Featured Image: Students gather around vendors at the Field Hockey team’s inaugural craft fair on Dec. 3 in the CMAC. Raven Denton | Courtesy
The Virginia Wesleyan Field Hockey team hosted a craft fair on Sunday, Dec. 3. The fair brought together local vendors to support the team and their own small businesses during the start of the holiday shopping season.
This event has been in the works for a while. The Finance Office and the Field Hockey team have been planning the event since the end of last semester.
Gwen Mikeals, Student Accounts Coordinator, attends many craft fairs and thought it would be a good idea to have the school host one. She passed the fundraising idea to the Field Hockey team.
The team began organizing the event by placing flyers around the local Virginia Beach area asking for vendors to participate in the event by renting a space in the Cunningham Multi-Activity Center (CMAC).
Emily Moniz, a junior on the team, participated in the creation and distribution of the flyers and emphasized the time the team has taken to prepare for this event.
“We have been looking for vendors for at least six months,” Moniz said.
The team also took to social media to advertise the event. Ava Stauch, a first-year on the team, said, “We have been advertising it on our Instagrams even.”
The event had a large turnout for its first year. A total of 32 vendors were registered, and the proceeds from rented spaces and tables were donated to the Field Hockey team.
However, this event did not only benefit the Field Hockey team. Individual sales from customers during the event profited the vendors, as well.
This event brought together a wide variety of vendors, including retired community members sharing their skills to make some extra money, or teenagers selling their art to afford school trips. Small businesses and amateur crafters also attended the fair.
Many vendors sold unique, handmade jewelry, as well as handmade bags, knitted hats, lanterns, pens, potholders and laptop sleeves. There were crafts made out of tree logs, recycled yarn, old fabric and oyster shells from the eastern shoreline. Services were offered as well; one vendor set up a table putting tinsel in customers’ hair.
The team also hosted a raffle for items vendors donated. On the raffle table were donated goods like ornaments, hats, frames and paintings. Moniz’s grandmother made and donated a quilt to be included in the raffle as well.
The team sold refreshments like hotdogs, chips and baked goods as an additional way to fundraise. They took time working shifts at different stations during the event in a combined effort to raise money for their team.
Head Coach Ryley van der Velde is passionate about this event and believes it is going to provide the team with more funding to buy new equipment. The team has many items they need, like new practice goals, game goals, travel bags, backpacks and a second set of pennies.
“I think we need to get these women just one outfit that’s provided from our program and then to give them travel bags and backpacks that we keep within our program. That takes a couple hundred dollars off of these families and their plates,” van der Velde said.
This will make it easier for players on the team like first-year Breanna Gable, who attested that her parents had to pay for most of her gear at the beginning of the year.
For van der Velde, it’s more than just equipment the team is gaining from this fundraiser. She feels the team is gaining potential to increase their experience. “This year, these kids doubled our wins. They’re putting themselves on the map. And so you know, I think that to be competitive, we need to give these kids the gear and the experience they deserve,” van der Velde said.
This event became more than a simple fundraiser to the coach and team. Van der Velde finds this work personal.
“It’s not a job. It’s a lifestyle. And I think if it’s not personal, then I probably need to find a new job,” van der Velde said.
The team has had fundraisers in the past, such as prospect clinics. This is where staff and members of the team hold a clinic for the current field hockey recruits. Each recruit pays $50, and, along with any gear sales, the money goes to the team. Events like clinics and the craft fair help the team keep the cost off the players and their families.
Van der Velde hopes to make this event an annual occurrence, bringing in more vendors next year to support the team and their families, along with the local community.
By: Kara Hopkins