Dianne Ostrowski, of Dalton, stepped outside her front door one afternoon to find a flock of pink flamingos in her yard.
But the incident wasn’t due to a migratory phenomenon or a mass aviary escape from an area zoo. Rather, it was the work of a group of Abington Heights Comets cheerleaders. And instead of feathers, the birds were made of plastic.
“If you see pink flamingos scattered all over your lawn, don’t be surprised,” Ostrowski assures readers. “Think of it as an invitation to one of the most enjoyable local events of the summer: helping our high school cheerleaders.”
The girls, divided into five teams of about eight members each, are “flocking” as many homes in the Abingtons as they can, leaving notes asking for donations of $10 or more in exchange for the removal of the plastic flamingos. Anyone who does not wish to participate in the flocking should email firstname.lastname@example.org to be excluded from the list.
“It’s a fundraiser,” explained Natalie Kozar, a team leader. “And it’s a good way to get the whole community involved with the cheerleading team at Abington Heights.”
The incoming senior said the “flocking” provides something fun and different from any other fundraisers the squad conducted in the past, such as car washes, pancake breakfasts, plant sales and a Junior Comets Camp.
In another corner of the district, one of the teams “flocked” the South Abington Township municipal building, with permission from the authorities.
“I think it’s great,” said South Abington Township Police Chief Robert Gerrity, after taking a look at the pink lawn guests and talking with the girls who placed them there.
He said although there can often be a disconnect between youths and the police, the local law enforcement officers are here to help and love to support positive activities and groups, such as the cheerleading squad.
Dalton Police Chief Chris Tolson agreed.
“It’s a good cause,” he said. “We just want to help them and make sure they’re safe while they’re doing it.”
And the cheerleaders and their parents are thankful, according to April Beky, one of the mothers. She said when they first decided to try the fundraiser, they “got stalled” and weren’t sure where to turn. When questions of safety arose, she contacted the area police chiefs, who were enthusiastic about helping and offered to join the teams on their missions, should they feel the need.
“We’re grateful for the support,” Beky said.
Although the squad doesn’t have a specific monetary goal in mind, the girls hope to raise as much money as they can before ending the fundraiser on Aug. 15. The funds will be used to help with the costs of uniforms, pink pom-poms for a breast cancer awareness event, camp and more. Those who wish to contribute to the squad can also do so via donation buckets at the football games.