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Time for the BIG GIVE

Saturday event includes carnival, sports camps and Mr. Doernbecher competition
by: contributed by Julia Monteith During last year’s Big Give, Sandy High School Principal Aaron Bayer and a blindfolded high school student compete in the Twinkie Eating contest.

The second annual Oregon Trail Big Give is back for a reprise. Last year's successful event is becoming an annual affair.

Because the needs continue, the giving must continue, says Jim Milliken, an administrator at Welches Elementary School who is leading the event Saturday, April 2.

Promoting the theme 'Give Back and Give Big,' Milliken says the beneficiaries this fundraiser include students, teachers and classrooms of each of the schools in the Oregon Trail School District as well as the Oregon Trail Education Foundation and the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation.

Milliken is president of the Oregon Trail Education Foundation, a group focused on supporting teachers and schools in ways that don't fit into the district's budget - ways that promote education and assist students and teachers.

'This is an event,' Milliken said, 'that's geared at bringing the community together for a carnival experience, and then we raise money for the foundations and the school parent-teacher clubs.'

To facilitate this coming weekend's fundraiser, its organizers are offering many activities for the entire family - all beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at Sandy High School, 17100 Bluff Road.

The Oregon Trail Adventure is one of the first activities of the day, Milliken said, and involves adults from each of the district's schools in team-building and competitive activities from 9 a.m. to noon.

Funds raised during this activity go directly to the local education foundation, which awards grants to teachers with special projects.

Meanwhile, the children are in mini sports camps, conducted by experienced high school athletes and members of the leadership class. Two hour-long sessions from 9-11 a.m. are available, and at the break participants may stay in the same sport or choose another.

Among the sports camps and their respective grade levels are cheer and dance K-8, basketball 3-8, volleyball 4-8, soccer K-8 and arts and crafts K-5.

For fairness and ease in learning, age groups within the camps will be separated.

The $15 fee for the two camps will be divided as a fundraiser for either Doernbecher Children's Hospital or the school of the participant's choice.

At 11 a.m., the food court opens with a variety of snacks offered as fundraisers for each school's parent-teacher group.

A carnival begins at noon, with games provided by the schools.

'Every school comes to the carnival with their carnival booth,' Milliken said. 'There'll be face painting and a whole array of carnival-type activities.'

By 6 p.m., high school students are ready to cap the week's activities with a pageant - in some ways like the Miss America pageant, but for teenage boys.

The purpose of the activity is to crown one student with the title 'Mr. Doernbecher.'

All funds raised from this activity during the week at school and the Saturday evening pageant are destined for Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

'Our combined efforts,' Milliken said, 'will enhance awareness of giving to these wonderful causes.'

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Sandy High School.