Swap Success: Hashtag Community
By Briana Sullivan
Four Valleys Community School
People from Girdwood and beyond came out to support the annual Ski & Sports Swap. The presence of many volunteers, shoppers, and Powder Hound made for a busy Oktoberfest weekend. Featured this week are some words of gratitude and reflection from our Four Valleys and Sports Swap organizers.
“This event is one of my favorite community gatherings. We get to see and talk with our community members as they find gear for upcoming adventures. I got two pairs of skis that pair up nicely with my first mid-week season pass purchase since I have lived in Girdwood over seven years! I cannot wait to try out skiing and finally hang out with all my friends on the mountain this year.” -Erin Leighton, FVCS Staff
This community event reaches many areas other than Girdwood. Leftover clothes and items were distributed to various organizations such as the upcoming Seward Sports Swap, Claire House, Play it Again Sports, Girdwood K-8 Nurse, and Hoarding Marmot. Girdwood School nurse, Summer Stone, was especially thankful for the warm clothing items, which are much needed in her office.
Longtime FVCS treasurer Betsy Preis has crunched the numbers for an impressive 22 years. Preis is the fearless leader of the checkout counters. From her perspective, the fun remains how happy folks are to get some great bargains on quality gear,
“The Swap is a great way to kick off the ski season. The community school views it as not only a modest fundraiser but also a community service. This event started several decades ago by Becky Whisman Young and others as a way for parents to annually outfit their growing kids with good, low-cost, used ski gear – an important service in a ski town.”
Lead organizer Carolyn Seramur shared the good vibes she’s rewarded during the swap and especially loves the excited looks and energy witnessed when people make a big sale or find. Regarding the event and collaboration, she also said, “We couldn’t do it without the hard working volunteers – it’s truly a community service. When the orange vests work together like a well-oiled machine and the hugs, greetings and interactions are countless… Those that have shown up for years working alongside those new to the entire deal is a great feeling.”
“We are very happy with the Ski & Sports Swap results,” said Catherine McDermott, FVCS Executive Director. “This fundraiser is all about community: It helps FVCS provide community education, recycles sports gear back out into our community, and also serves as a great volunteer event. John Byrne had the idea to hold the Swap during Oktoberfest to draw more people, and also avoid conflicting with other larger swap events in Anchorage. His hunch was right, and we had a much better fundraiser than the past several years. This event is a success because of the support of Alyeska Resort and their staff, and we deeply appreciate their community spirit.”