation in our jar, we high-fived and yelled each time someone purchased a jumbo carrot with ranch (because… why not?) and we laughed at our mistakes and showed each other a lot of grace in the process. We appreciate those who showed it back to us in return as we reminded everyone that we were simply volunteers, not paid food service professionals, doing the best we could.

That being said, we may be done working the concession stand for now, but the Kokomo Jackrabbits season isn’t over yet. If you haven’t made it to a game, be sure to check it out! The concession stands are all being run by volunteers the rest of the season, too, and they could use your support!

As a side note: Michelle Crozier, a Jackrabbits employee, works in the umbrella bar each and every night. She was such a blessing to us as we tried to navigate the concession stand. She answered random questions, didn’t judge us for not knowing things, and listened as we talked about how far out of our comfort zone we were.

I hope, if you make it out to a game, that you’ll stop out to the left-field area and give her a high-five for being a wonderful human being. You won’t be able to miss her because she doesn’t know a stranger.

We hope you’re all enjoying your summer and trying new things, too! Again, thank you to the Kokomo Jackrabbits and all of our staff and volunteers who made this last adventure one to remember.