Funny fundraising ideas with some wriggly friends
Worm Charming is one of those fundraisers that sounds a bit weird!
But actually it can prove to be a great fundraiser in its own right or a neat side attraction at any other fundraising event.
It's very simple. - A plot of land, usually a grass field or village green is divided up into small plots.
The participants then have to charm as many worms to the surface as possible in a set amount of time. The winner is the person who collects the most worms from their plot.
In the UK it's called worm charming. It started out as a quirky activity at Summer Fetes. Several villages claim to have invented it and as well as smaller local fundraisers, annual championships are held at different locations around England each claiming to be the original.
In America it's called worm grunting or sometimes worm gruntin' and comes from the tradition in some parts of the US of collecting and selling worms for fishing bait. There are even professional grunters!
In both cases it has been taken over by school PTA's and other charities always keen to find novel and funny fundraising ideas.
Basically worms are sensitive to sound vibrations and will come to the surface if their underground world is subjected to the right kind of noise. All competitors will have their own peculiar tools to help charm the worms. These will usually involve things to bang and thump the ground.
A very popular and traditional method is to insert a garden fork and bang the shaft with a stick so the tines vibrate in the ground.
In America the top "Grunters" prefer simply hitting a stick into the ground and whacking it with an iron bar or rubbing it with a blunt-toothed saw.
Many techniques will work. Half the fun will be to see what people come up with.
Organisers may like to provide a selection of tools for participants who did not come equipped for the challenge.
A large number of people (including excited children) carrying garden forks and other potentially sharp tools around before and after the event needs to be managed.
Competitors should be encouraged to bring tools in safe sacks or bags etc. A tool creche is also a good idea. Alternatively fence all the plots off and encourage people to put their charming tools on their plots prior to the start.
Worm charming makes a great spectacle and if you really go for it will attract a lot of people to your event. It can also makes a great centrepiece or side attraction for your Summer Fair.
Charge an entry fee. Most competitors will happily pay around £3.00 / $5.00 to take part.
Then follow the fundraisers mantra -
If you see a crowd sell them something!
Make sure you have all your other fete stalls, raffles, tombolas and refreshment stands in place. Make a real afternoon of it.
Don't forget some other funny fundraising ideas and activities for children. Painting worm pictures and making fabric worms from old material will add to the worm fun.
Worm decorations on cakes and cookies and Fat Worm Dogs (OK a bit like normal hot dogs but who's asking) all add to the days takings.
There are lots of easy ways to add your own "wormy ideas".
Holding a Worm Charming Event is great fun and can be profitable. Give it a go!
Worm charming is one of those funny fundraising ideas that seems to capture people's imagination. Check out these worm charmers in action: