The 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee on Friday morning unveiled two new initiatives to get more local people involved in
hosting the National Football League’s premiere event.
One of the initiatives is so unique, host committee Chairman Mark Miles admitted that when it was first suggested, it left him “scratching his head.”
"Super Scarvers" was the brainchild of host committee volunteer Katie Meister, who along with other host committee members sought to involve “a non-traditional demographic” in the Super Bowl effort.
Host committee members explained that there was a group of long-time community activists and volunteers who wanted to help host the Super Bowl but didn’t feel they could work long hours or be out in the cold. So Super Scarvers was born.
The goal of Super Scarvers is to knit a blue-and-white scarf for each of 8,000 volunteers needed to stage the Super Bowl and the week-long festivities surrounding it in Indianapolis in 2012.
To kick off the event, a huge scarf was made using broom sticks and ropes and draped this morning over the Structure Man sculpture in front of the Shiel Sexton building downtown.
“We’re doing this to show our appreciation to each and every one of our volunteers,” Meister said. “We’ll have to average 12 scarves a day, so let’s get knitting.”
The host committee is recruiting volunteers to knit the scarves. All 22 branches of the Marion County Public Library will serve as collection points and also provide knit kits for interested volunteers.
Sara Snow, former WXIN-TV Channel 59 on-air news reporter, was picked to lead the other initiative, 1st & Green.
Snow, a longtime environmental activist, said the Web-based program is designed to educate area residents and alter some everyday activities that have an impact on the local environment.
“We want this Super Bowl to be an environmentally responsible event,” Snow said.
The Web site, www.1standgreen.com, has myriad content on “living green,” including carbon- and water-saving calculations.
August Mack Environmental, Citizens Energy Group, Duke Energy Indiana, Indianapolis Power & Light Co., ProLiance Energy, United Water and Vectren are partners in the program.
The program will be promoted by the Green Corps, a group of Super Bowl host volunteers consisting of more than 160 high school sophomores from across the state who will champion participation in the site throughout their schools and communities.
“Our objective is to involve as many people in the city and state in this spectacle as possible,” Miles said. “That’s what these programs are all about. Because we know once people get involved in something bigger than themselves in the community, they stay involved. That’s what we learned with the 1987 Pan Am Games, and we think there’s a parallel here.
“We’re reaching out to young, diverse people,” Miles added. “We want to involve the best and brightest with a real emphasis on diversity.”
Amos Brown, a longtime leader in the local black community and host of the "Afternoons with Amos" radio show for Radio One in Indianapolis, said at the gathering that it’s “embarrassing” that none of the Indianapolis Public Schools or any from Pike Township were included on the list of schools participating in the 1st & Green program. Brown questioned host committee organizers on why there were no schools populated by a majority of black students on the list.
“We’re talking about inclusion and diversity here,” Brown said.
Miles answered that all schools within the state had been contacted and that the list presented at today’s press conference was a preliminary list of those that have responded thus far. Miles promised host committee members would contact IPS Superintendent Eugene White to assure IPS’ inclusion.
Additionally, host committee officials reported that 7,200 volunteers had registered through the Indiana Sports Corp., but another 800 were still needed. The screening process for committee leaders began this month, with key positions to be filled through the first quarter.
Forty-two people from the host committee will travel to Miami next week for this year’s Super Bowl, Miles said, to learn about public safety and security, event and stadium operations, special events and community program.