Kenney (Ken) Myers is first and foremost a Christian, a father of 3 amazing kids, and a husband of an amazing woman (Jolene).

Ken is also an Executive with over 15 years of experience leading companies serving as CFO, CTO, COO, and CEO of several successful business ventures including WhiteFence, CollegeDegrees, CMN, eNannySource, GoNannies, and Morningside Nannies.

  • CARE


    I am very active in the care industry this includes childcare, senior care, pet care, and other types of in-home care services. In addition to running multiple websites and businesses in this industry I also participate in various coalitions and organizational boards.

  • KENS


    Just for fun I like to create lists of Kens that have existed over time. I’m not exactly sure why. Of course, they may be commonly referred to as Ken, Kenny, or Kenneth. There are very few out there like me that go by Kenney which I give all the credit to my parents for making it unique.



    I have been writing poetry for years. Actually, ever since I can remember I have enjoyed expressing myself via prose. From co-writing our high school fight song with my father, to rapping through the halls, and now just expressing my thoughts… It’s a great creative outlet for me.



    I was born into a very strong Christian family. My father is a Presbyterian minister and I can’t thank both him and my mother enough for raising us to be strong believers. This is a huge part of who I am and who I strive to be as a father, husband, leader, and person in general.

Drawings & Videos // This section shows off some of what I do in my spare time from cartoon drawings, caricatures, and various videos including my favorite stop motion iPhone videos.

I will also do my best to represent some of the projects that I am working on through screenshots and photos.

About this Blog // You will find a wide variety of content on my blog. Some of which was mentioned above and other of which will be simply random subjects that catch my attention from time-to-time. I thoroughly enjoy reading and writing on a wide variety of subjects so you never know what might pop up on my blog. Please subscribe to my feed!



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    babyfaceThese 15 musicians were pretty easy for me to come up with since I listen to arguably too much music.  Some people though don’t know for instance that Babyface’s given name is Kenneth.  Several of the singers on this list won’t come as a surprise to most of you but you never know…

    1. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds – A singer and performer in his own right, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds was also the creative mastermind behind a staggering number of hits through the 1990s and early 2000s. Known primarily for his work in R&B, Edmonds was also a ten-time Grammy winner and a hit producer.
    2. Kenny Rogers – Knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em ensured that Kenny Rogers found a place among country music royalty’s most venerable. With more than 120 hit singles spanning several genres, this Houston native is definitely one of pop culture’s most recognizable and beloved icons.
    3. Ken Block – Vocalist and co-songwriter for the hit rock band Sister Hazel, based out of Gainesville, Florida, Ken Block has seen moderate success with his band over the years. His distinctive voice and the efforts of the rest of Sister Hazel have allowed the group to continue touring and releasing albums for the better part of two decades.
    4. Kenny Wayne Shepherd – A blues musician from Shreveport, Louisiana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a songwriter, singer and prodigiously talented guitarist. Working with some of the greatest names in the blues genre, Shepherd has enjoyed unprecedented success within blues circles for an artist so young.
    5. Kenny Chesney – Finding a country music fan that isn’t familiar with Kenny Chesney would be a difficult feat, indeed. Soaring to a hugely popular level with his country-boy-meets-Jimmy-Buffett beach bum hit singles, Chesney routinely sells out arenas and releases chart-topping albums.
    6. Kenneth Nixon – The lead singer and co-writer for underground favorites Framing Hanley, Kenneth Nixon’s indie style makes him a heartthrob frontman with serious musical chops.
    7. Ken Ring – A pioneer in the genre of Swedish rap, Ken Ring was born in Kenya, raised in Sweden and is an astoundingly prolific artist. Scads of albums, singles and independent mixtapes are accredited to this Swedish star.
    8. Kenneth Cope – Composing and performing religious music for members of the Latter Day Saints church, Kenneth Cope is a popular musician in LDS and Spiritual music circles.
    9. Kenneth “K.K.” Downing – The guitarist and back-up singer for the iconic heavy metal outfit Judas Priest, K.K. Downing also had a hand in writing many of the bands chart-topping, seminal-to-the-genre hits.
    10. Kenneth McKellar – A popular Scottish tenor trained at the Royal College of Music, Kenneth McKellar began his career as an opera singer. Eventually, he followed his interest in traditional Scottish songs and enjoyed reasonable popularity in the United Kingdom until his death in 2010.
    11. William “Big Kenny” Alphin – One half of the rambunctious country duo Big & Rich, Big Kenny Alphin is a singer and songwriter behind hits like “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” and “Holy Water.” He’s also a figurehead of the Muzik Mafia movement, which aims to gain exposure for talented and unsigned Nashville musicians of any genre.
    12. Kenny Lattimore – The popular R&B singer behind hits like “For You” and “Never Too Busy,” Kenny Lattimore was also a member of the group Maniquin. He’s married to songstress Chante Moore; the two have one son together.
    13. Kenny Loggins – Originally one half of Loggins and Messina, Kenny Loggins may be more easily recognizable as the voice behind “Footloose” from the movie of the same name, and hit tracks from the Top Gun soundtrack “Danger Zone” and “Playing With the Boys.”
    14. Kenny Thomas – A soul singer from Islington, London, Kenny Thomas was nominated for two BRIT Awards, released two chart-topping albums and enjoyed a stint on ITV’s Hit Me Baby One More Time singing contest.
    15. Kenny Washington – A New Orleans native, Kenny Washington is an accomplished vocalist. Though he began his career as a gospel singer, he eventually found his niche as a jazz and blues vocalist.

