by Blake Herzog
The Launch Pad’s third annual Rim-to-Rim fundraising hike was its most successful, raising $47,500 for the nonprofit teen center’s outdoor adventure programs.
Molly Auman, a real estate broker for Russ Lyon Sotheby’s and a member of the committee overseeing the fundraiser, says the 32 participants were the most they’d had since the fundraiser started, and they far out-grossed the projected $35,000 goal.
“The first year we did it was almost a fluke, we put it together so quickly we didn’t have much time to raise money,” she says.
For the 2019 event the committee instituted a $500 fundraising minimum for participation and the hike ended up raising $29,000, cementing its role in The Launch Pad’s portfolio of fundraisers.
Auman says the spirit of competition started to kick in this year among the participants, all of them local businesspeople who each had their own webpage to collect pledges from family, friends and the public.
It turns out that Auman and her husband Jeff came out around the top of that competition, raising more than $6,000 together to become the highest-earning duo.
Ryan Glennan, a Launch Pad board member and vice president of Foothills Bank, was the highest-grossing individual hiker at more than $4,100 and was also a member of the highest-grossing team, along with local business owners Evan Simpson, Ben Wojciak and Erik Contreras. Together they netted almost $12,000.
Laurie Fisher, director of marketing and advertising for ROX Media, also participated in the hike and raised $1,122.
All proceeds go to The Launch Pad’s WILD, an outdoor adventure program that takes teens on weekend exploratory trips along with extended trips over fall and spring break. Just a few weeks after the Trek for Teens, a dozen Launch Pad teens spent their fall break touring Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.
The Launch Pad is an all-inclusive center for teens in downtown Prescott that offers afterschool activities, weekday clubs, community education, academic mentorship, summer camps and the outdoor adventure activities, along with mental health guidance and low-income support.
Auman says this year’s Trek for Teens began on the North Rim at 2 a.m. Oct. 3 in 28-degree weather. By the time they reached Indian Garden, about 5 miles down from the South Rim, a thermometer was reading just over 100 degrees hotter, at 130 degrees.
“I don’t think people really understand how extreme this hike can be and really prepare for it,” Auman says. “Don’t hike up Thumb Butte a couple of times and think you’re done training.”
All the hikers were on the buddy system and kept close track of each other; on one got lost. Most finished the 24.5-mile trip in about 12 hours, but a few needed a few extra hours to complete the grueling journey.
Corporate sponsors for this year’s Trek for Teens included Findlay Subaru Prescott, El Gato Azul, Grand Canyon Adventures, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, BloomTree Realty Prescott, Goods From the Garden and Hike Shack.
Photo: Ben Wojciak, Ryan Glennan, Evan Simonson, Erik Contreras, Lisa Hall, Bonnie Parsell, Lindsay Quinn, Sean Manske, Emilie Wilson, Cate Wilson, Mickey Sarkett, Courtney Osterfelt, Cooper Carr, Cathy Stonecipher, John Stonecipher, Laurie Fisher, Brad Fisher, Kirk Newmiller, Will Ratz, Heidi Popp, Angelika Garcia, Marco Garcia, Breeanya Hinkel, Trisha Schaffer, Julie Borovik, Catherine Page, Ron Horn, Barbara Roberts-Hartman, Kelly Thrush, Jeffrey Auman, Molly Auman, Cindy Rollins, Gabby McMillan, Danny Davis, Rob, KP Preziosi