~INDYGIRL and Team Host a SparkRally

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

May 21, 2011, marked the date of the first SparkPeople rally sponsored by E.A.R.P.S. (Exotic Animal Rescue and Pet Sanctuary) and SparkPeople members. I have never hosted a rally before, but the idea came about when I was corresponding with SparkPeople member, Ksigma1222, who was featured in the book, "The Spark." He told me “If we build it, they will come.” We were both very eager to have a rally because there is nothing like being around fellow SparkPeople members. There is a very positive energy in the air.

I decided to take the idea and run with it. I put together a team of speakers and helpers to lead the team. From there, we debated on the venue, food, hotels, and every detail imaginable. Our most difficult hurdle was the venue, as most places want to charge too much to hold a conference, while other places might not be socially acceptable to some members. Euphrates, a local to the Cincinnati area and leader of the Cincinnati team, was very instrumental in checking out local spots for feasibility. Finally, I contacted the Microtel in Florence, Kentucky. Hoosiergirlindy, Euphrates and I went to inspect it in person. We took pictures and Hoosiergirlindy wrote up a review for people. We wanted the place to be perfect, someplace we would personally love to go visit.

Sheenadee put together our goodie bags and dropped them off the day of the event. Sadly, she was unable to speak or stay because of illness. I’ve had the honor of speaking with her before and she is amazing.

Elseebee was our emcee of the day. What a trooper! Just the day before, some roofing had slid off of someone’s home and knocked her to the ground. She went to the emergency room that night, and despite her pain and wounds, she spoke most eloquently and kept everyone engaged with her sparkling personality.

I strongly recommend you visit the pages of the speakers from the rally. They are very inspirational!

KathyJo56 was our first speaker who amazed us with her “Can do!” attitude and truly astonishing weight loss. Although she has many disabilities, she managed to lose 171 pounds.

Ksigma1222 completely changed his life and weight dramatically by losing 155 pounds and becoming a runner.

Swdotb2 shared with us how yoga has changed her life and led to shedding 13 pounds.

Hoosiergirlindy explained how weight loss surgery saved her life and how SparkPeople keeps her going. She lost 120 pounds with weight loss surgery and 20 with SparkPeople.

~Indygirl shared her “~Indyisms” or mantras that keep her in line when the going gets tough. She has lost 145 pounds to date, despite chronic disabilities.

Brian Massey from E.A.R.P.S. gave a presentation about how both animals and people need proper nutrition and exercise. He also touched on mixing it up a bit by going meatless sometimes and explained the differences between vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians.

Chris “SparkGuy” Downie then treated us to a 1 1/2 hour live video conference, where we were able to both listen and ask questions. He gave history of how the company was started and where it is headed.

Swdotb2 then led a chair yoga class to relax us all before ending the rally for clean up and the party. It felt so good to stretch after such a day!

We had wonderful contributors who brought in fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, raisins, and plums. People also volunteered immediately to help with the registration, set up and clean up. Thank you so much! E.A.R.P.S. had provided an array of healthy snacks and bottled water with lemonade mix.

Prizes were drawn frequently, including 5 copies of "The Spark" signed by Chris Downie, some hardback copies of "The Spark," DVDs, gift certificates, and a yoga strap.

The after party was very fun. Euphrates took care of every detail from the caterer and food to the music. Coach Nicole showed up and partied with us. It was nice to get a chance to just sit back and talk to all the people you know online, but now you actually are meeting face to face.

Overall it was a very fun and inspiring day for everyone. It was the first rally I planned and I already have another in the works for September 17, 2011, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Look on my page and you will find the team logo to join with all the details inside. Don’t miss out!

Would you attend a SparkRally in your area? Why or why not?

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I would attend a Spark Rally if it was close to me! Report
Sounds like such a great time. I would definitely attend a rally or any type of Spark gathering. I'd even travel somewhere if SP has another convention. It would be so exciting to meet fellow Sparkers! Report
Sounds like it was a fun and inspiring day! I may have to make it to Ft. Wayne! Report
sounds like a good time was had by all!! thanks for sharing! Report
It would be great in So.Md. or Va. or even NC. I can travel and this would be fun Report
I'm hosting Rallies in Fort Wayne, Indiana Sept. 17, 2011
Madison, Indiana May 5, 2012
Chicago/ Northwest Indiana Fall 2012

