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Everyone at Jack's is finding it hard to believe that our third annual #JCBC2017 at CHS field is already upon us! Mark your calendar for September 24th!

When we started the fundraiser in 2015 we never dreamed we'd raise $25,000 in our second year and have a goal of over $37,000 this year.

We're often asked, why a bags competition? Those in the event planning business tell us they're complicated and they require a lot more planning and have a lot more moving parts that your typical walk or gala. Plus when we started planning our first one three years ago no one had ever done it on the scale that we were after. We struggled to even find enough board sets from all the rental companies in the twin cities to pull the event off.

You see, we don't have anything against walks, or gala like fundraisers. They're effective. But our founders never get particularly excited about going to them. When we were brainstorming the concept for our first fundraiser, we asked ourselves, what kind of fundraiser could we get excited about? The way we see it, if we can't get excited about doing something how can we expect our sponsors or our volunteers to?

So we asked ourselves - what do we get excited about doing? Being outside in the awesome Minnesota weather, competing, enjoying a local craft beer with our friends were just a few of the key ideas that emerged.

So when the idea of putting on a bean bag competition in a beautiful outdoor stadium hit us - we knew we were onto something!

Of course we were worried about doing something that had never having done, nor being able to find anyone else who had done it to learn from. But heck, especially in our first year, nothing that we do had ever been done. In 2015 when we had to start making financial commitments to the venue and to the vendors - we didn't have any sponsors. We lived with a very real risk that we'd end up owing more than we were able to raise. If we said that we didn't lose any sleep over that - we'd be lying. And our presenting sponsor again this year, Gardner Builders, was the group that came along in our first year and took a big chance on us. When they signed on we knew we'd at least break even which was a huge relief for us.

One of the biggest success stories from our first year was how many of our community partners joined us for the event. Angel foundation who helped us get started came, Gilda's Club came too, Firefly Sisterhood, MOCA, and many others. We thought it might be a challenge to pull the local cancer community together. But they joined us eagerly! And they showed up the second year in even bigger and better fashion!

These days we get calls from other charities who want to use our bean bag boards, they want to pick our brains in an effort to do what we're doing. And we eagerly help them. We love sharing what we've learned with our community. If we can share an idea with a community partner and it helps them raise more money or put on a more effective program - we absolutely love that idea!

We're certain that #JCBC2017 will be a breakthrough year. Our dedicated volunteer team, led by our event chair Rachael Oelke, has been pouring their hearts and their nights and weekends into the planning for months. They're bringing much of the same fun from 2016, but even more of everything that's awesome - more bags teams, more activities, more community partners, more innovative ideas being put into action!

Our ultimate goal for #JCBC every year is for it to be a shining example of the innovative and collaborative culture we foster at Jack's. Innovating and collaborating are the primary principles we adhere to as we strive to deliver world-class hospitality to men that are cancer caregivers.

You see, we believe that the twin cities cancer support community, as rich and as strong as it is - needs to not only start thinking differently, it needs to start acting differently. It needs to get richer, it needs to get stronger. It needs to start taking more risk, innovating more, collaborating more, and having more fun! That's exactly what #JCBC2017 will be all about!