Category: Event Planning

It is probably counter intuitive that a city as large as Virginia Beach (over 450,000 in population) would still rely on volunteers, a fairly rural tradition, to provide emergency medical services.

But if you’re injured or sick in the resort city, the odds are an ambulance manned by regular citizens, well trained to administer life saving care, will arrive at the scene. Today more than a thousand men and women, ages 18 and up, answer the call, many “running” a weekly 12-hour shift that they incorporate into their otherwise busy work or family schedules.

Shouldn’t someone thank them for this sacrifice of their time and energy?

Our plan? A major one-day event called Rock the Squads! at Mount Trashmore where we invite all the volunteers and their families for a free catered lunch, a souvenir t-shirt, a customized challenge coin, a concert featuring a popular local band and an opportunity to be in a mass picture shot from a drone hovering over the crowd.

The result? Mayor Will Sessoms, who spoke on a megaphone to the crowd gathered on the mountain, was thrilled, encouraging us to do this again next year. The volunteers were equally enthusiastic, thanking us profusely for putting the event together. We were particularly proud, watching the paramedics with their parents, grandparents, spouses and children (and grandchildren) frolicking in the park, dancing to The Deloreans in their yellow Rock the Squads! t-shirts and wolfing down the chicken and barbecue. “It made us all feel like a big family,” said one volunteer. This day, all of us at RCG felt like part of that family too.

When the new Constitution Drive extension opened, Ripley Heatwole turned to RCG for a creative idea. Since pedestrians, bicyclists and cars would use the 400-foot bridge, we arranged for students of The Art Institute of Virginia Beach and local bicyclists to be the first to cross it. Instead of making the event solely about a photo op with a ribbon, we turned it into a media opportunity with real footage and excitement.

The kickoff to a venture doesn’t even have to involve ribbons at all. I know. It’s a lot to take in.

A few years back, contractors demolished the old Coliseum Mall and built the Peninsula Town Center in its place. The new shopping center needed an original public relations strategy to alert the community to its opening. RCG suggested putting a large countdown clock on the property to generate anticipation. At the grand opening event, we arranged for a former space program engineer from nearby NASA Langley Research Center, whose late wife was the Mayor of Hampton when Coliseum Mall opened in 1973, to lead the countdown to zero.

For the 15th anniversary of the Mission of Mercy (MOM), which has donated millions of dollars in free dental care, RCG came up with the idea of a celebratory (and tooth friendly!) “milk toast” to kick-off each MOM project throughout Virginia. The City of Suffolk, including Mayor Linda Johnson, was a partner in the inaugural event, along with representatives of the school system, police department, Obici Health Care Foundation, Virginia Health Care Foundation, Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community and local physicians. Each toast, from Tidewater to Northern Virginia, has generated its own local media attention and provided excellent social media and newsletter content.