WOKO is the official radio partner for the Big Change Roundup, a fundraising campaign for The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. With your support, The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital is able to help more than 50,000 patients a year. Participants in the Big Change Roundup are known as “bandits.”

Wow. How does one start when you have a front row seat to the Big Change Roundup for the UVM Children’s Hospital in the cockpit of “Bandit One”? Jamey Magowan here, the overnight guy for the “Big Station” – that’s 98.9 WOKO. As we entered into 2015, the station handed me the keys to the Pete’s RV Coach for Kids, powered by Maplefields (a Big Change Roundup sponsor). The scenery, the beautiful roads, and the venues are excellent; however, the best part is the “bandits” who you meet along the way, the caring children and families raising money for the patients in need at the hospital. Here is a quick look at the trip so far…

Kickoff to the tour

Our first stop was the The Edge Sports & Fitness Club in Williston where the Big Change Roundup kicked off. It’s the perfect place to get some energy out in the heart of winter. Royalty was present: Victoria and Danielle were there, both former “Children’s Champions” from the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital – joined by Noah, the newest champion. It was inspiring to see all of the activity in that place, powered by the kids that the hospital works every day to keep healthy. What a way to kick the campaign off.

School visits

The schools have reminded us that kids take care of kids. Lothrop, Ellenburg, CK Smith, Bridport, Ticonderoga, and so many more have filled their auditoriums, gyms, and halls to cheer, watch, and clap for what they have done for other kids who need support. The enthusiasm is contagious: the elementary school kids in Ellenburg spoke about how the middle school kids were helping, too. Role models that are still kids themselves showing others kids how to help others. Amazing.

Penguin Plunge

A few years ago, Guy Ford, one of our DJs, was asked to jump into Lake George in the middle of February for the kids. He said yes, as long as Jamey did it, too. He thought that that I would say no since I was older. He was wrong. Guy and I started it, Wild Bill joined last year, and the rest is history. Diving into the lake on one of the coldest days of one of the coldest winters we have seen for years should have been a daunting — not with the folks in Hague where the energy and adrenaline were palpable. The biting cold that is only temporary. It reminds you that our discomfort is so short compared to that of the kids at the hospital. Another thing that warms the heart are the people of Ticonderoga. What they do in their little lakeside hamlet is amazing.

The rest of the road trip is an amazing array of memories: Visiting the Cub Scouts at Maplefields, enjoying a spaghetti dinner with Victoria Reed and her family, meeting Mike in Georgia and Charlie in Plattsburgh, playing games with Shawn, Kelly, Ryan and Adrienne in Burlington, and seeing Laurie dress up as Mickey Mouse – and meeting so many others along the way.

One theme emerges from all of this: the Big Change Roundup is about people with huge hearts helping kids. I have the incredible opportunity to meet them all. As I drive into my final weekend of the campaign, I can think of nothing but memories that will last a lifetime. I look forward to seeing you on the road.

Jamey Magowan works at WOKO, the official radio sponsor of the Big Change Roundup for Kids.

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