Soggy Bottoms Gals. It sounds like fun, and it is – and now, it’s for a great cause. “I recently met Tammy Evans when she came into the Community Foundation with a great donation for the Itasca Area Cancer Crisis Fund,” notes Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. “Tammy told me about how she and a bunch of friends get together and go tubing. They have a blast, and raise money to help local people who need to deal with all sorts of issues beyond just health because they have been diagnosed with cancer. Tammy and her friends should know. They work at Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital.”
“Approximately 15 years ago, shortly after my family acquired property on the river, four of my coworkers from Grand Itasca joined me to tube on the river. The five of us would set a date, plan a potluck, and float down the river. Each year, we added a few more tubers, and named it the Soggy Bottoms Gals River Float. A few years ago, we decided to each contribute a donation for a cancer fundraiser,” begins Tammy Evans. “The Soggy Bottoms Gals River Float is something we all look forward to each year. We have been rained out a few times, so this year, we planned an alternative date in case of bad weather. We are learning!
Tammy continues the adventure, “All of us were working in the Clinic when we started this, but about 7 years ago, I took a position in the Hospital. Pat Castle, Roxanne Solberg, Char Metzer, Kelly Rondeau and I decided to take a tubing trip down the Mississippi. We set out right next to Schoolcraft State Park.”
I asked if anyone could join in. I mean, look at the photos! Tammy replied, “Yes, anyone can join us! We now have outside friends, former coworkers, neighbors, - all different types of people. We just post the event at work. We also receive numerous responses from people when they see pictures from the float that someone has posted on Facebook.” Tammy tries to remember to invite them to the float the next year.
A Bunch of Women – A Bunch of Fun
“So far, the Soggy Bottoms Gals are just women,” notes Tammy. However, her husband does help with some of the logistical work by dropping them off and operating a pontoon boat. Once or twice, the flotilla has encountered issues with wind and currents, and it’s always good to have safety precautions in place.
Tammy adds, “This year, we had two other husbands (Cabana Boys) on the pontoon to help. They were very much needed because we had four truckloads and a huge trailer with tubes and tubers to drop off. We had one Cabana Boy on the River to drive the pontoon, and another to manage the coolers.” The Soggy Bottoms Gals have received numerous responses this year from males that want to go. They are thinking about it…
Support from Evans Electric and Deer River Tire and Auto
Speaking about how much fun the women had was great, and Tammy was so pleased with the good that comes from their tubing trip. “We had a great turnout and loads of fun with matching funds up to $400 dollars from Deer River Tire and Auto and Evans Electric!” The group doesn’t have a Facebook page, but you are welcome to contact any of the women to be included next year. Call the Community Foundation if you need contact information.
Chris Fulton, Executive Director of the Community Foundation asks, “What good do you want to do? There are all sorts of community members doing wonderful things to help people. If you want to connect with people or organizations doing good, give us a call. If you are interested in having a conversation about your passions and interests, stop in! We love to chat.”