A Bon Voyage Party for Jonny Vasic
Marina del Rey, CA
February 2, 2005
How it came together by Kristine Vasic
In early January, we found out Jonny, my husband, was accepted as a crew member of the Farley Mowat for the Seal campaign and that he would be leaving the first weekend in February. He immediately suggested we should throw a fundraiser/bon voyage party. It made sense. We have both always enjoyed hosting parties. In addition, I had been working for an event company specializing in non-profit fundraisers and Jonny had hosted many "wrap parties" for the film industry. As activists, we had also attended and volunteered for several fundraisers and often talked about putting on our own event.
With only 3 weeks to plan and put it all together, we knew we had to think fast and practically. We thought about what we could realistically hope to accomplish. We started by contacting our local Sea Shepherd volunteer rep and fellow activist Scott Sheckman who offered to bring merchandise and table the event. We contacted SSCS headquarters and got the organization involved in our planning and promoting. We were lucky to have Scott to publicize the event on the California e-mail list and have both him and International Director Tim Midgley agree to attend and speak that night.
We wanted to bring attention to the plight of the seals, raise funds for the campaign, and have all of Jonny's friends and colleagues have a chance to come out to learn about where he was going and why. We made calls, secured a location, donations from companies for a raffle, and fabulous food from Native Foods a local vegan restaurant. It's amazing how many people and companies are willing to donate when they know the money is going to a great cause. Besides the SSCS e-mail list and website, we enlisted fellow activists around town to promote it on their e-mail lists. Word spread within the community. Then we invited all of our friends and Jonny's colleagues from the production company he had been working for and from former films and shows.
It was a weeknight, but the turnout was great - around 80 people. We were very happy with the response. Several activists came out to support the cause and many of Jonny's friends came out to support him, and in the process they learned something about the plight of the oceans and marine life. While a serious issue was the reason for the event, we wanted it to also be fun. We mixed it up by having the early part of the night reserved for food, visiting the SSCS table, and raffle table, watching videos about the seal hunt, and hearing from the speakers with Jonny as MC. Later in the evening, we had DJ and dancing, awarding of raffle prizes and a flooding of merchandise sales at the SSCS table.
Putting on events is a passion for the two of us but it was through the help of many people that we were able to successfully put this together. We look forward to the next bigger and better events we hope to be a part of in the future.