You may have read in my posts over the last month that recently I spent four days at the New Jersey shore as one of 40 women who went to support tourism there after Superstorm Sandy. It was a trip that I will remember for many years to come.
Upon returning I realized that there are multiple stories to be told from this event. The first, not surprisingly, is that the New Jersey shore is open and very ready for its summer tourism season. In fact, the beaches, restaurants, attractions and all the charm of the New Jersey shores are as ready for visitors now as they have been in summers past.
And then there is story number two, which is that many of the area’s residents are still reeling from the effects of Sandy. Though this may sound like a bit of a contradiction, it is very much the truth. New Jerseyans know well that summer tourism is a most important time of the year for the state and for many who make their living from summer tourism. Officials and volunteers did a tremendous job in getting the New Jersey shore ready in time for beach season. Yet in several areas, families are still displaced from their homes as they wait for paperwork to be filed and insurance disputes to be resolved. In many cases the funds they received were not nearly enough to rebuild.
Along with trip sponsor D6 Sports, we had the pleasure of making a $5000 donation to the Belmar Relief and Recovery Foundation. If you would like to help, donations can still be made to displaced families by visiting Belmar.com.
The third story to come out of the Jersey Love trip is about the compelling power of moms in social media. Now typically I am in the camp of women bloggers who deplore the term “mommy blogger” with every fiber of our beings. Yet there is something undeniable about motherhood that endows us with the empathy, strength and determination to put an event such as this one into play. There is a definitive reason why so many mothers are successful at this social media gig and it is nothing to do with having a uterus. It has to do with having a voice.
Social media is the fastest, most dominant way to push out information and make an impact both on and offline. Using the hashtag #JerseyLove, the 40 of us shared our experiences via our social media platforms. As of last week, we collectively reached more than five million people and generated more than 80 million impressions on Twitter with over 6,000 tweets and more than 3,000 Instagram images. That does not even account for Facebook, Pinterest and other social platforms. Since then, there have been thousands, if not millions of additional impressions via blog posts that were written after the event and news outlets that picked up the story.
Ben Young of sponsor D6 Sports said that, “The event was fantastic, and the reach was incredible. It’s amazing how social media can bring necessary attention to important causes.”
Though several of the women were somewhat local to the shore, others came by car from North Carolina or flew in from as far as California. And while we had a terrific time sharing this experience together, all 40 women ultimately did it for good. What aspect of social media could be more powerful than that?
“There are women who make things better… simply by showing up. There are women who make things happen. There are women who make their way. There are women who make a difference. And women who make us smile. There are women of wit and wisdom who- through strength and courage- make it through. There are women who change the world everyday… Women like you.”
― Ashley Rice, Author
Many, many thanks to D6 Sports and Caesar’s Entertainment as well as all the other sponsors who made this amazing trip possible. While we had wonderful sponsors for this trip, we also paid to attend and received no monetary compensation for our time. Photo credit, kudos and much love goes to: Sherry of Super Exhausted, Rita of Pui Pui Photography and Amyrah of 4 Hats and Frugal.