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It's Bigger Than You: Rowing and flashmobs as alternative methods to inspire society to do good

It's Bigger Than You: Rowing and flashmobs as alternative methods to inspire society to do good

Brock Sampson, founder of the nonprofit organization It's Bigger Than You (IBTU) is driven by thoughts of the future generation. "I want my grandkids to have cool things to say about their grandfather. I want them to say he was an inspiration and a leader of men," Sampson declares.

If he continues on the path he is currently on, that should be a given. Sampson left the corporate world of high-tech several years ago to start IBTU on a shoestring, with a mission to improve the lives of children. "I felt the meticulous energy spent to increase market share for stakeholders could be better spent leading society towards common goals for the good," he says.
 
"My deepest passion, the primary reason I started It’s Bigger Than You, is to improve the lives of children. Specifically, I want to help children who haven’t had a fair shake in life — children whose circumstances at birth have limited their choices, who have not been exposed to opportunities that can enhance their life."
 
But Sampson wants to do so in unique and fun ways; in ways that "bring out the activists in us all."
 
Take, for example, the organization's Bollywood Flash Mob that Sampson organized at Whole Foods Market in 2010. After some rehearsals and planning, a group of about 25 people broke out into "spontaneous" song and dance on a July afternoon at the Austin flagship store. 
 
"We identified one effective method to build dance participation... and that's guerilla style," says Sampson. "We like to appear from out of nowhere and perform Bollywood dances designed to amuse and confuse surrounding people."
 
Sampson also utilizes one of his major life passions, rowing, to work for a larger cause. It is, as he calls it, a way of using his own talents to serve the community. As a participant in the Texas Rowing Coach program and longtime rowing enthusiast, Sampson wanted to introduce the sport to underserved urban youth who might not otherwise have the chance to participate in such an activity. Besides learning a new skill and getting physically fit, he believes that other benefits are just as important: self-awareness, respect, team spirit, joy and optimism.
 
He was inspired by a program in Seattle called Row to the Future, a youth development initiative of the George Pocock Rowing Foundation that engages kids by making fitness fun, as well as introducing them to a life-long sport. Sampson read a letter written by Austin student Juan Garcia, who said that his Physical Education (P.E.) class at school was the one class he was afraid of.
 
"Sometimes P.E. is fun, like when we play games or learn dances," Garcia wrote. "I’m great at those. But when we play basketball, baseball, kickball, run around the track. . .I always seem to fall behind and get really tired. And it always seems like the tall, skinny boys get picked because they are good at running and can kick a ball really good. They always win at everything."
 
Garcia had a friend in Seattle who participated in Row to the Future, and Garcia saw what a difference it made in his life.
 
"He can row indoors and make good grades," Garcia said of his friend. "He said that everyone, no matter if they were tall, skinny or good in sports, had to learn because it was new." Garcia ended by saying that the reason for his letter was that he wished for an indoor rowing program in his school in Austin.
 
Sampson read the letter, and rose to the challenge. In response to Garcia's letter, IBTU is utilizing Indoor Rowing Machines to accomplish similar objectives in the Austin Independent School District. IBTU is currently offering Interactive Sponsorships for the rowing program, allowing sponsors to learn to row themselves, while engaging a child in a very unique way. 
 
"I noticed that the activities I did most frequently, outside of service, were out of habit and were fun," says Sampson. "I found it easier to stay involved when an activity spurred my creativity and imagination. I think that a spur of creativity can inspire people to do bigger things than themselves."
 
IBTU is all about fostering opportunities that inspire creativity and develop positive social habits. Sampson calls it an "alternative method to inspiring society to do good."
 
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For more information about It's Bigger Than You, visit the website or contact Brock Sampson at (512) 522-IBTU.
 
Austin Photo Set: News_Shelley Seale_Flash mob_jan 2012_1
It's Bigger Than You creates sustainable opportunities that inspires creativity. Courtesy of Brock Sampson
Austin Photo Set: News_Shelley Seale_Flash mob_jan 2012_rehearsel
Flash mob rehearsal Courtesy of It's Bigger than You
Austin Photo Set: News_Shelley Seale_Flash mob_jan 2012_brock sampson
Brock Sampson Courtesy of Brock Sampson