Marines race toward birthday goal
Submitted by: Marine Forces Pacific
Story Identification #: 2005627221038
Story by Cpl. J. Micah Plotts

Hawaii - (June 27, 2005) -- Every year, the small amount of enlisted Marines at U. S. Marine Forces Pacific work feverishly like a legion of ants, preparing for their annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball.

This year has been no exception. Summer days are spent emptying overflowing, ripe trash bags at the state fair. Mornings are spent hiding in the shade of the cars they're washing. Nights are spent grilling burgers for other barracks Marines.

June marks the first month of "crunch time." It's the Marines own proverbial playoff race; a time where they scurry to and fro earning small amounts of cash to make their ball more enjoyable.

The premise is simple. The more cash you earn, the cheaper the ball. Sure, they volunteer at the annual community events, but the concept of creativity must be embraced if they want to be successful.

Coming up with unique and legitimate ideas for lucrative fundraising events is a daunting task.

In the past, videogame tournaments, bake sales and other concepts have brought only minimal success. So what fresh ideas are brewing? Is there a plan in place?

"The sky's the limit. We want the ball this year to be free for sergeants and below," said Staff Sgt. Charmain C. Scott, ball committee vice-president.

Having the ball cost nothing for non-commissioned officers and junior Marines is a daunting task for the nine Marines who participate on a regular basis.

"We meet once week. Lately we've been meeting two or three times a week, throwing new ideas around and ensuring we have everything ready for upcoming fundraisers," said Scott, a MarForPac accounting analyst.

This small detail of Marines is responsible for every aspect of the ball, from hiring a disc jockey to finding a suitable hotel.

"This year we're going to have it downtown at the Ilikai. It's a nice hotel, and Marines can get a discount on rooms if they stay the night," Scott said.

But for that one night of celebrating the Marine Corps birthday, the Marines on the ball committee must sacrifice many nights for their brothers and sisters.

"It's a lot of hard work. Everyone wants a nice ball, but it's not that easy," Scott continued.

"We're always brainstorming and coming up with new fundraisers and ways to make money," Scott said.

Off base, the Marines work hard as well. For the past two years, the committee has volunteered to pick up trash at the state fair.

"Every week we have new ideas Marines give us. We're looking at having a poker tournament and a pool tournament soon," Scott said.

After a sound idea is born, Marines must apply logistics.

They must factor the cost of the event versus the total revenue. They also must decide what day and time would work best for maximum participation.

For now the Marines are plugging away at their goal. The next few months will be critical, and only time will tell if they reach it.