24 Hour ‘Boat Cruise fundraiser sets sights higher than ever | SteamboatToday.com

24 Hour ‘Boat Cruise fundraiser sets sights higher than ever

Teams kicked off the 24 Hour Boat Cruise, a fundraiser for Integrated Community challenges teams of cyclists to complete as many laps of the course as possible. The 24 Hour Boat Cruise is back from August 26 to 27 to raise money for Integrated Community's Learning Boxes.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The 24 Hour ‘Boat Cruise is in its sixth year, running from 4 p.m. Aug. 26 to 4 p.m. Aug. 27.

Ali Givnish dreamt up this cycling event years ago and strives to ensure it gets bigger and better as time goes on. 

“I thought it would be kind of fun and funny to make a 24-hour event around a sport that is very not extreme, but that would just make it more accessible so that anybody can show up and join and ride a couple laps,” Givnish said. 

The goal for the event, as it is every year, is to raise money for Integrated Community, an organization designed to assist immigrants and their families to become self-sufficient and able to contribute to the community of Northwest Colorado. 

This year, the money will help fund Integrated Community’s new Learning Box program.

A Learning Box is a package that helps at-home child care providers grow as educators by making teaching easier. Each Learning Box costs $1,000 to create, restock and support administration. The ultimate goal is to raise enough for 100 Learning Boxes. 

To reach that goal, the event would need to raise $100,000, and though it is a lofty aim, Givnish said it is better to set their sights high and strive for success. 

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The event has continued to climb the ladder every year, shattering its totals from the previous year and collecting money for a good cause. In its first five years, the Boat Cruise has raised over $150,000 with a minimal investment.

“It has just exploded,” Givnish said. “Our goal for fundraising in the first year was $3,500 and our goal for this year is $100,000, which is big. It’s a big goal, but we just knock it out of the park every year, and it’s really exciting to see.”

PJ Wharton, of Yampa Valley Bank, is dressed as Mr. Potato Head to begin the 24 Hour Boat Cruise.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

One strategy that helps boost fundraising is the competition aspect for all participants. Givnish has made it a game to see which teams can raise the most funds, and standings can be monitored on the donation page website. 

For every $1,000 that a team raises, they get one entry into a raffle for an Ikon Pass donated by Alterra. 

The majority of participants live in Steamboat and either have children or friends with children who would benefit in a major way from these Learning Boxes. 

“We have so many daycares that are closing in our town because of staff shortages and cost of commercial rent and all that kind of stuff, so the fact that they’re doing this is a pretty big boost to the community,” Givnish said. 

The event is still looking for more participants. Teams can consist of anywhere between one and six people, and each team is expected to raise at least $500, though most surpass that number. 

Participants are encouraged to come in costume and have fun with their ride.

It is largely a self-supported ride along a 12-mile course starting near Howelsen Lodge and taking participants all around Steamboat. This is the first year the event is based at Howelsen, and many will be camping there overnight. 

Yampa Valley Bank has sponsored it for the past two years, and according to Givnish, the bank has helped make the event more fun and draw more people in. The sponsorship has helped shed more light on the event and raise more funds. 

Registration and a link to donate can be found at Charity.PledgeIt.org/24HourBoatCruise.

“For me, it’s in my heart,” Givnish said. “If we make sure that everybody who comes to this community is in as good of shape as possible, it’s just going to benefit all of us in the long run. We’re struggling with finding and retaining employees, we’re struggling with housing, we struggle with child care, and Integrated Community addresses all of that.”

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