Reggie’s Sleepout, an event to raise money to address youth homelessness in the community, will start at 5 p.m. Friday and end at 6 a.m. Saturday at Cyclone Sports Complex at Iowa State, with parking located West of the facility.
Reggie’s Sleepout has been in Des Moines for 12 years, but in 2017 the event was brought to Ames and Iowa State.
The event has no entrance cost, but does accept donations.
“While there is no cost to participate in Reggie’s Sleepout, we do highly encourage campers to support the very important cause of ending youth homelessness by raising funds,” according to the Reggie’s Sleepout website.
Some incentives for donating include: Reggie’s Sleepout (RSO) Ames t-shirt, RSO Ames stocking hat, RSO Ames hooded sweatshirt, RSO Ames blanket and a RSO Ames 1/4 zip fleece.
The goal is to raise more than $150,000, but currently the website’s donation tracker is at $49,579.
The Emergency Residence Project (ERP), one of the organizations that this event supports, also accepts donations other than money, such as gas station cards, disposable razors and laundry soap. For a larger list go to www.amesshelter.org.
“[This event] is important because no one should be experiencing homelessness,” said Carrie Moser, executive director of ERP. “A lot of people are not aware of the youth and young people experiencing homelessness on an annual basis, so this event will raise awareness.”
Reggie’s Sleepout is in honor of Reggie Kelsey, a young man who aged out of the foster care system in 2001, and within three and a half months, was found dead in the Des Moines River.
According to the Reggie’s Sleepout website, Reggie had an endearing personality, but suffered from hallucinations and depression.
“Each year, 150-200 school-age children in Ames are considered homeless, with another 200 people under the age of 25 identified as at-risk or experiencing homeless served by local shelter programs,” according to the Reggie’s Sleepout website.
The schedule for this event is as follows:
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Walk-up registration will be available at Reggie’s Sleepout at the Cyclone Sports Complex.
For anyone under 18 years of age, parents or guardians must complete the minor consent form, which can be found at www.reggiessleepout.org. These forms will be required for minors to participate in Reggie’s Sleepout. Completed forms should be turned in at the registration table at Reggie’s Sleepout.
For youth groups participating in Reggie’s Sleepout, they must also be accompanied by a designated adult, one adult for every six minors, according to the Reggie’s Sleepout website.
In order to maintain security for the event, the gates will be closed at 10 p.m. If a participant leaves after 10 p.m., they will not be allowed back in. All campers and guests will be required to check in and wear an event wristband.
According to YSS, there are about 300 participants registered to attend.
Welcome to Reggie’s featuring the Iowa State Marching Band
7:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
During the kick-off participants will learn more about YSS, ACCESS and ERP while also learning about Reggie’s story.
A person who lived through homelessness as a youth will be sharing her story as well.
There will be an evening meal of pizza provided at no charge, along with water and hot chocolate. Snacks will be available throughout the event. No food or beverages, except water, are allowed on the field. Participants may bring an empty water bottle with them to keep filled during the event.
If a participant has a food allergy, they are asked to bring their own items to the food tent at the event where the event staff will store them until it is time to eat.
Reggie’s Sleepout is an alcohol-free event.
Entertainment during dinner will include an acapella group and a DJ.
Boxed In Contest
8:15 p.m. with the winner announcement at 9:00 p.m.
Participants can help educate and advocate for youth homelessness by creating a box structure that shares information, tells a story and gives hope.
Entries in the Boxed-In Contest will be evaluated on the criteria of the educational theme regarding homelessness, creativity, comfort and livability.
Participants are required to construct the shelter using acceptable materials only. Box designs using prohibited materials will not be allowed in the stadium. Any entry using unacceptable materials will be disqualified.
Acceptable materials include cardboard, paper, props, tape, string or rope, small staples, crayons, chalk and water-based markers, and battery-powered lighting may be used for effect.
Prohibited materials include paint, wood, permanent markers, large staples, glue and styrofoam.
These lists were created to respect the Iowa State University facilities.
For help finding large boxes, the Reggie’s Sleepout website suggests reaching out to area businesses that commonly have these larger boxes on hand, such as appliance stores, grocery stores, large electronic stores and furniture stores. Participants can also tape several boxes together to make a larger shelter.
8:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Entertainment will include comedian Toby Kid Klaunberg, a Simon Says game, a poetry slam and a band called Dudes in the Dark.
Reggie’s Got Talent
10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Reggie’s Got Talent is similar to America’s Got Talent wherein participants have a talent show, but at Reggie’s Sleepout the talent show is impromptu with no ahead planning by participants and the audience votes on who is the best.
Snack/Rock Paper Scissors
10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Participants are able to take part in a large rock paper scissors tournament where everyone in attendance will be against one another until there is one winner.
Participants may bring a cardboard box or structure, a small tent without stakes or they may use a sleeping bag.
The Reggie’s Sleepout website suggests bringing a tarp or layer of cardboard to put under your box, tent or sleeping bag and also not using a cot because it is colder to use a cot rather than sleeping on the ground. The website also suggests wearing a wool hat and socks at night as well as bringing extra sweatshirts, coats and blankets.
Those who don’t want to sleep can hang out in the food tent. Games, cards and crafts will be provided.
6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Breakfast snacks like doughnuts and coffee will be available to participants as they wake up and gather their belongings.
“This event is important for two reasons, the first reason is to raise awareness about youth homelessness in our community,” said Amy Hutter, director of marketing and communications for YSS. “The second is to raise funds to address that concern and need.”
The three agencies this event funds are YSS, ACCESS and ERP.
YSS is a state-wide organization that serves more than 4,000 children, youth and families annually through a comprehensive offering of prevention, treatment and transition programs. For more information go to: www.yss.org.
The mission of the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) is to address the roots and impact of domestic and sexual violence through services that enhance safety, empower survivors, and promote understanding and social justice within our community. For more information go to: www.assaultcarecenter.org.
The Emergency Residence Project (ERP) is an organization engaged in offering shelter and assistance to the homeless and to those facing homelessness, providing short-term emergency shelter to people experiencing homelessness, transitional living to families experiencing homelessness and emergency rental and utility assistance so people can stay in their homes. For more information go to: www.amesshelter.org.
“While nothing can truly replicate what it is like to be homeless, Reggie’s Sleepout does provide an experience that helps those who participate understand the concern,” according to a press release about the event.