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Pinking becomes fundraising fun for GHS volleyball
July 22, 2016 Frank Marquez   

Read more by Frank Marquez

Members of the Gering High School volleyball team Elli Winkler, Paige Lopez and Carlee Brester collect plastic pink flamingos from yards around Gering, then place them in the next yard on their list as part of a team fundraiser called Pinking. Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen

The teen girls moved as though on some sort of secret mission, quickly and quietly.

Carlee Brester, Elli Winkler and Paige Lopez worked as a team to haul in the seven pink flamingos, dusting them off, ready to deposit them in the next yard on their list, while Carlee’s mom Angie drove them around in a black SUV through the neighborhoods of Gering near Northfield Elementary.

The group was one of two teams with 10 girls total working the evening shift on Wednesday. Altogether, there are about 20 girls on the Gering volleyball team, who in the next four weeks, will be out creatively raising money for the upcoming 2016-2017 season.

The act is called Pinking. What else?

The girls placed the brightly colored plastic birds in yards throughout Gering, and sometimes Scottsbluff. The obnoxious inanimate long-necked beasts, which detract from the normal color of the summer flora and fauna, act effectively enough to get the attention of a homeowner, who then pays $10 at minimum to have them removed. That resident then recommends a fellow neighbor, the next victim.

The fundraiser was started by the parents of seniors on the volleyball team six years ago. This year Eric Conn, father of two of this year’s seniors, twins Courtney and Mariah, leads the Pinking efforts among parents.

Aside from artfully arranging the flamingos, the girls also deposit a notice to residents in their mailbox which says:

“Congratulations, you’ve been Pinked. Don’t despair. This a fundraiser by the Gering Volleyball Team. A friend of yours paid us to place these pink darlings (in pink lettering) in your yard. This pinking is carried out in good spirits, and is not meant to be mean. Please call or text the number listed below for a minimum of $10 donation to Gering Volleyball. We will pick up the pink beauties, and you can choose the next flock’s recipient.”

Eric said, he heard one resident was generous enough to give $100. With seven flamingos per yard and 10 yards per night, the team, which started the fundraising project on July 17, Sunday, so far have collected nearly $300. At this rate, the team might be on course to collect $2,000. The much needed funds go toward paying for equipment, uniforms, tournament fees, camps, and meals during road trips.

According to Eric, the team has been known to cross the North Platte River, planting the ornaments into the lawns of their Scottsbluff rivals. But there’s risk involved. Not all flamingos make it safely back to the Gering High School gym. “We saw one of them in the stands at a Scottsbluff-Gering volleyball match,” Eric said.

For more information about Gering volleyball fundraiser, call Eric Conn at 308-641-4591.

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