Resorting to some unorthodox vandalism and fundraising tactics, a band of local teenagers from a church in Goleta scattered flocks of 15 pink plastic lawn flamingos in the yards of church members – then charged the members for their removal.
From March 14 to April 2, the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church’s youth group struck over 130 homes, raising a total of $2,000. The group, comprised of 15- to 19-year-olds, charged members of the church $10 to “flamingo flock” any house of their choice. A note was left at each house that was hit, giving the owners the chance to retaliate; first by paying a $5 charge to remove the flamingos and then by paying an additional $15 charge to flock someone else.
To avoid being “flamingo flocked,” members of the church were able to purchase flamingo flocking insurance that cost $25 for one week’s protection and $40 for two weeks’ protection.
“Flamingo flocking is an adult form of [toilet papering],” said Lynne Jeffop, who organized the event. “The adults enjoyed it the most because the plastic flamingos have been around forever and reminded them of their own childhood.”
Jeffop said the church was overcome with flamingo frenzy, and the flocking even extended to non-church members in the community.
“Some people got a little out of control,” she said. “We had one lady that paid to flock every house on her street.”
The three-week fundraiser was so successful that the pink flamingos will be sold at the church after Easter service for $5 apiece. Jeffop said she expects to raise a total of approximately $2,500.
“The kids were calling me ‘Mother Flocker,’ and I told them they needed to be careful,” Jeffop said. “After all, this was a church-sponsored event.”
The flamingo flocking was one of many other fundraisers the church has held to raise the $25,000 needed for a national youth gathering in Orlando, Fla. Nineteen kids from the church’s youth group plan to attend the conference which, including travel and accommodation fees, costs $1,200 per child. The church estimates that it will need to hold five more fundraisers to reach the $25,000 goal.
For their next fundraiser, the church is planning a “Bad Movie Night,” where the congregation will screen three “awful” movies, Jeffop said. Admission to the event is free, but audience members must pay to leave the movie early. Those who are able to sit through the entire movie will be the only ones worthy of the free admission, but Jeffop declined to state which movies would be shown.
The Santa Barbara News-Press printed a picture showing a flamingo flocking, Jeffop said, but accidentally misprinted the church’s name, which was later corrected.
“We wanted to flamingo flock the News-Press because of the mistake,” she said. “After they insulted us, we thought they deserved the flocking.”