Jacksonville Residents Go "Over the Edge" for Boyscouts

by Ashley Choate
Typically, the word “fundraiser” conjures images of car washes and bake sales, door-to-door cookie solicitation, and even those little booklets with wrapping paper and tins of chocolate-covered popcorn. For Michael Moore of the Boy Scouts of America, those ideas were all just a little too . . . tame. Rappelling 450 ft. down the side of the EverBank building in downtown Jacksonville? Now, that’s more like it.
For the third year running, the Boy Scouts of America is offering Jacksonville residents the opportunity to rappel down the third tallest building in downtown if they can raise at least $1,000 apiece for the Boy Scouts North Florida Council. “It was just the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever had,” says Lori Liberatore, who will be participating for the second year in a row. “Getting over the edge was the scariest part of it, for me, but once you’re over it and you’re up there and looking at Jacksonville from a place where a lot of people don’t get it to see it from, it’s amazing.”
Liberatore was one of 98 participants in last year’s rappelling event, up from 60 participants the year before. According to Moore, this year’s goal is 150 rappellers, for a projected fundraising goal of over $150,000. The Over the Edge committee also plans to include a Family, Fun, and Fitness 5K run this year as well as vendor booths and bands for those who don’t want to brave the 450 ft. drop. Moore hopes the additional activities will expand the event’s appeal, drawing in more of the community and giving others a chance to become involved. “If we can get a couple hundred runners out and they have the opportunity to see this first hand, maybe next year they’ll sign up for it,” says Moore.
Despite fears to the contrary, “It couldn’t be more safe,” says Liberatore. Since no experience is required, all gear and safety components are managed by an outside company with almost 10 years of experience in helping non-profit organizations raise money through donations and daring. The company, aptly named Over the Edge, employs several Level II and Level III Rope Technicians who have extensive experience and are certified in safety procedures.
The event will take place May 16-18. Participants this year will include the CEO’s and COO’s of several major companies, the Jacksonville Sharks mascot, “Chum,” and many other individuals like Libertore. She got involved to honor the memory of her father and has now become a major organizer of the event.
For those who wish to be involved but have no interest in scaling down a 30-story building, there are even sponsorship opportunities. Moore and Liberatore, both part of the organizing council, are encouraging any potential sponsors to visit http://www.overtheedge-nfc.com. Companies can become event sponsors to receive tickets, recognition, additional prizes such as a Wine Tasting and team building activities, and rappelling spots for any brave employees. The Toss Your Boss option even allows playfully disgruntled employees to raise funds for their company leaders to take the plunge. Of course, individuals may also donate to any “Edgers” who have already signed-up. Still over $115,000 from their goal, all Edgers and organizers will need plenty of support over the next month.
All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Boy Scouts of America North Florida Council, which provides scouting programs for 18 counties. The funds will be used to offer scholarships for those in need of financial assistance, to offset uniform and travel costs, and to ensure that “any kid who wants to be in scouting and can’t afford to be in scouting . . . any of their needs they can’t afford, we supply assistance,” says Moore.