In early 2021, with COVID-19 still top of mind, we knew that our partnership with United Rentals and THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP might look a little different this year. When planning began, the team at THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP and United Rentals were unanimous in their decision to carry on with the tradition of honoring expectant military families based in or around Jacksonville, Florida. Several ideas were brought to the table but ultimately the concept of hosting a drive-in movie/baby shower won. What is a drive-in baby shower? Think, drive-in movie, mixed with an episode of Oprah’s Favorite Things! There are games, messages from event sponsors, a celebrity pop-in or two, and of course, prizes! After rave reviews from all involved, the drive-in shower, aptly named “A Star is Born”, was a box office hit!
Forty military moms-to-be were honored at the event. We invited moms to bring a friend to enjoy the event. Volunteers holding signs of supportive messages lined the roads leading moms to the registration table. At their first stop, moms were greeted by THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP team and they were given a gift bag filled with treats to enjoy throughout the day. Photographer, NS Photobook was on-site to help capture all of the fun as moms made their way through the parking lot. At another stop, moms and guests were given boxed lunches, catered by Firehouse Subs before finding their assigned parking space to enjoy the movie.
OptumServe was the Executive Production Sponsor which gave us the resources needed in order to transform the clubhouse parking lot at the TPC Sawgrass into a drive-in movie. Moms and guests were given a radio station where they could tune-in to hear the shower audio. The movie was a showcase of recorded video messages from sponsors, special guests, and 2 Pixar Short Films, “Piper” and “Partly Cloudy.” HLN Anchor, Lynn Smith, kicked-off the festivities, followed by Operation Shower’s Founder, LeAnn Morrissey, OptumServe Chief Executive Officer, Patty Horoho, and PGA Tour Player Professional, Jim Furyk. Later in the program, moms heard from PGA TOUR WIVES, Francie Kaufman and Amanda Hadley, Actress and Producer, Melissa Joan Hart, Lifestyle Blogger, Elisha Beach, and Operation Shower’s Chief Creative Officer, Amy Belle Isle.
Between Pixar shorts and video messages, moms played several fun games for a chance to win some great prizes for their babies. Additionally, the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation sent each mom the sweetest baby outfits sets, complete with mini Converse shoes. OptumServe gave an assortment of newborn healthcare items, and United Healthcare provided books and plush toys.
Of course, it’s not an Operation Shower without our signature “Shower in a Box”and these boxes were filled to the brim with gifts! Each mom left with a full trunk when our incredible Supporting Sponsor, Chicco gave each mom a Chicco Close to You baby carrier, a Pocket Snack Booster Seat, a Chicco Lullago Travel Crib, and a Chicco Travel system!
The event was outside but that didn’t diminish the attention to detail. Balloons from Balloon and Event Construction served as sweet bookends neatly framing the big screen, and several theatre inspired decor elements helped tie it all together.
On the way out, moms were handed gorgeous bouquets courtesy of Simply Florals by Amanda while volunteers loaded each car with all of their gifts. While this year’s event was different from years past, it was still an unforgettable day. Moms still heard messages of gratitude from those involved. We were able to celebrate in a safe and comfortable manner, and we know that each mom left with full trunks and joyful hearts thanks to all of the people who helped roll out the red carpet for these extra special moms.
Special thanks also to AVL Productions for their fantastic work running our audio visual. Thank you to Firehouse Subs for donating delicious lunches for our event attendees. Last but not least, thanks to all of the incredible volunteers who helped make this event possible!