The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
the Times 

Area youth raising money for trip to D.C.

Students from Dayton and Waitsburg have been working for almost a year to raise money for Washington, D.C. trip


January 16, 2020

Lisa Morrow

The New Years Eve spaghetti dinner fundraiser earned the students nearly $2,500. From serving up dinner to running the auction, the kids took the lead and earned every penny.

WAITSBURG- Lisa Morrow and Tracy Barron aren't afraid of anything. From horses to hunting, they both have active families that keep them on their toes. Last April they volunteered to take a group of local teenagers to Washington D.C, confirming that there is no task too daunting for the pair. They have spent the better part of a year helping students from Dayton and Waitsburg reach an overall fundraising goal of more than $100,000 to take a once in a lifetime trip to our Nation's Capital. 

Last April, Morrow contacted WorldStrides, an educational travel company that works with teachers and school board members to send students all over the world. The company is accredited by three national accrediting bodies allowing for certain trips to offer high school and college credit opportunities. This particular itinerary includes visits to the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Smithsonian Museums. 

Morrow had an original goal of 20 students but subsequently learned that groups of 40 or more are offered their own charter bus and a custom itinerary. She extended an invitation to Dayton High School, and there are now 43 students signed up to travel this upcoming April.

The proposed trip's itinerary and educational opportunities are impressive, however, the journey the kids have already embarked on in preparation for their trip is also impressive. Since this is not sponsored or funded by one the local school districts, expenses fall to students and their families. At roughly $2,500 per person, the travelers have been busy selling tickets for a hog raffle, working concession stands at sporting events and parades (they sold over $1,000 in hot cocoa and cider at the Dayton Christmas Kickoff in November) and hosting fundraising dinners and auctions. 

Neither Morrow nor Barron are strangers to fundraisers. They are active 4-H participants, have advised royalty courts, and have gained the experience to know the importance of letting the students take the lead. Fundraising can teach students invaluable skills, including promotion, leadership and public speaking.

The group's most recent fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner and silent auction, took place on New Year's Eve. With support from Barron and Morrow, the students did all the work. From drafting letters asking businesses for donations, to handling the money at the door, the kids were in charge.

The success of the event hinged on organization and communication, and the students worked through logistical issues together. Many of the students already knew one another from sports and school, but some had never talked to each other before the promise of Washington D.C. trip.

The silent auction items included more than 40 pieces to bid on, all from local businesses and individuals as well as a table of fresh baked goods up for auction. The students were also able to get food and the use of the venue donated.

The event was left with quite a bit of leftover food, which the students decided to donate to Columbia County Fire District 3, providing the on-call first responders with a nice dinner. The EMT's and firefighters were thrilled and thanked everyone with a tour of the station. What wasn't donated to the fire station, was sent to a youth group's overnight event that same week.

All the hard work and lessons learned paid off in the end. The dinner alone raised nearly $2,500. All of the money raised has gone to an accountant through WorldStrides who will ensure that the money is appropriately distributed amongst the kids. The kids have raised over $70,000 since April of 2019 and are continuing to work hard to raise the rest of the funds.

Morrow said that there is still room on the trip for additional 7th-10th graders in Waitsburg or Dayton. Barron and Morrow will submit the final headcount in February, and students can sign up until that point.

The spaghetti dinner was the last scheduled large fundraiser, but the group does have plans for additional smaller fundraisers. WorldStrides does offer extended payment plans for interested students. There are 8 adults accompanying the group with WorldStrides providing a variety of security measures to maintain student safety. If you would like to donate to this student tour or participate, contact Tracy Barron at (509) 520-8776.


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