    Updated article originally published on 10/02/2013


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Catch All, Kens

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    A coach is someone who brings out the best in you. Professional sports coaches are renowned for driving athletes to give 100%, then turn around and give a 100% more. The 10 coaches in this list are no exception, and each one of them was blessed with the birth name Ken.

    • Ken Carter – Very few coaches can claim the distinction of having a movie made about them, but Ken Carter can. In 2005, the basketball coach was played by Samuel L. Jackson in the movie Coach Carter. The values that Carter set down for his college team during the 1999 season, mixing a solid grounding in academics with performance on the field, were the main subject of the movie that made him famous.
    • Kenneth S. Hitchcock – Currently coaching the St. Louis Blues, Hitchcock is an NHL coach and pro scout. In 1999, he coached the Dallas Stars to victory in the Stanley Cup, and has also acted as head coach for the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets. Kenneth S. Hitchcock, or “Hitch” as he’s better known, is a native of Western Canada.
    • Ken Mushinskie – Until early 2013, Ken Mushinskie was the coach for the Beckman High School Patriots. After only two seasons with the team, he was forced to retire, citing a dispute of the direction the team was going. For the two seasons that Ken spent with the team, the Patriots had a record of 14-11, and he led them to the CIF Southern Division title game in 2011.
    • Ken Whisenhunt – The San Diego Chargers is where Whisenhunt currently hangs his hat, however, from 2007 – 2012 he was the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals. During his time with the Cardinals, Ken brought the team to the Super Bowl in 2008, which marked the first time in their history. Earlier coaching roles included the Baltimore Ravens (1997–1998), Cleveland Browns (1999), New York Jets (2000) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (2001–2003).
    • Ken Shamrock – Opposite his upcoming opponent, Tito Ortiz, who he was set to fight at UFC 61, Shamrock acted as head coach on the third season of the franchise reality TV competition The Ultimate Fighter. Team Ortiz dominated the competition, which was to become an omen of future for Shamrock at the main event. Ortiz beat Ken, effectively heralding the end of Shamrock’s UFC career.
    • Kenny Adams – An amateur boxer in his own right, Adams helped the U.S. team bring back nine gold medals from the 1984 Olympic games. In 1989, Kenny coached French fighter Rene Jacquot to victory against Donald Curry. He has also coached B.J. Flores, Michael Nunn and Ray Mercer.
    • Ken Niumatalolo – The United States Naval Academy is proud to have Ken Niumatalolo currently serving in the position of head coach. Ken came up through the ranks of college football as a quarterback, when he played for University of Hawaii. When he wasn’t playing football, Niumatalolo was pursuing his other love on the basketball court. He took on the position of head coach with the Naval Academy on December 8, 2007.
    • Ken Wood – With over four decades of coaching under his belt, Wood has helped a number of world champion-caliber swimmers achieve gold. He is currently acting as the head coach at Redcliffe Leagues Swimming Club in Queensland, Australia. Wood faced controversy after the 2008 Summer Olympics, due to one of his swimmers leaving his camp. The swimmer in question, Jessicah Schipper, left because he sold her training regime to rival Liu Zige of China. The move cost Schipper her 200m Butterfly world record and a defeat at the hands of Zige.
    • Ken Chertow – This American wrestler competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Chertow now runs extensive wrestling training camps throughout the U.S., which have produced a number of college wrestling champions. He dedicates most of his time to perfecting his program, which he also promotes across the country. Ken has won a number of titles in the sport, including the Olympic Festival Champion and the Tulsa National Team Championship.
    • Kenny Dalglish – One of the best known names in British soccer, Dalglish was instrumental in the coaching style of Liverpool FC. Kenny became player-manager for the side in 1985. Among some of the titles that Kenny won as a player with Liverpool are six Football League First Divisions, two FA Cups and four League Cups. He resigned in 1991, only to return as manager from May 2011 until he was released in May 2012.

