We love spending time in the communities where we live and work by partnering with organizations that believe as strongly as we do in giving everyone an opportunity to succeed.  At the end of each summer, my local team in Seattle joins the Southwest Boys & Girls Club on their last day of summer camp for their annual Back to School Barbecue. 


It’s a great opportunity for our team to get out of the office and spend the day with some amazing kids. It’s also a great reminder of why getting involved in our communities is so important. 

Providing Opportunities

Too often, many kids in our communities don’t have the supplies they need to be successful in the classroom.  Leading up to the Back to School BBQ, we spend an afternoon putting together a collection of school supplies for each student so they have what they need for the upcoming school year. It seems like such a small thing, but it’s one less obstacle that will stand in the way of these kids doing well in school.


It’s a humbling experience to be beaten in tug-of-war by a team of 6-13 year-olds, but more importantly to see how grateful these kids are for something as simple as a bag of Cheetos or a piggy-back ride.  Paying it forward has a way of putting life into perspective. Some of the problems that we deal with on a daily basis seem small when we take the time to understand the challenges that some of these boys and girls have to face. 

Creating Memories

Can you remember the last time you played tag?  How about the last time you did a belly flop… on purpose? After an unforgettable belly flop by Bobby last year, it’s quickly become an annual tradition for the kids to choose one of our employees to do a belly flop off the dock at the end of the BBQ. This year happened to be my year and with over one hundred kids cheering me on, I ran down the dock and launched into a huge belly flop. That’s a moment I’ll never forget, and something tells me those kids won’t either. 

Time Well Spent

After enjoying a day of fun, games, and barbecue, we can only hope that we had as big of an impact on these kids as they have on us.  This is a day that I look forward to every summer; to set aside the phone calls and emails for an afternoon of paying it forward.

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