Text EXPLORE to 843-940-8882...or read the blog first and then do it.
Sometimes I feel a little guilty as a Charlestonian transplant. It’s true. Our traffic is worse than it used to be. But how can you avoid falling in love with this place?
I came to Charleston to visit my grandfather 14 years ago this month. I promise, it was only supposed to be a weekend visit. But when I arrived, he suggested I move here. And after spending the weekend walking around downtown as a budding photographer, I was kind of hooked. Three months later, I was back with a U-Haul full of stuff, moving into an old downtown Charleston single home.
Old is good here. So, this old single home (circa 1800), like the rest of my new neighborhood, was gorgeous. I lived five blocks from the open-air city market and was surrounded by elegant architecture and incredible history. I was eager to learn all that I could about my new city and neighborhood. Even though it was outside my career field at the time, I happily took a job with one of the tour companies downtown and started accompanying tour guides (now fellow co-workers) on their hourly tours.
I went on at least ten tours my first week. While stories are great on their own, I’m a visual person. History wasn’t at all boring to me here because I could see it all around me in cobblestone streets, earthquake bolts on the side of Charleston homes, and cannon balls stuck in church steeples. I grew to have a vast appreciation not only for the beautiful city that I lived in, but the history and mystery that accompanied her.
Whenever friends or family came to town I wanted to share it with them. Then eventually friends started inviting me out to dinner when their parents came to town so I could give them an introduction to their own love-affair with historic Charleston.
Despite earthquake, fire, war, and time, much of Charleston’s history remains untouched in the buildings and streets downtown. To put it plainly, historic Charleston offers one of the best walking experiences in the country. So, when local nonprofit Camp Happy Days approached me about partnering to create a trivia hunt downtown, I wanted to do everything I could to make it happen.
Like Charleston, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Camp Happy Days and the work they do. Their mission is to offer support and encouragement to all children in South Carolina diagnosed with cancer and their families by providing cost free year-round programs, special events, and access to financial resources.
They run 14 programs a year including their flagship program, a week long camp in the summer for all the kids and their siblings. It is one of the few places where these young patients can go and just be kids for a while. They are surrounded by other children who understand what they have gone through and a supportive team of staff and volunteers that make camp the most carefree, fun place they can for a week. During camp, kids replace tests, hospitals, and waiting rooms with adventure, swimming, kayaking, tubing, rock climbing, arts and crafts, fun games, pinewood derby car races, musical performances, and even their own Prom - which a number of them have had to skip in the past due to cancer.
Camp, like their other offerings, is free of charge to families. The cost to run it is approximately $250,000, so CHD does a lot of fund raising throughout the year. The great thing about their traditional fundraisers is they get a lot of amazing businesses and locals involved and raise a good amount toward their programming. The possible down-side (if there ever is a down-side to fundraising) is that many of them are one-time events. When they are over, the fundraising often stops until the next event.
To approach fundraising in a new way, Traveling Ink has partnered with Camp Happy Days and a cool local tech company called GivBee to develop an ongoing fundraiser - a mobile interactive Trivia Hunt of the downtown area. People can sign up right from their phone for a one-hour or two-hour long Trivia Hunt of the historic district. When folks register, the first location and question are sent to their cell phone. When the guest answers the first trivia hunt question correctly, they are sent the clue for their next location. Guests go from one location to the next downtown discovering fun facts about this amazing city.
People who love scavenger hunts are going to love this, and they can be content in knowing that the proceeds from their hunt are going to support kids kickin’ the crud out of cancer. Hunts are only $12 and $18 for the one and two-hour hunts respectively (and one sign-up can cover a small group enjoying downtown). The individual investment is low, but the more people who go hunting downtown, the more it benefits these incredible kids.
I’ve partnered with some of the same tour guides I worked with years ago to include some really fun facts about the historic district, and you already know that doing this is going to make your heart happy. I’d encourage anyone who loves walking the streets of Charleston or wants to learn more about this incredible city to set aside some time after a visit to the Farmers’ Market, Sunday brunch, happy hour, or a slice of cake at Kaminsky’s downtown for a Trivia Hunt.
Ready to go? All you have to do is text the word EXPLORE to the number 843-940-8882 and pick which hunt you’d like to do. You’ll have a great time enjoying an amazing city, and you’ll be helping some even more amazing kids.
Audra Gibson is a Christian, photographer, surfer, and a lover of music and teriyaki steak bites. She doesn't like to be cold, and she's a bit of a cheese snob, but that's not her fault (she was raised in a gourmet cheese shop). Traveling Ink was her little brain child and she's very happy that you're here. She'd be oh so happy to recommend her favorite restaurant in town, take pictures of your family, or organize a night (or weekend) of fun for you.Website: www.audragibson.com