    Updated article originally published on 04/09/2013



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    mmaMMA has been called “the world’s fastest-growing sport,” which makes sense given it hasn’t been around that long. For instance, among 18-34 year-old fans in the United States, MMA is more popular than either the NHL or even NASCAR. While there’s no doubt about the rise in popularity of MMA, there is some confusion about what’s driving the success. Here are a few possible reasons in no specific order:

    1. Regulations – In the earliest days of MMA as an organized sport, it wasn’t allowed on pay-per-view and Republican politician John McCain lobbied heavily for the FCC to keep mixed martial arts off PPV. In response, mixed martial arts leagues began to organize their fighters into weight classes and institute regulations to make the sport more palatable for the masses. With these changes, MMA began to move out of the underground circuits and into the mainstream.
    2. Gambling & Fantasy MMA – Where boxing was once the go-to combat sport for Vegas odds-makers, mixed martial arts is now taking its own piece of the action. Betting on MMA fights is a booming business and fantasy MMA sites like http://www.kountermove.com  are making it easier than ever to bet on MMA fights.
    3. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) – Mixed martial arts promotions like PRIDE and StrikeForce generated lots of buzz, but there is no doubt that the UFC put mixed martial arts on the professional sports map in the United States. The UFC entered the scene in 1993 and after a series of buyouts have positioned themselves as the top MMA promotion in the World.
    4. Social Media – In the earliest days of MMA as a mainstream sport, the Internet was just getting going and social media had yet to become an integral part of our lives. Now, athletes from all sports, including MMA leverage Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, & others to create a stronger bond with their growing fan bases.
    5. Training Availability – It used to be hard to find gyms that specialized in MMA training with tae kwon do & karate being much more popular martial art forms.  That has significantly changed now with the emergence of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu gyms, UFC gyms, and many others that combine traditional combative arts like jiu jitsu, kickboxing, and other styles to train MMA fighters.
    6. Diversity – MMA has always had cross-cultural but with the emergence of professional WMMA promotions like Invicta and introducing many more weight classes, MMA has opened up to more athletes offering female and male fighters of all sizes the opportunity to fight for a living (the number of weight classes for men and women  is more likely to increase than decrease).
    7. Increased Understanding of the Sport – As MMA becomes a mainstream sport and expanded its rules and regulations it also has become easier for fans to understand. What was once seen as a blood sport by some politicians and some fans has become more appreciated for the technical skill required to become a pro fighter.
    8. Increased Promotion – Organizations like UFC and Bellator are working overtime to get MMA out there for public consumption. From reality shows that showcase up-and-coming fighters to aggressive multi-channel marketing campaigns that promote their Pay Per View (PPV) fights these promotions are marketing machines.
    9. Sponsorship Deals for Fighters – While athletes in any sport have sponsorship deals, MMA fighters take it to another level. From paid public appearances to walk-out shirts to the shorts they wear for fights, MMA fighters proudly represent brands like no other individual sport.  It’s more like NASCAR than the NFL from this perspective.
    10. Accessibility – With networks like AXSTV, Spike, and FoxSports1 frequently running fights on the weekends it is far easier to watch high level MMA fights.

    MMA is a rapidly innovating and evolving sport which will continue to fuel it’s increase in popularity.  As the UFC and other promotions cut deals like the massive uniform deal with Reebok in December 2014, we will see more and more merchandise and marketing of MMA athletes and promotions.  This will continue to bring more fans to the sport for years to come.  No matter how quickly it grows though it is clear that MMA is mainstream and it is here to stay.


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Catch All

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    hashtag2For those of us fortysomethings out there, we may just really be starting to leverage Twitter and one of the things that I know I have struggled with is the proper use of some of the abbreviations and Twitter slang. In order to provide myself with a quick reminder and to hopefully help others out, I prepared a quick list. If you know of anything that I missed that could help more people (including me), please add them via the comment section below.

    Important Twitter slang/vernacular:

    @reply (it’s like hitting an email reply button) – Here you substitute the reply with another username on twitter so @KenneyMyers for example if you wanted to reply to me. This is a simple way of responding to another twitter user in a way that will get back to them almost as if you are having a regular conversation.

    ab/abt (about) – This is shorthand for about. Given we have only 140 characters to get our point across it can be really handy to use common abbreviations. There will be several throughout this twitter vocabulary list.

    b/c (because) – I think some of the twitter abbreviations have been around forever. I remember using b/c for because a long, long time ago and it means the same when used in a tweet.

    b4 (before) – Sometimes letter an number combinations are used to abbreviate like this one which means before (b4).

    BFN (bye for now) – This is a way of ending a twitter conversation or just letting people know you have other things to do. It literally mean bye for now.

    BR (best regards) – This is just a way to send someone your best regards. You might for instance tweet @KenneyMyers BR & good luck with your speaking gig in Dallas.

    chk (check) – This is another abbreviation that has been around for a long time and literally means check.

    clk (click) – If you want the other twitter user to click on a link you might use this abbreviation.

    direct message (DM) – This is a direct message in twitter that is sent privately to the person you direct the message to. Use this feature if you want only one other twitter user to see a tweet.

