Jack’s Caregiver Coalition is an innovative Minnesota-based nonprofit dedicated to creating extraordinary experiences for male caregivers. KA is a sponsor of Jack’s Caregiver Bags Competition Sunday, September 27 from 3-6 p.m. at the spectacular CHS Field, with family-friendly events for all. Admission is free; and registration is required. For more information, go to Jack’s Caregiver Coalition Events page.
Jack’s Founder Kyle Woody talks about the organization and the event.
Q. What’s the idea behind Jack’s Caregiver Coalition? Who is this Jack guy, anyway?
Woody: Jack represents every man who provides and cares for a loved one with a serious ailment. We exist to serve the male caregiver. Our founders are all caregivers who came to realize that support systems for men in our position are profoundly lacking.
Q: Why is that?
Woody: It’s not that there aren’t great organizations out there that want to serve male caregivers. The problem is that male caregivers are not empowered to acknowledge they need help. There is no community optimized specifically for them. As men, who are naturally compelled to fix that which is broken, we decided to build one ourselves.
Q: Talk about the services Jack’s provides.
Woody: We think of ourselves as a hospitality company – we work hard to create great experiences for male caregivers. We also provide platforms for people to thank them for the amazing work they do. We also offer them help with small projects and financial counseling.
Q: So while Jack’s has a serious purpose, you’re also serious about having fun.
Woody: The single most important thing caregivers don’t do is have enough fun. Watching someone suffer everyday wears on you. The things you used to do for fun stop being fun, primarily because of the “fun-guilt” – you can’t stop thinking about your loved one who’s at home still suffering. Consider some of the men we’ve served; a guy who’s wife and daughter both have cancer. A guy who can’t leave his wife’s side for more than two hours because she can’t go to the bathroom without him. There are countless stories like these in our community. We help these men shake themselves of “fun-guilt” and realize that their mental health is the single most important prerequisite to being an effective caregiver.
Q. You’ve got your first big event coming up Sunday, Sept. 27 from 3-6 p.m. at the CHS Field! What will be going on?
Woody: The main event is a “bags competition”. If you’ve heard of cornhole – our tournament will be on an epic scale, playing on the field in a beautiful new stadium under the JumboTron! We’ll also have live music, a DJ, craft meat, craft beer, fishing accuracy contest, drones flying around, and tons of activities for kids. You’ll also get to experience “KnockerBall” – the best way I can describe that is you become a human bumper car! The whole thing will just be a hilarious good time!
Q: You’ve also clearly tapped into some great sponsors with a definite appeal to the male demographic. Talk about them.
Woody: Our sponsors are terrific! I think they love that we celebrate being men, and they see enormous potential. Brands like construction companies and vendors like Man-Cave Meats – they see that we can create a lot of synergy together. They also realize that many of their employees/clients could benefit from our services.
Q: Being a typical guy, I’m sure you’ve already mapped out your strategy for making the most of the event. What’s your advice to attendees to maximize their day?
Woody: Be sure to pre-register. Find a partner and sign up for the bags competition right away, we anticipate it will sell out quickly. Enjoy the phenomenal craft meat from Man-Cave and the craft beer from Summit, dance to the great music, and you must try the KnockerBall!
Q: What are Jack’s goals for the event? Are you trying to raise money, or awareness, or both?
Woody: We’d love to raise money but our priority is building awareness. Admission is free, lots of the people we serve don’t have the money to attend expensive fund raisers. So our approach is kind of like Como Park Zoo-style. On your way out, if you felt like you had a good time, and you believe in our mission – we’d be honored to receive your donation in any amount.
Q: Jack’s is still a very young organization. What’s next for the group?
Woody: Recruiting more leaders, both at the board level and also we need boots on the ground. Our current leadership is primarily 30-something year old men who have a wife with cancer and they have children. But that’s just one narrow slice of the male caregivers out there. What about younger men who are driving their mom to Mayo everyday for chemo therapy? What about older men? What about all the other chronic diseases other than cancer? That list is unfortunately is very long. We are looking for ambassadors to help us mobilize all of these male caregiver communities.
Q: For those who are interested in supporting Jack’s, or joining your network, what are the next steps?
Woody: Visit our website, call us at 612-547-6929, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
Woody: I always leave people with this idea…. Next time you hear about a friend or family member whose diagnosed with a serious disease – please ask, whose the primary caregiver? Male or female, please ask what you can do to support them. Even if it’s as simple as just giving them a pat on the back or just telling them how much you appreciate what they’re doing. Trust me that simple gesture will make an enormous impact on them.