HAPS Poker Walk: fun and merriment for a good cause

12 Jun

Among my duties as President-elect of HAPS was to organize and oversee the yearly 5K fun run/walk that is held during the Annual Conference. This event was developed a few years ago as a way to raise monies for the HAPS Foundation, and for our members to have an opportunity to socialize and get some exercise at the same time. (For those of you not familiar with the Foundation: the HAPS Foundation was established to manage funds that may be used to advance current and future HAPS projects, such as the HAPS-Institute and the Learning Outcomes Project. The Foundation also provides money for scholarships and awards to our members.)

Look at all the registrants for the HAPS Poker Walk!

Look at all the registrants for the HAPS Poker Walk!

Since this year’s meeting was in Las Vegas (which typically has temps of 100+ degrees at this time of year), we were concerned about having a regular run and potentially killing off our members. (As a general rule in organizations, it is not a good idea to cause bodily harm to your membership.) 🙂 Our current President Dee Silverthorn suggested we hold a Poker Walk instead, so members would not get overheated.

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All types of participants came to walk this year. 🙂

What is a Poker Walk, you ask? Some more official rules may be found here, but a nice summary is that it is part walk, part scavenger hunt, topped off with a hand of poker. Participants start off at a central location and receive a poker chip and a clue to their next destination. They walk to the next destination where they will get another poker chip and a clue to the third destination. This repeats until the participants have collected 4 chips, and they return to the starting point. There they exchange their chips for a 5-card draw poker hand. For an additional donation, they may exchange one of their cards. The best poker hand(s) win prizes.

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Poker Walk volunteers dance away for participants at the first destination.

I was assisted in the planning of this event by Tom Lehman (Steering Committee chair and new President-Elect) and Bob Crocker (co-chair, Foundation Oversight Committee). The three of us were able to address various challenges in the planning and eventually came up with a route that wasn’t too terribly long and had easily identifiable landmarks. Multiple volunteers from the board, steering committee and membership got up extra early on Monday morning so they could staff the various locations. McGraw-Hill graciously donated water bottles to all participants and the annual conference committee had a variety of prizes to give both before and after the event.

But the big question remained…. Would people get up early on Monday to participate in a walk at 7am? The answer was yes! We had over 60 people participate and engage in the fun. Volunteers at each station entertained the participants, and our final station dealt poker hands like card sharks. The annual conference committee had many prizes on hand so many participants walked away with a prize. Many people commented that they had a great time and would like to so this again. So next year, when our annual conference is in Jacksonville, be prepared for another similar event. While the event may not be a poker walk per se, it will be something that is fun, gets us moving, and helps the HAPS Foundation.

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