    EM/eml/EMA (email) – There are a lot of abbreviations for email including my favorite (because it is the shortest) EM.

    F2F (face to face) – If you want to meet someone in person you would use F2F or if you are just describing a meeting that you already had in a tweet.

    fab (fabulous) – This is a great way to say you really like something while just using 3 letters.

    FAV (favorite) – This is referring to the fav action in twitter where you want people to fav your tweet and/or to let them know you did for them or someone else.

    follower – This describes the people that are following your tweets on the network (they are your followers).

    FF (follow friday or #followfriday) – FF is used when you want others to follow or favorite something else in your tweet.

    Hash Tag (hashtag – #) – This almost deserves an entirely separate article but it in essence makes something more searchable and draws attention to that word (see more on hashtags below). So if you preface any word with a hashtag (#) it draws attention to it in the world of twitter.

    IC (I see) – This is just letting someone know that you understand what thye are tweeting about.

    IDK (I don’t know) – If you don’t know this abbreviation, you might want to give up now!

    kk (kewl kewl – cool cool) – It’s just telling someone that you get what they are saying and/or you like it.  BTW, I’ve dropped this a couple of times when talking/chatting with my teen kids and they are quick to tell me that nobody does that.  Really?  I beg to differ! kk?

    MRT (modified retweet) – This is literally a modified retweet identifier.

    NTS (note to self) – This is used when you are just wanting to use twitter to remind yourself of something on your home page (where you see your own tweets).

    OH (overheard) – This is an efficient way to say that you overheard something (usually juicy).

    PRT (please retweet) – Use this when you would like your followers to retweet this one.

    RT (retweet) – This is when you retweet someone’s message. The functionality is built into the twitter client or you can just type RT @KenneyMyers cool post!

    selfie (taking a picture of yourself) – Thanks to the iPhone’s ability to have a forward facing camera it is easier than ever to take a picture of yourself (a selfie).

    TFTF (thanks for the follow) – This is just a quick way to thank another twitter user for following you.

    TMB (tweet me back) – If you want another user to message you back through twitter then you can just tell them to TMB.

    Tweet (a message on twitter) – This is literally a message on twitter and how people let their followers know something (they tweet it out).

    twis (dis) – This is the way of saying you got dissed or dissing someone else on Twitter.

    U (you) – This is just a quicker way of referring to someone else on Twitter.

    wtv (whatever) – This means whatever in one context or another and allows for a much more efficient message.

    yoyo (you are on your own) – Use this when you want to tell someone you disagree and/or that they are on their own for any reason.

    Important Inforamation on Hashtags:

    So I have seen these abused so many times it is crazy. I think one good source of hashtags is hashtags.org, that site will help you understand a bunch about the do’s and dont’s of using hashtags on Twitter. Basically, a hashtag in front of any word makes that word searchable inside of Twitter. Because people sometimes abuse hashtags to associate a tweet with a trending topic (even though it is really unrelated), Twitter came up with the following rules:

    Here’s Twitter‘s official statement on hashtag abuse.

    “The following behaviors and others like them could cause your account to be filtered from search, or even suspended:

    1. Adding one or more topic/hashtag to an unrelated tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search.
    2. Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending/trending higher.
    3. Tweeting about each trending topic in turn in order to drive traffic to your profile, especially when mixed with advertising.
    4. Listing the trending topics in combination with a request to be followed.
    5. Tweeting about a trending topic and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.”

    In other words, don’t just put a hashtag in front of any word because you think it makes you kk (kewl kewl). It doesn’t work that way. If you use hashtags improperly you could find yourself suspended from Twitter in a heartbeat.

    So hopefully you have learned one or two things from this article about how to properly use Twitter.  If not, I can at least confirm that it has been helpful for this fortysomething to simply research these and refresh my diminishing memory.  Happy twittering (okay, that’s not one of our vocabulary words, but that’s okay)!

    Updated article originally published on 07/05/2013


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Entrepreneur

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    burnoutStarting your own business venture requires a staggering amount of time, energy and dedication. As an entrepreneur, you’re already more prone to burnout than other professionals, due to the entrepreneurial tendency to work to the point of exhaustion to make your venture a successful one. All too often, founders neglect their own needs, shifting them further and further down the list of priorities until they finally become completely burned out. Before burnout takes its toll on your business, learn the reasons why it’s so common and how you can avoid the dangers.

    Failure to Delegate – No one knows how to run your business like you do, but that doesn’t mean you have to handle every task on your to-do list. It’s important to delegate some duties, because even the most capable self-starter is allotted the same number of hours in a day as everyone else. You need to use your time and energy dealing with executive tasks, not optimizing mail delivery or making reservations for business meals.

