Joel Baumgarten was trying to figure out a way to raise some money for college scholarships for athletes and to expand Rocori’s hall of fame wall.
The activities director decided on something he called the Rocori Coaches Carnival. Also call it a resounding success.
Some 550 students, grades 3-7, participated in an afternoon full of carnival activities, skill events and general fun in booths set up around the middle and high schools.
Baumgarten said every activity, from sports to robotics to the student council, participated.
The cost was $5. Hundreds of prizes were awarded, everything from an Eric Decker-signed football to Twins tickets to Rocori t-shirts and caps.
“We were worried at first about how many kids we were going to get,” said Ted Faber, a three-sport coach at Rocori who is the head girls golf and volleyball coach. “This is some great exposure for our programs.”
The booths were staffed by students, who volunteered to help their programs. The first-time event went so well that organizers already are looking forward to a second year.
“This is great,” said Rocori assistant football coach Jake Zauhar, who was one of the organizers. “Our coaches association was looking for a way to fund scholarships and help kids get involved.”
It looks like they found it.
“It’s a great turnout,” Rocori head boys basketball coach Nate Guetter said. “The timing worked out. The weather worked out.”
All practices in all activities were canceled Friday so that participants could help out with the carnival.
Because no one’s fields are playable, there were no contests anywhere. It helped keep participation up. Many helped set up booths Thursday night.
Baumgarten said he got the idea discussing ideas with his wife. They run a summer camp in the Brainerd area and did something similar.
He then took some of the top senior athletes at the school, including Rachel Prozinski, Jonah Eisenschenk and Austin Athmann, and spoke at all the area elementary schools.
The school kids showed up big time. The commons and gym areas at the high school were packed with students doing everything from shooting pucks and basketballs to all kinds of carnival games.
Coaches agreed that it was a great way to show kids and their parents the facilities as well as the wide variety of activities available.
It’s safe to call it a huge success.