The Art of Great Storytelling

The journalist in me will never die; I’m always looking for a great story to tell, but sometimes, I look so hard that I almost miss it.

The Muskegon Rescue Mission just completed its second annual ForeShore Adventure Run; with 20+ obstacles at Pere Marquette Beach, the event raises much needed funds for homeless shelters and food pantries. The event’s tagline — “Overcome life’s obstacles” — is perfectly fitting for the people the rescue mission serves, and for the people who participated in the ForeShore run.

I’m a member of the event’s volunteer marketing committee, which includes several of my buds from the old Muskegon Chronicle days: Dan Skoglund, Kevin Kyser, Jim Boes, and Melissa Blackmer. Our skills perfectly complement each other and it’s a blast to serve with them.

On race day, I hung out at the start/finish line looking for video testimonials to help promote next year’s event (shameless plug: May 20, 2017 at Pere Marquette Beach. Buy your tickets here). With tunnel vision, I interviewed participants about their run times, favorite obstacles, and whether they would run it again next year.

Before every group started the race, Kevin Newton, executive director of the Muskegon Rescue Mission, shared the organization’s backstory. It’s a story that I had heard several times over the past year, and I admit, I kind of glazed past it the first few times Kevin shared it over the megaphone.

Thankfully, it hit me. That’s the story I’m looking for.

That’s the story people need to hear — the fact that the rescue mission helps people when they are hungry, hurting, and running out of hope. The vignettes he shared placed the spotlight on the mission behind the event.

Every marketing campaign should start with a great story. The Muskegon Rescue Mission’s story is inspiring and beyond great; I hope the video I produced does that story justice.

While runners view the video on Facebook to see if they made the cut — at the time this blog was published, the view count was around 2,000 — it’s my hope that they hear Kevin’s story, and realize how thankful we all are that they participated in the ForeShore Adventure Run. Ticket sales directly help to buy food and pay the bills at the homeless shelters for women, children, and men of all ages.

Thank God for the rescue mission; and for everyone who supports it, including the 500+ people from across Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois who ran the ForeShore Adventure Run last weekend.



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