    Spending Too Much Time in The Zone – Operating in the zone for a while is great, but when concentration on your professional life becomes tunnel vision, you’re flirting with burnout. You can only operate in full work-mode for so long, then exhaustion begins to creep in and the trouble begins. Even for entrepreneurs juggling a startup venture, work/life balance is vital.

    Skipping Meals – Too many founders skip breakfast in favor of getting down to business earlier, work through lunch and then binge on unhealthy convenience foods before collapsing into bed for a few hours. Skipping meals makes you less productive and damages your health all around, leaving you more prone to burnout later. Taking an hour out of your day for a balanced, healthy lunch will not spell disaster for your business. Running yourself into the ground just might, though.

    Setting Unrealistic Personal Goals – You may have perfectly reasonable expectations of your staff, but one common trait entrepreneurs tend to share is an unrealistic expectation for themselves. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, but there is such thing as fatigue, discouragement and exhaustion borne of trying to make it big in record time. Make sure your projections are realistic, rather than overly aggressive.

    Trouble Maintaining Boundaries – Boundaries aren’t just for your working relationships. You also have to set boundaries for yourself, especially when it comes to “on time” and “off time.” Make, and honor, boundaries regarding time when you won’t be checking email or work-related messages. You need time to recharge when you’re not at work.

    Denial – Knowing the causes and signs of impending burnout doesn’t stave off the inevitable. Too often, entrepreneurs make the willful decision to bury their heads in the proverbial sand when it comes to signs of burnout, with intentions of dealing with the situation later. Unfortunately, “later” often comes too late. Watch for the warning signs of burnout, and take steps to regain your equilibrium.

    Losing Perspective – When you’re deep in the trenches, solutions to looming issues can be difficult to see. Walking away for an hour, a day or a long weekend can not only help you recharge your batteries to avoid burnout, but can also help you more easily see the solution to a lingering problem in the process. Loss of perspective stemming from laser-focus is just as dangerous as running on an hour of sleep and living on takeout in terms of exhaustion, so take a step back when you feel like yours is growing dim.

    Avoiding Work – Slacking off for a few minutes during the day is normal and necessary, but if you’re wasting time just so you can avoid tackling work projects, you’re probably edging towards apathy resulting from burning out. When you catch yourself looking for excuses to procrastinate, it’s a definite sign you need some personal time.

    Everything is Irritating – Your trusted assistant seems to have become incompetent overnight. Clients you enjoyed working with are a burden, and no one seems to be able to do anything right. If this sounds familiar, chances are slim that everyone in your professional circle decided collectively to drop the ball. The more likely explanation is that you’ve simply had enough for a while, and need to take some time out for self-care.

    You’re Researching Burnout – If you’re looking for a list of signs that you might be suffering from burnout, you’re probably well on your way.

    Taking time to unplug from work devices and to focus on yourself, your family and all of your loved ones won’t undo any of your hard work. Don’t allow yourself to become so burned out that you no longer care if your business venture is successful; make self-care and personal time a priority from the beginning. Remember, starting a business isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You’re in it for the long haul, so you need a long-term plan to see you through the foreseeable future.


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Catch All

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    mobWhether you’re looking for a way to make a difference, brighten someone’s day or simply to set the stage for the next big viral video, a flash mob can be the answer. Figuring out how to organize and plan a flash mob, coming up with ideas for what to do with all those people once you have them congregated and knowing how to avoid any potential legal pitfalls are major hurdles that you’ll need to overcome along the way to creating a successful flash mob. Thanks to the collective wisdom of bloggers around the world, you can find everything you need to know to pull off a flash mob performance of epic proportions with these 30 blog entries.

    What is a Flash Mob?

    Before you can plan a memorable and exciting flash mob experience, you’ll need to know exactly what a flash mob is and how they work. These five blog entries cover plenty of ground in regard to the origin of flash mobs and their evolution since the term was coined in 2003.

    Volunteering and Socially Conscious Flash Mobs

    Though the first thing that most people think of when they hear the term “flash mob” is a choreographed dance routine or even a song-and-dance number, there are plenty of flash mob activities that can make a positive difference in your community. These five blog entries detail some of the ways that flash mobs can prove to be tools for positive progress.

    Entertaining Flash Mob Ideas

    Sometimes, an unexpected performance that pops up in an average location can be just the thing to boost an onlooker’s mood. If you’re looking to make the day of everyone in a crowded place, these five flash mob performances can serve as great inspiration. Whether you pull off your own version of these mobs or use them as a jumping-off point for brainstorming your own, there’s a wealth of ideas and knowledge contained in these five blog entries.

