While this May the Dumb Friends League celebrated its 30th annual Furry Scurry, it was the first one for the League’s former Special Events Manager, Kelly Mason. Despite being the new kid on the block, Kelly’s experience made her well-equipped to handle the challenge of planning the League’s largest fundraising event of the year.
A true Colorado native, Kelly received her education and first event planning job at Colorado State University. She’s also worked at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder as a Conference Coordinator and, most recently, at CU Denver as an Associate Director of Events, where she planned elaborate gatherings on behalf of the university’s leadership team, coordinated commencement ceremonies, and organized an annual block party.
As an avid animal advocate, Kelly was ecstatic to join the Dumb Friends League family in August 2022. She and her wife, Melissa, are proud pet parents to their two “fluffs,” as they call them: River, an akita/pit bull mix and a Siamese cat named Hannah.
Before she had time to settle into her cubicle, