ODA had a booth at the annual Long Beach Scuba Show, which is the largest gathering of scuba enthusiasts in California. We have been attendees for the last 8 years, only missing once during that stretch. Though we always have lots of people visit our booth, this year was exceptional.
This year Scott Cassel, commercial diver and explorer-film maker, was a featured speaker at several of the symposiums that are held in conference rooms just outside the main hall. Scott had a large booth given to him as a reward for his participation.
Scott and I have been friends for several years now, and when we were having lunch recently, I told him about how most people that attend the show don’t even know about the nonprofit booths, since they are not in the main entry way to the exhibits, and as a result, the majority of attendees don’t even stop by the booths.
Ranko Baylog is a huge fan of Ocean Defenders Alliance, and Ryan Moore, his nephew, attends Ridgecrest Middle School. The school grounds are on a hill overlooking the Palos Verdes coast...and this is right where ODA has done much our work over the last five years.
As Ranko and Ryan strategized and talked with Ryan's science teacher about allowing me to speak in his science class, one thing led to another and all of a sudden my talk at the school became a big event!
On April 11, 2010, ODA had our first major fundraiser, held at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd and Whale Wars fame was our featured speaker.
We were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response for tickets! We had to add additional seating on the outside of the auditorium to accommodate the extra 100 people that would not fit in the main room.