Keep checking my page for rally team icons to join. Report
In a heart beat..... Charlotte, NC area Report
Sure! What a great way to encourage each other! Report
Would be fun to have something like this in our area! Report
I would love to!! It would be great to meet the ones we talk to on line!!! Report
I would attend a sparkrally in the Quad City area (Iowa/Illinois) like Davenport or Moline or something like that. Report
Sounds good ! Report
I would do it. Report
I would love to attend one. Sounds great! Report
I would love to go to one!! Report
I would go. I would bring my fellow SP daughter and sister in law, too! Kathy M in MI Report
I would love to attend one! I think it would be such a great motivator and I would love meeting fellow sparkers. Live in SC but I think Atlanta, GA would be doable. Anyone??? Report
I am fortunate to have ELSEEBEE in my area so she and I are working on a Sparking in the Smokies weekend. It sounds like it was a great event so we're inspired to make it happen in the Southeast region. Report
Ksigma1222 is my cousin's brother-in-law and is the one who I heard the most about SparkPeople from! I remember the first time I saw him after all his weight loss and didn't know who he was! I think it would be fun to get together with fellow Sparkers. I live in Kansas City, so it's not too far to make it places. I'll have to try and make next year's! Report
I would certainly try to attend one if it was held in the southeast. How about Atlanta? Report
great cause, looked like great fun~! Report
i would have gone if (a) it was near me, and (b) if i had known about it. sounds like everyone had an amazing time.. jealous that i didn't attend, lol... Report
Would like to see one in the DC/VA/MD area, but I confess my organizational abilities are lacking. Beth, please keep us informed of the ones being planned for the IL/IN area. Report
I'm s jealous that I missed that! Sounds like it was awesome!!! Report
Sounds like everyone had a great time. Would love to attend one and get my spark on! Thanks fot sharing. Report
Truly remarkable people, all in one spot! :)
Jocelyn Report
I totally Would if there as one in Silicon Valley. Report
Would and have :) Report
If there was one in Victoria, Australia, I would definitely attend. Report
I'd love to attend one! I live in southwest Michigan & could probably attend the Fort Wayne one. I'd love to meet other Sparkpeople! Report
I would love to attend one but I'm at the other end of the country. I've would love to attend one too. Love your ism's! Report
I would attend one if there was one close to the Southern Illinois area, it sounds very motivating and very fun!!! Report
I probably would not for several reasons. first is money, I have about 20 dollars a week disposable income and I use it for gardening or exercise videos.
second is it's just to confusing to be caught in the middle of a mob of people. I can't hear well and can't pick out individual voices from a crowd so it gets lonely in a crowd. LOL Report
If there was ever a rally anywhere near Chicago or the burbs, I would LOVE to attend!!! Report
Would love to have known about the one in Florence, KY. I can literally see the hotel from my home and had no idea a Spark rally was taking place. I would attend in the future. Report
Great idea! I would love to attend a rally. Report
I would DEFINITELY attend a Spark Rally! That sounds so fun! I live in Los Angeles. When is SP coming to California??? Report
You did an awesome job, Beth, of organizing and thinking of every little detail! For those of you who haven't been to a rally, think of organizing one in your area. There is nothing to match the energy of dozens of Sparkers in one room!

I was so inspired by the Florence/Cincy rally, I'm working on one for the mountains of North Carolina next year. (temporarily named "Sparkin' in the Smokies") If we get an organizing group going, we'll post more information when we have it. We hope to have a format where families could come and vacation in our area while Spark members gather to share inspiration, ideas, support, and friendship. Report
It may not be a rally, but we are trying to 'invade' Pittsburgh next year with runners and walkers at 'just a short run'. This year about 50 people were there from Pittsburgh to Oregon - for more information www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_

Would attend, did attend. This was not set up by Sparkpeople.com. This was organized by Sparkpeople members. So if you would like one in your area, plan one! If you don't know how, send ~Indygirl a message. She's always glad to share information which will help people! It was wonderful to see old friends, make new friends, and get encouraged. I highly recommend getting together with other Sparkers whenever you have the chance! Report
Yes exciting. Sounds like fun. I would love to attend one if we ever have one in the San Fernando Valley area. Report
If there was one in th Austin area, I would come Report
Yes, if there was one! Report
I've wanted to attend one of the rally's, but unfortunately they've been in areas that didn't allow for public transportation. Report
I would defnitely come to one. Someone needs to set one up in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area! Report
It was a great rally. I meet some very nice people and highly recommend that if you get a chance to attend one, please do so. Report
What a super idea! I wish you would come to Seattle! Maybe someone here will take your cue...I would definitely get involved. Awesome way to spread the spark! Report
Bring it to Mass and I know half of the people at my gym would attend! We love SparkPeople here and tell all of our members to use it! What a great event it would be!!! Report
A rally sounds great - absolutely would participate Report
I know KathyJo and she is such a sweetheart, and I will be at Fort Wayne rally and can't wait to meet others and you Beth Report
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