Friday, 11 March 2011

Save Our Beach: OC tweetup

Recently, my wife MaryAnne was presented an opportunity to host a charity event in Irvine at Il Fornaio Restaurant, an upscale Italian chain. MaryAnne aka @maryannewendt on Twitter, used the opportunity to accomplish two goals: 1) raise funds for a worthy cause and 2.) host a tweetup gathering of well connected social media enthusiasts. As you might imagine, MaryAnne pinged her contacts on Twitter and Facebook asking any charities that would like to participate in a free catered event sponsored by Il Fornaio. Within minutes, @beachcleanup responded. “We’re interested!”

#SaveOurBeach #OCtweetup

Save Our Beach OC tweetup

The face behind @beachcleanup is Kim Masoner, Founder and Chief Everything Officer for the Save Our MaryAnne and I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Kim while preparing for the #SaveOurBeach #OCtweetup.

Kim Masoner Save Our Beach

Kim at Newport Pier

Kim started organizing beach cleanups while she worked for Surfline, a popular media company for surfers around the world. She received so much support and after the organization began making a real impact on local beaches, she quit her job to focus her full time volunteer efforts to take Save Our Beach to the next level. She has seen everything from cars to shopping carts to tires wash up on beaches. She mentioned some very touching stories. She once discovered a very large and very expensive diamond wedding ring protruding from the sand. She made some calls and visited a police station and miraculously found the jubilant owner six months after it was lost. Who does that? And she’s a Lakers fan. One volunteer picked up so many cigarette butts at a clean up that he became motivated to stop smoking after years of trying. Kim’s eyes light up when she talks about ways to prevent trash from showing up at beaches in the first place and what a great joy children have in helping out and learning a valuable trait at a young age– giving back to the community. Kim’s passion for clean beaches is infectious. Our family will try to attend a cleanup soon!

Hearing these stories motivated the Big Train team to do what we could to help sponsor the event by offering spiced chai, kona mocha blended ice coffee, and Shaken mango passion tea beverages. We also did what we could to spread the word through our social media pages and via PR channels. Kim organizes beach cleanups regularly serving several local beaches in Orange County. To participate or for more information go to or follow Kim on twitter @beachcleanup.

The tweetup was a great success! In all around 100 people showed up raising over $1,000 to support Save Our Beach.

“The funds will go to buy reusable trash bags, trash pickers, canopies and other supplies for beach cleanup efforts”, says Kim.

Kim also displayed some great environmentally friendly tips right next to Il Fornaios sampling of red and white wines.  Big Train’s shaken mango passion green tea seemed to be a hit. “I’m telling everybody” said’s Cindy Wang, after drinking her tenth mini cup of the tea. See her serving herself below:

Big Train Mix samples

Sampling Big Train beverages

@maryannewendt and crew

Priscilla, Tanya, MaryAnne, the Sippers, Debbie

Other sponsors included Deal Gooder donated amazing raffle prizes, including NHL tickets to see the Ducks vs. Kings. A Charm For Charity, Pat Hennessy who jammed acoustic versions of songs from classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. The Eco Hero Kids Foundation donated a signed Wyland lithograph which was sold via silent auction.

wyland save our beach

Proud winner of Wyland Piece

Hazel Q. (@YelpOC) came with Yelp goodies. Oculu video web hosting company donated Volcom gear. Sipper Photography donated a $200 gift certificate. GlitterfulFelt donated a Children’s Felt Story Board and Julie from OC Wine Mart donated a wine tasting gift card. Even Kim from Save Our Beach brought in raffle prizes donated by local businesses, including $100 Gift Certificate from South Coast Athletic Club, Glass Dharma glass straws and hemp cases, Aquarium of the Pacific Tickets, Vans Customs Shoes (you can design your own pair of shoes) and VIP Free Rental at Wheel Fun Rentals.

Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Friend / Social Good Today (@JeffreyFriend) and Bryan R. Thanks!

Blogger Kirsten Wright (@KirstenWright) of Wright Creativity took video & collected great Interesting Twitter tips from attendees.

Special thanks to MaryAnne whose tireless efforts raised a lot of awareness for Save Our Beach and for coordinating such a great and entertaining event. Special thanks to Calvin Lee (@mayhemstudios), the “Forbes Social Media marketing phenomenon” who came down from LA to participate.

Calvin Lee @mayhemstudios

Calvin Lee twittermaster rockin’ the     Big Train Visor

This great event wouldn’t have happened without the amazing gesture by Adrienne Sharar, manager at Il Fornaio. If you’re looking for white-glove service, gourmet Italian, inexpensive cooking lessons and wine tasting events, or catering, call Adrienne at Il Fornaio in Irvine at 949.261.1444.

It was sort of fitting to have an event at Il Fornaio. Twelve years ago, MaryAnne and I worked together at a nearby building. To give back to MaryAnne for supporting me at work I bought her a coffee at Il Foranio’s cafe. You could say this Il Fornaio was our first date. And as they say, the rest is history.

As a southern California native, having surfed up and down the coast, I have grown to respect and love our local beaches. Now our kids have developed an equal admiration. There’s something peaceful and tranquil about the ocean and the beach that makes you feel good. So it was a great honor to help support Kim Masoner and her Save Our Beach organization. The next time we build a sand castle sans trash, I’ll be thinking of Kim’s unselfish commitment to keeping our beaches clean.