Usually people ask HOW I got involved with Boot Campaign, HOW did it start. That’s easy. But sometimes I get the bigger question… WHY? Why did you start it? Why did you work like that knowing you wouldn’t get paid?
My first response is that if someone had told me Boot Campaign would get this big and grow this fast… I would NEVER have done it! Thank Gawd I didn’t know.
First of all, I didn’t start something, and it didn’t ever occur to me that I was a part of starting THIS. I was asked to help with an idea, which… heaven help me, is my kryptonite.
Second, the idea was to acknowledge people who were committed to serving others, but who were not always recognized or appreciated for their effort. That gets me EVERY time. Give me an opportunity to love on someone under appreciated? IN. Give me a chance to bring people together AND to love on someone. IN. Surround me with a team of friends smarter than me, and give me creative license to figure out HOW to bring them together. I’ll never quit. And we were off to the races.
I wanted to show people like me – people who have a sense of patriotism, but no way to express it – that we have found a way. I wanted our military to know that people like me, who aren’t traditionally interested politics, see them, and care for them, and we’re grateful.
We built Boot Campaign to do that – acknowledge and fertilize that feeling that stirs when you are at a ball game and thousands of independent strangers simultaneously stand, remove their hats, reach for their hearts, and sing every word to the same song. I always felt a strong sense of something, some connection, a oneness with the people around me, but I never thought about it outside of the moment. That feeling, I realized, is patriotism. And everyone else in the stadium participates, as patriots, without realizing it.
As Boot Campaign grew, I realized that we were building a neutral ground for people to show gratitude over something that gets politicized all too frequently for my taste. We were shedding light on patriotism without taking sides, and opening the door for pride in citizenship for people who love our country but don’t know a thing about our military.
And our actions speak louder than words. The togetherness of our anthem at a sports arena speaks louder than our politics and biases and issues. And I want to make sure that Boot Campaign continues to provide a safe place between the aisles, for patriotism. Straight Up. We are one.
Drop the discussion, come together, show love, lace up.
I’m Heather Sholl and I helped found Boot Campaign.
My why is love. My why is community.