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Serious fun(ds): How A&F Challenge combines festival with fundraiser

614now Staff



Crafting, archery, a check up with a cardiologist, and a campfire sing-a-long; the daily agenda for a camper at Flying Horse Farms in Mount Gilead Ohio might not be completely typical, but for the kids who attend, it’s often the best week of summer.

Flying Horse Farms is part of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, which lets kids with serious illnesses–including cancer, heart disease, blood disorders, and other medical conditions–attend camp every summer, at no cost to kids or their families.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.  raises money to support Flying Horse Farms and SeriousFun’s other 15 camps around the world by hosting the annual A&F Challenge at its New Albany headquarters.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Associate Anna Ankenbauer, who manages the A&F Challenge, described the event as a “fundraiser meets festival.”

On September 7, Abercrombie’s campus will transform for a camp-inspired evening, complete with archery, hot air balloon rides, a zipline, “Camp Fitch” for kids, and an optional 5k.

Improving on the food that summer camp is known for, local food trucks will be onsite, with unlimited drinks and munchies included in the $75 ticket.

The event includes a full night of music, featuring performances by Fitz and the Tantrums, and Judah and the Lion.

Anna Ankenbauer, who spearheads the camp, first volunteered as a counselor at Flying Horse Farms in 2016. She was, in her words, a little nervous.

“I was terrified, to be completely honest… [but] once I got there, Flying Horse Farms is magical,” she said. “it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.”

Ankenbauer spent her week with the 7-8 year old girls. “It’s really a jam-packed week filled with pretty much everything you can imagine at summer camp, from canoeing to fishing to singing and dancing before and after mealtimes… I totally forgot about everything else except hanging out and playing with these kids.”

Each week, Flying Horse Farms brings in volunteer doctors specializing in campers conditions, who work alongside the camp’s regular full-time medical staff.

During heart week, for example, the head  cardiologists from Cleveland Clinic Children’s and Dayton Children’s hospitals are on-site.

Campers are able to receive treatment for their illnesses while also getting a week to experience summer camp. All activities are adaptable so that all campers can participate, even if their illnesses would normally prevent them from doing so.

Ankenbauer said she was impressed by the way camp staff made everyone feel comfortable.


“At mealtimes, you know, if one kid has to take medicine, everyone’s taking medicine, everyone’s taking a vitamin. We’re all living this together.”

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s partnership with SeriousFun started in 2011, when some employees decided to volunteer at Flying Horse Farms.

This caught the attention of the company’s philanthropy committee, who learned that SeriousFun’s international sites aligned with the company’s global footprint.

In 2016, the company made a five year, $15 million commitment to the cause. It also sends over 100 employees to volunteer at SeriousFun camps around the world every summer, covering their travel expenses and time off.

Being a camp counselor for a week forces adults out of their comfort zones. Ankenbauer recounted the first time one of her campers caught a fish.

“Little did I know that at Flying Horse Farms they have the tradition where you have to kiss the fish.” They call it “catch, kiss and release,” and the tradition applies to counselors and campers alike. Ankenbauer was glad to do whatever it took—even kissing fish—to make sure her campers had a fantastic week.

“Being able to spend time with these little girls—to watch them transform from being afraid and nervous and reserved into like dancing and singing little girls on the stage by the end of the week—is incredible,” she said.

For campers, the impact of camp lasts long beyond their week at Flying Horse Farms.

“I feel like camp has given me the strength to rise,” said 15-year-old camper Marin Henry. “It has given me the power to do things I never would have done. It has given me the guts to have a voice. Camp is the happiness in the world. It’s my anchor.”

Campers’ parents report improvement in their children’s self-esteem, confidence, independence and social skills following their week at camp.

Many campers attend the A&F Challenge, and you may also find them running the 5K right beside you, as Henry did last year. Ankenbauer wants you to know that you (yes, you!) are cordially invited to attend.

“The Challenge is an amazing event for the Columbus community to come to. We’d love to host as many people from around the city as we can. There’s something for every age, and, I mean, ultimately, you’re partying for a cause. All of the fundraising and all of the efforts go back to SeriousFun,” she said

In that case, Columbus, party on 

The A&F Challenge will be held September 7 at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. headquarters in New Albany. To register or to make a donation to SeriousFun, visit

By  / (614) August, 2018

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How accurate are these “12 extremely weird things only people from Ohio do?”

