You know that moment. The one where, your favorite song comes on the radio as you’re coasting to who-knows-where, and maybe the sunroof is open, and maybe the sky is torching up like a campfire. That moment, when the beat hits your blood, blooms electric. That is what it is like to know Jessica Colgan-Snyder. Magnetic & dynamic, her generosity infuses everything she touches. (It’s TRUE!) This year’s Stache-for-Cash Dynamo sat down to answer a few questions, and shed some light on how this camp life has become her oyster.
Oh. And did I mention she STACHED her way to $4500 in donations for under-served youth to attend Camp Hawkeye during this summer?
“Stache for Cash gives me an opportunity to talk with people about Hawkeye’s mission to make camp possible for families who without scholarship wouldn’t be able to attend camp. I think it gives people a pretty good idea about how committed I am to our campers and the Hawkeye community”, Jess tells me. Since 2010, commitment has been part of her every morning routine throughout the whole month of April.
Where some wake & slog through the early morning “what heels go best with this dress” debacle, Jess debates her daily stache. Will it be a handlebar? The Dali? A Fu Manchu? “The stache I like best is the Poirot mustache that has a little curl to it,” she tells me, grin evident. “This seems to get the best reactions, so now I am more likely to wear this one. This is the first year I started putting glitter on my mustaches (some days) and that’s gotten a good reaction too. I used to wear real hair stage mustaches that need to be applied with glue. I did that for two years and during the third, my son, six months at the time, loved to pull at the hair. It was painful and much harder to keep on”, she goes on to say. “I wanted to figure out a way I could still participate and not feel like I was cheating by not wearing a real hair mustache like the men participating.” Her solution: tattoo mustaches obviously.
Day in, and day out, tattooed and running through the woods, on the lake during a canoe safety course, posting mail, buying eggs or snuggling her teeny loves, Jess takes her role as lead Stache Maven seriously, but LOVES the mirth and affecting change, both financial and long-term, that undoubtedly follows it’s glittery goodness. To date, Stache for Cash has raised about $50,000 for camper scholarships, with a little over $18,000 of that raised by Lady Stache herself. Other stachers include Camp Hawkeye Director, Garrett Colgan-Snyder, family and friends and former campers and staff, bonding their wiry hairs together for the ultimate cause: life-changing camper experiences.
As it happens, and with many aspects of our current global economy, overnight camp is just not economically feasible for many of the youth whom would benefit most: those in under-served or economically challenged areas, both urban & rural, and youth whose home lives present a myriad of different challenges. Of her first experience at camp, as an adult joining the staff of Camp Hawkeye, Jess remembers, “My first summer at Camp Hawkeye was my first summer at camp EVER. Garrett [Colgan-Snyder] said to me after about a week of being there that ‘Camp is magic’. I didn’t know exactly what he meant at the time and it wasn’t until I had to leave two weeks early that I fully grasped how magic camp really was. After only two weeks I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to hug my friends a little longer, I wanted to sing songs and swim with the campers, I wanted to make one more S’more, climb to the summit of one more mountain with my cabin group. I wanted to bang on the tables of the dining hall to show my appreciation for the meal. I wanted to lie in my bunk bed and listen to the noises of the NH wildlife after sunset. Camp is magical and I would tell kids that they DESERVE to go to camp. Camp is not a luxury or something only for kids whose parents went to camp; Camp is for EVERYBODY. Camp changes lives and being at camp will help you become the greatest version of yourself. You will be loved at camp, you will be celebrated, and you will find things out about yourself that you didn’t know. You will make the greatest friends at camp and create memories that you’ll hold onto long after you’ve left camp.”
Magic. Glitterati mustaches. Funding for all who deserve to go to camp. A New Hampshire sorting bucket who rivals any Harry Potter sorting hat. The stuff of fairy tales? Tall tales? Nope. This is what the open heart looks like: generosity is the apex that the world remembers, keeps it spinning. Jess Colgan-Snyder and her mustachioed brood are just a stubble reminder of the love this earth needs. “When I put my mustache on in the morning I think about how many people can I make smile today. Can I inspire one person today to want to help kids in the same way I want to?” You heard it here first (Or second? Or third?): this girl is mustache gold.
Wanna stache next year? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info (Glitter optional….) You can also find Jess & her stache antics on Insta here @jcs5718.