Scrap Story #9: Trophies

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This was going to be a story about trophies, but then I found out that the Scrap Exchange website was showing a weird “Your Website” default page instead of the site, so it almost turned into a story about how I tracked down the person who is supposedly providing web hosting for us and throttled him. But then he fixed it so I did not have to track him down and throttle him and now it’s a story about trophies again.

Trophies are one of those things that you get a lot of when you’re young, and some of them are meaningful when you get them and some of them aren’t, but generally they’re not something you need to have in your life forever. Especially the eighth place ones, no one really needs a shelf full of those.

And they’re one of those things that you don’t really know what to do with once you’re done having them on your shelf. Though my friend Molly told me about a neighbor of hers who used them as yard art, she buried the bottom part so just the shiny figures were sticking out. Molly said it looked pretty great with the sunlight glinting off them.

So burying them in your garden is definitely an option, but if you live in Durham, you can also bring them to The Scrap Exchange.

And then what happens to them?

Well, if they’re lucky, they might be picked to star in a movie. (Phoebe and Daniel are making a film involving a variety of Scrap materials, and Daniel’s Scrapamals, and a trophy. I would love to describe it in more detail but I haven’t actually seen it yet.)

Or they might get remade into a fabulous set of new trophies, like the ones the staff made to give to winners of the Iron Crafter competition.

Iron Crafter Trophies

(Iron Crafter is the Scrap Exchange version of Iron Chef, where contestants are challenged to make something in a set time period using specific materials, including one “secret ingredient.” We held the first one at the holiday party in December 2009 and did it again at last year’s holiday party. It was fascinating, and wildly popular.)

Shortly after the first Iron Crafter competition I was out with some folks from another organization  I work with that does nonprofit technology work (PIN, Inc./RTPnet/NCTech4Good). We were getting ready for a conference in the spring, and wanted to honor the founder of the organization, Judy Hallman. It was the organization’s 20th anniversary and they were talking about what they could do for her that would be special.

I said, “Hey, we could give her a trophy from The Scrap Exchange!” I was thinking of the fabulous Iron Crafter trophies.

They were like Zoe and Beth’s friend Megan when I said we were going to make palm trees — they were like uh, okay, maybe we could do that. But we should do something else too, something real.

I said okay whatever.

I’m talking to Ann later, I said we were trying to figure out what to do to honor someone for twenty years of amazing work, I suggested making a trophy from The Scrap Exchange but they wanted to do something real. Ann rolled her eyes. She said, “C’mon now. What’s more real than a trophy from The Scrap Exchange?”

So we made plans for the reception and figured things out but between one thing and another, a few loose ends didn’t quite get tied up. I said that’s okay, I’ll make the trophy.

So I go to The Scrap Exchange and of course there are no trophies anywhere on the shelves.

(This is one of the problems with things at The Scrap Exchange, it’s not like we can order more if something runs out — what we have is what we have and when it’s gone it’s gone. I always tell people if you see something you like, you should get it because it might not be there tomorrow.)

We looked around the backstock area to see if there were any stragglers hiding out anywhere but didn’t see anything . Then the person working at the checkout desk finds one behind the counter. She says, “Oh look! There is one.”

So I take it home and I’m thinking about what I’m going to do to it and then it occurs to me that maybe it was behind the counter for a reason. So I call the store and leave a message and say I have this trophy, let me know if you actually were saving that.

I get a call from Phoebe the next day who says yes, we were saving that, it’s the star of our Scrapamals movie. We’ve shot part of it already but aren’t done yet, we really need her back. But we have the top of a trophy with no base that we can trade you for.

So I take the trophy back and get the top part and am trying to figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of it when I have a revelation.

Among the things my mom brought me a few years ago were all of my tennis and soccer trophies from growing up. I didn’t necessarily want them, but I hadn’t gotten rid of them yet either, I’d just tossed them in a bin and put them up in the attic.

I realize that I don’t actually need a trophy from The Scrap Exchange, I just need a trophy, I can use one of my old trophies.

So I go up into the attic and bring down the bin of trophies. It turns out that trophies are mix-and-match, and you can put different bases with different stems and different figures. So I put two stems together to make it taller and added the winged victory figurine that Phoebe had given me. Then I attached pieces of a deconstructed computer to it and découpaged cutouts from old computer instruction manuals around the upper part of the base and wrote “RTPNet” in sparkly paper cut-out letters on the lower part of the base.

It looked very special.

We had the reception. We presented Judy with the trophy. She loved it.

It was definitely real.

So the next time you want to do something special for someone, I recommend making them a trophy out of … a trophy. They’ll love it. I promise.


Help! The Scrap Exchange Needs YOU!

Visit the Scrap Exchange website for full details on our fundraiser, or to make a tax-deductible, online donation through PayPal or Network for Good.

Rather go old school? Checks can be made payable to The Scrap Exchange and mailed to 923 Franklin St, Bay 1, Durham, NC 27701.

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