    Flash Mob Marketing Ideas

    As with so many other things in modern pop culture, there are ways to monetize your flash mob by using it as an attention-grabbing promotional tool for a product or service. These five marketing blog entries are filled with pointers about the best ways of making your flash mob a valuable tool to promote something you’re invested in.

    How to Organize a Flash Mob

    No matter what your aims are when you set out to plan your flash mob invasion of a public place, you’ll need to have a very strong idea of how to organize the event. Large numbers of people can get out of hand fairly quickly, which is why the wisdom provided by these five bloggers is invaluable to the budding flash mob mastermind.

    Keeping Your Flash Mob Legal

    While it may seem like it’s all fun and games, there can be some legal issues to contend with when you gather a massive crowd in a public area for any purpose. These five blog entries are all centered on the idea of flash mobs and their legal implications, but it’s important to note that they are no substitute for the advice of an attorney in your area. While these blogs can help you figure out the basics of flash mobs in terms of legality and liability, you should still make sure that you’re well aware of the laws in your area and apprised of the risks that come with organizing these events.

    Updated article originally published on 29/01/2013


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Catch All, Christianity

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    volunteerforeverI recently wrote an article about various ways to fund church youth group mission trips (because our Jr. and Sr. High groups are both currently raising funds).  As a result Steven Weddle, the Co-Founder & CEO of VolunteerForever.com reached out to me to let me know about his site and how it might be able to help our church.  I thought it was a really interesting concept but needed to get more information from him so I asked him the following questions which he agreed to turn into a nice interview for my blog:

    1) What inspired you to create this site?

    I created Volunteer Forever after volunteering abroad in India in late 2011. The trip was a life-changing experience for me, but getting there was difficult since I had a hard time finding a trustworthy volunteer opportunity and paying for the trip. When I got home, it just dawned on me to build a website that would allow people to find volunteer opportunities abroad and raise money for their volunteer trip expenses.

    2) Have you funded church youth group mission trips through the site and if yes, how many?

    Volunteer Forever was originally designed to help individual volunteers raise money for their trips abroad. For example, our typical user was a college student or recent graduate raising money to join a position with an international volunteer organization overseas.  However, in describing the features of Volunteer Forever to my family and friends (several of whom have participated in church mission trips), I realized our website would benefit church youth group mission trip participants as well. So far, we have one family who is currently fundraising for their church mission trip to Haiti. Their mother founded an organization that raised nearly $8,000 on Volunteer Forever last year and she is using our website again for her children’s first mission trip to Haiti. Ultimately, we’d love it if every church youth group had the opportunity to use our platform to make mission trips more attainable for everyone. Each group will be able to create their very own trip page that individual fundraisers will be able to link to. Donors can then easily make a donation to the individual fundraiser of their choice and the funds are instantly placed in the fundraiser’s or group’s PayPal account.
    3) Would you recommend that a youth group notify their congregation and community to support a volunteerforever.com campaign?

    Absolutely, your congregation and community will likely understand your mission trip’s purpose and the benefits of participating in one. Best of all, you’ll be able to leverage the support from your church and ministry leaders to raise awareness of and advocate for your fundraising campaign. Furthermore, you’ve built trust and rapport with your congregation and community members, which are incredibly vital for a successful fundraising campaign.
    4) What are some of the challenges with crowdfunding a mission trip?

    One of the biggest challenges for crowdfunding for a mission trip is engaging your audience and telling a compelling story. Not everyone will understand why you are raising thousands of dollars to go on a mission trip to help people outside of your local area. When crafting a crowdfunding campaign for the trip, we encourage all of our fundraisers to clearly explain the following in their campaign description:
    • What’s your motivation for going on this mission trip?
    • What will you do there and how will the host community benefit from your presence?
    • Why do you need funding and how will the funds be used?
    • How do you plan to grow from the experience?
    5) How do people normally spread the word about a project that may be on your site (social media, emails, etc.)?

    Our fundraisers spread the word about their project through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. Typically, a fundraiser will send out a personal e-mail or Facebook message to their closest friends and family members. Then, they will share their fundraising page with their extended networks through Facebook. Facebook is an especially effective way to raise of a campaign; our data for this months shows nearly 60% of all donations on our site originated from Facebook. We’ve integrated these social media tools directly onto each fundraiser’s page so that with a single click, you can share your fundraising campaign across e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networking platforms.
    At a conceptual level, I think this is really interesting and worth looking into.  It makes a ton of sense and no matter what we end up doing for our church, this is a website that I’ll be keeping my eye on.  I definitely want to thank Steven Weddle for taking the time to tell me more about his site and how we might be able to use it.  If you end up giving it a try for your youth group, please report back and let me know how it works for you and I’ll do the same.