Regina Fox



Every state has its own antics—Kentucky has country music, Colorado has recreational marijuana—but how accurately do these antics represent the general population?

Only In Your State recently put together a list of "12 Extremely Weird Things Only People From Ohio Do" and we're wondering how many of these are actually things people from Ohio do and, more importantly, how "extremely weird" are they, really?

Check out the list below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

1. We often randomly yell out “O-H” and fully anticipate an “I-O” reply.
2. We spell our state’s name with our arms and take a photo—no matter where we are.
3. We avoid ALL things blue and yellow.
4. Many of us use the term “pop” instead of “soda.”
5. We eat large amounts of shredded cheese and chili on top of spaghetti…
6. We also dip our French fries in our Wendy’s frosty…
7. We sometimes use the AC and heat in the same day.
8. We can’t seem to agree on the way that “wash” is pronounced.
9. We usually give directions based on a location’s proximity to a major city and we give them in time increments, not miles.
10. Buffalo Wild Wings is “B-Dubs” to us.
11. Stores such as Meijer, Kroger and JC Penney are referred to in possessive form.
12. We have the epitome of a love/hate relationship with our state. We relentlessly make fun of Ohio while claiming it’s the best state there is.

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One of Columbus’ best shopping experiences returning for 2 special events

614now Staff




So often, the Christmas season is equated with stress—finding the perfect give for everyone on your list is no easy task! But, Carrie and Chelsey of Not Your Mama's Craft Market use their experience as both makers and shoppers to transform your anxiety into amusement with fun, festive, and fabulous offerings from creatives in and around Columbus.

Not Your Mama's Craft Market, voted one of the best shopping experiences in Columbus, is returning for two very special events this holiday season you won't want to miss.

The first market—the annual BIG Holiday Market— will be on November 23 at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Short North. With over 90 vendors flexing their creative muscles, this will be the perfect opportunity to cross everyone off your Nice List while also avoiding the mall (which, let's be real, can be a bit hectic this time of year).

Doors open for VIP shopping at 10am- 11am for $3 at the door. Admission is free from 11am- 4pm with swag bags available for $7 while supplies last! Profits from swag bag sales will benefit She Has A Name, a nonprofit helping victims of human trafficking right here in Columbus.

The second —the Village Lights Market— will be held in the Schiller Park Recreation Center on December 8. The event will coincide with the Village Lights Festival to add even more sparkle to your season! Enjoy eats from local food trucks and fun freebies throughout the market. There will be more than 100 makers at the outing, so you're sure to find something for even the toughest Christmas cookie on your list.

Admission is free from 2pm- 8pm.

What's more? (614) Kids Club + Jeni’s Ice Creams Made Stand are joining in on the fun!

(614) Kids Club will be on site during both events with the tools and crafts to help kids make cards for our Holiday Card Drive to help spread cheer to those unable to spend the holidays at home. Jeni's Made Stand will also be set up at both markets to support Jeni’s mission to raise the next generation of young entrepreneurs.If you start to feel overwhelmed or exhausted by the impending holiday, remember: Not Your Mama's Craft Market will always have your back. Be sure to mark your calendars and learn more at

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Winans Chocolates + Coffees is your source for the perfect gift this holiday season

614now Staff




Finding the perfect gift for all of the important people in your life can be a challenge. From a secret Santa at the office to the loved one who has everything, the stress of holiday shopping can be overwhelming. If only there was a surefire hit that is just right for all occasions...

For four generations, Winans Chocolates + Coffee has been the go-to for premium, handmade chocolates, freshly roasted coffees from around the globe, and gifts to delight everyone. This holiday season, Winans "12 Gifts of Christmas" has you covered with the perfect thing for those hard-to-please gift recipients in your life.

With a lineup of gift collections designed for personal gifting, corporate occasions, and even stocking stuffers, Winans has taken the guess work out of choosing the perfect gift. Winans also offers multiple size and price options in each category, providing a tailor-fit solution for any gifting scenario you might encounter.

With four locations to serve you in Central Ohio, including German Village, Downtown Columbus, Grandview Yard, and historic Dublin, Winans is the perfect place to score thoughtful, well-crafted (and delicious) gifts throughout the year. To learn more, visit

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