All I could think about was the TV show Friday Night Lights as I arrived at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, NY. The location is a sprawling sports complex and reminded me of my high school football days. This was my first time volunteering as a Nothing But Nets champion at a Cotopaxi Questival. I was immediately interested in pitching in when I learned that Cotopaxi and Nothing But Nets have teamed up to educate and fundraise with the goal of defeating malaria for good.
Upon arrival to the Cotopaxi Questival, I immediately noticed the fair food scents, obstacle courses, stage, and Cotopaxi popup shops. Yet in the distance I saw a couple bed nets swaying in the wind. After checking in with the amazing Cotopaxi team – Seth and Flip – I was escorted to the Nothing But Nets tent alongside another Nothing But Nets champion, Fabiola Jean. Together, we engaged hundreds of Cotopaxi Questival participants about the fundraising and advocacy work we’re doing with Nothing But Nets. In my line of business, we call this a “Table/Demo Day,” so I was very much in my element.
The most surprising part of my experience was realizing that the vast majority of people were learning about malaria for the first time. Because Cotopaxi is a “B corporation” a core component of its business model is focused on using the power of business as a force for social good. As a result, all Cotopaxi Questival participants provide a donation to Nothing But Nets and learned about our work firsthand at a booth.
At first our booth was packed with people, because at Cotopaxi Questivals participants need to film a video about Nothing But Nets as part of the overall challenge. But even after the filmed the required video, a vast number of participants were interested in learning much more. I spoke to nearly 200 individuals, many of whom donated on the spot and personally thanked me for participating to help raise awareness about malaria. It was helpful to have a bed net present so attendees could have a tangible understanding of what their donations would yield and how effective this tool is at mitigating the spread of malaria. The beauty of what Cotopaxi represents is a carefree, outdoors and adventurous lifestyle, so the idea of stagnant water accompanied by mosquitoes swarming that become deadly at night truly resonated with them. Attendees were also surprised to learn that pregnant women and children under the age of five are the most vulnerable to malaria.
It was truly a rewarding feeling knowing that within three hours I was able to enhance the lives of others by increasing awareness about a deadly but preventable disease. I hope other Nothing But Nets champions check out the Cotopaxi Questival page here and take the opportunity attend this active and philanthropic event.