    Updated article originally published on 27/03/2013


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Christianity

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    bake-saleMission trips are an exciting way to learn about other cultures, offer aid to those in need and share the message of Christ. Even if your trip is a domestic one, you’re sure to encounter people from all walks of life, some of which are far different from your own. Unfortunately, these missions of goodwill and assistance do cost money. From travel and daily expenses to funding the assistance programs you’re planning to organize, there are a variety of expenditures that your group will be faced with covering over the course of your mission trip. To help raise money for these expenses, consider the following ideas.

    Hold a Bake Sale

    There’s a reason why bake sales are an old standby in the world of fundraising: they work! In addition to raising money, pooling your resources, time and effort to churn out baked goods for a bake sale is a great team-building exercise, and can help you to foster a sense of teamwork amongst participants in your mission group before you ever leave home. If there are skilled bakers within your congregation, they may also be willing to donate time or food items to support your cause.

    Consider Crowd-Sourcing

    Everything from albums to novels are funded through crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter these days, which can be of great use to mission trip organizers. Drafting a thorough proposal and sharing the link to your chosen crowd-sourcing collections site through social media, blogs and email can even help your cause to go viral, getting the attention and donations of people that would ordinarily be far out of your reach. Be sure that you carefully read the terms of use and all the fine print, though, since every crowd-sourcing site works differently.

    Send Out Fundraising Letters

    Writing professional letters of solicitation to be sent out to members of your congregation or faith group can garner donations from those who would love to help, but aren’t quite tech-savvy enough to manage crowd-sourcing sites or navigate social media. Your own church directory is a great source for mailing list information, especially if you’re part of a very large congregation. While you can print out address labels that will make the work of preparing snail-mail much less time-consuming, hosting an envelope-stuffing party where every member of your mission trip pitches in to stamp, stuff and address mailers is another way of working team-building exercises into the fundraising process. Remember, it’s never too early to start building the bonds of teamwork and partnership.

    Look for Business Sponsorships

    Some businesses, especially those that proudly advertise their faith-based approach to business, may be willing to sponsor your mission trip for advertising or tax purposes. Don’t be afraid to send polite letters of inquiry to local business owners that share your faith, as business sponsorships can be quite hefty and can make all the difference in your fundraising efforts.

    Make Inquiries Regarding Church Support

    If your mission trip is officially sanctioned by the clergy and elders of your church, they’ll almost certainly be willing to either provide donations or hold a special collections ceremony to help fund the trip. Speaking with your pastor about the options available to you may open more doors than you ever realized, and could help you expand your mission trip far beyond your original intentions. Working closely with church leadership is essential if you’ll be representing your congregation to the rest of the world, especially if there’s any chance of media attention.

    Hold a Car Wash

    There’s something about a car wash that tends to pull in even those that aren’t affiliated with your church. You will need to look into obtaining any necessary permits before setting up shop on a busy street corner, but high-traffic areas can yield big results. Unless you live in an area that’s warm year-round, however, car wash fundraising efforts are really only effective in the spring and summer months.

    In addition to these ideas, there’s also something to be said for good, old-fashioned brainstorming sessions. Gather your missions group together to discuss everyone’s ideas for raising money. When you make a collective effort to think outside the box, there’s no telling what you’ll come up with!

    Updated article originally published on 17/03/2013


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Catch All

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    forgetfulFrom remembering where you put your keys to keeping a mental note of your grocery list without leaving an item out, it’s not always easy to remember the details of everyday life in such a hectic, fast-paced world. Some people tend to be more forgetful than others, though, potentially causing stress and anxiety when important tasks and items fall to the wayside. These seven pointers can help you remember details, both important and trivial, and get out of the stressful loop that is forgetfulness.

