Each year Alyson Adventures and Hanns Ebensten Travel give back to the community in ways that not only help people, but embody the spirit of the tours we offer. Along with making monetary contributions and volunteering our time, we offer several of our unique tours each year to non-profit organizations to enhance their fund-raising.
One of our donations this year was a Valley of the Kings bike tour, which was awarded to Tim Young of Austin, Texas. For the past five years, Tim has been the Team Captain for the top fundraising team for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS.
Thank you Tim, and all the riders, volunteer crew, sponsors, donors, and supporters for making the 2011 Hill Country Ride for AIDS such a huge success in gathering resources to support those in need. We were so pleased to be a part of this community of heroes who helped raise nearly $600,000. We also humbly applaud several other riders that we’ve supported in similar rides in California, Toronto and in our backyard here in South Florida.
Below is a letter written by Tim:
This year marks my 7th year of riding in the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, five of which I have done as the captain of Full On, Full On. It took my friend Scott Murphy a couple of years of coaxing me to ride before I took the plunge. I thought it would be too hard for someone who had not really been on a bike much since grade school, and I thought it might be a challenge to raise the minimum amount. I was wrong on both counts. Plus, I had a great time and made some amazing new friends. I was hooked. The team I joined that first year came in as the second highest fund raising team that year.
My first year team disintegrated when the two leaders moved away from Austin, so we had to find a new team. That second year our team won the top fund raising award, but as I looked around, I did not know more than half the team. I missed the camaraderie we had developed the first year. For those of you who don’t know me, I am just a little bit competitive. And, I like to have fun while working on a great cause. So with that, some dear friends and I decided to form our own team to see how we would do.
The name “Full On, Full On” came from a night with the co-founders of the team (Scott Murphy, Scott Ballew and Mark Fisette), a couple of bottles of wine and a glossary of biking terms that Scott Murphy had printed out to look for ideas for a team name. Scott’s glossary said that “Full On, Full On meant riding with gusto. Going all out. Giving it your all.” It seemed perfect.
Full On is blessed to have a core group of great friends as part of the team. The makeup changes from year to year as we add some new riders. In our five years of existence, Full On, Full On has raised over $247,000.
I’m often asked about our “secret” for raising money for this cause. It’s really quite simple, and it’s not a secret.
- Ask everyone to support you. Don’t self censor, as you never know whose life has been touched by HIV.
- Use the fund raising tools the organization provides. They make it easy to get the word out and keep it organized for you, year after year.
- Tell your story. Tell why you ride. Tell what you are doing to prepare. Tell about your progress.
- Raise your goal if you get close to or exceed your original goal. And do it again. And again. Don’t be apologetic. You’re winning.
- Ask again. People procrastinate. They think there is plenty of time to pledge later. They forget. Time slips away. Ask again.
- Thank your donors. Yes, it’s good manners, but it is also extremely important for the next year’s fund raising.
Even though we are a strong team with a great track record of fund raising, we view every year as a new challenge. You never know who’s coming back, who’s forming a new team or who’s joining the team their boyfriend/girlfriend/mother has joined. We love the competition year to year, and believe that it’s all for the greater good. Competition spurs us all on to work a little harder. And more competition means that together we all raise more money for the beneficiary agencies of the Ride.
So bring it on, Bev’s Biking Beasts with your formidable fund raising, Capital City Front Runners with your hot pink jerseys, and Heavy Breathers with your 89 riders! Or it could be one of you reading this who decides to create the new hot team of 2012. Bring it on! And let’s all raise even more money next year. Full On will be there for the challenge. And even though our team will certainly fiercely compete to be number one again, think about this: if we can use healthy competition to encourage every team and every person raise more money, we’re all winners and we can have a lot of competitive fun along the way.
On a personal note, I was truly humbled and rendered speechless (hard to do to a lawyer, trust me) by the award of the biking trip through the Loire Valley of France donated by Alyson Adventures. I wish my full team could attend, as they are my heroes for doing what they do to help make this Ride and our team such a success.
Oh, and one more thing. Remember Tip No. 5? Ask again. Let’s all ask again. Let’s see if we can break $600,000 for this year’s ride total. As I write this, we are only $10,000 away!
We all send a huge thanks to Phil, Greg, and everyone at Alyson Adventures for their generous gift.
Take a look at their calendar of upcoming trips!
“Hanns Ebensten Travel and Alyson Adventures are the pioneers in Gay Travel with a history going back to 1973 when they led their first tours into Egypt, The Grand Canyon, and Brazil. Their tours are as close to home as a week long adventure in the Grand Tetons or whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon, or as far away as Easter Island, Peru, South Africa and Antarctica. About half of their tours are for gay men only, while the rest are open to gay men, lesbians and their friends.