    • Get Organized – If your forgetfulness manifests itself through an inability to keep up with things, you may be suffering more from a lack of organization than a lack of memory. Find a home for your keys, wallet, phone and other important items, and put them back in that dedicated place every time you put them away. You may not remember that you tossed your keys on the kitchen table, your phone on the nightstand and left your wallet in yesterday’s pants because the items are so scattered. If they’re all in a dedicated place when you need them, you won’t find yourself scrambling to round them up on your way out the door.
    • Put Your Smartphone to Work for You – Set alarms to remind you of time-sensitive tasks, put calendar apps to good use, find a to-do list app that you like and get committed to using it. The mobile device in your pocket can be a powerful tool for keeping you on top of important events and due dates, and most people tend to sorely under-use these features. You can also install brain-training games and apps that actively improve brain function and short term memory while you’re waiting in line, in waiting rooms and using mass transit to commute to and from work.
    • Slow Your Multi-Tasking Roll – If you try to manage too many tasks, some things are sure to fall to the wayside. Try to slow down, and take on only the number of tasks you can easily accomplish at one time. You’ll probably find that, when you’re able to concentrate fully, the quality of your work and productivity improve right alongside your memory.
    • Take Notes and Make Lists – Some people find it easier to get everything done and keep track of everything they need to remember by taking notes of important events and making detailed to-do lists. In addition to having a written record of everything you need to do, you’ll also have the satisfaction of crossing each thing off of your list as it’s completed.
    • Set Up Triggers – Set yourself up for memory success by leaving trigger clues to remind you of the things you need to do. If you’re trying to remember to bring a change of clothes to work so you can hit the gym on your way home, set them on top of your briefcase. Leave a laundry basket in the kitchen so you will be reminded to move the wet clothes from the washing machine into the dryer while you’re prepping for dinner. Leaving this trail of breadcrumbs will keep visual reminders around you, helping you to remember what you’re doing and when it needs to be done.
    • Use Names After Introductions – Few things are as embarrassing in a social situation as forgetting the name of someone you’ve already been introduced to. Help your brain retain the names of people you meet by making a point of using their names soon after the introduction. Instead of saying, “Nice to meet you,” make a habit of saying, “Nice to meet you, Jane.” You’ll cement their name into your memory through speaking it out loud, reducing the likelihood of your forgetting it later.
    • Ask for Reminders – Asking friends and family members to remind you of important details not only gives you the help you need, but may even help you to remember the task yourself because you’ve made a point of acknowledging it and speaking it out loud. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner, children or friends to remind you of important dates, upcoming events or tasks you need to complete. Most people will be happy to help you, and you may find that you don’t need their assistance after all because you’ve made a point of acknowledging the situation.

    Updated article originally published on 20/08/2013


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Catch All

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    reunionWhen that invitation to a high school reunion shows up, your first instinct may be to toss it in the trash. After all, adolescence is usually an awkward time that most people would rather forget rather than reminisce about. While many people will say that high school was the best time of their lives, this isn’t always true for everyone. Still, there are plenty of reasons why attending your high school reunion is a good idea. These are ten of the reasons why you might want to think twice before you chuck that invitation into the garbage can.

    1. To Reconnect With Old Friends – Remember the best friend that you talked to for hours every night on the telephone and swore you’d never grow apart from? Unless you’re one of the lucky few, chances are that you haven’t seen one another in years and may even have lost touch altogether. Few events offer the opportunity to reconnect with people that were once important to you like a high school reunion, and you may never see them again if you skip the event.
    2. Because You’ve Changed Dramatically – If you’ve lost a ton of weight or were the ugly duckling that became a swan in college or later in life, there’s something very satisfying about showing up to your high school reunion to flaunt those changes. Poise and confidence often come with age, so you can navigate your reunion much more easily than the halls of your high school.
    3. To Come to Terms With Aging – Seeing new fine lines and more gray hair isn’t easy to deal with for most people. When you arrive at your reunion and realize that everyone is getting older, it can make the experience feel less isolating and help you come to terms with the fact that aging is an inevitable part of life.
    4. Because Living Well is the Best Revenge – High school can be rough, especially for kids that don’t quite fit the mold. If you suffered through high school and have since built a wonderful, rewarding life for yourself despite the bad experiences, showing off your success to the people that treated you badly can be quite vindicating.
    5. To Network – Networking is so important in some fields that there are entire social websites built solely around the premise of helping people to network on a professional level. Attending your high school reunion can be a great experience, but it may also afford you some networking opportunities that you would otherwise miss out on.
    6. To Reminisce – Some people suffer through high school, but there are also those that reveled in the experience. Looking back at your high school career and sharing a few laughs with the people that were by your side for all of those great times can be very rewarding.
    7. To Show Your Spouse Where You Came From – Attending your high school reunion with your spouse is a great way to share a part of your formative years. You can tour your hometown, introduce old friends and share stories that you’d forgotten all about, helping you forge an even stronger bond.  Of course unless you are one of the luckiest people in the world and still married to your high school sweetheart (which is even more of a cause to celebrate with mutual friends)!
    8. To Party Like It’s 1988… Or Something – When careers and kids come along, opportunities to let your hair down can be few and far between. Your high school reunion will give you the chance to dance the night away. Rather than sharing the dance floor with a crowd of college kids at a nightclub, you’ll be surrounded by people your own age rocking out to songs you haven’t heard in years.
    9. To Satisfy Your Curiosity – If you’ve ever wondered where people ended up and what they have done with their lives this is your chance to find out.  Whether it is the motor head that constantly tinkered with his cool car or the nerd that always raised his hand to answer the teacher’s questions, it’s fun to see what became of them.
    10. Because Wall Posts Aren’t Real Conversations – Seeing pictures and FaceBook status updates from your old friends or even sending a few messages back and forth just isn’t the same as seeing them in the flesh and catching up. As hard as it may be to believe, some people don’t even maintain social networking accounts. If you haven’t seen your high school friends since graduation, there’s no better place to catch up than the spot where you all went your separate ways.

    Updated article originally published on 29/04/2013

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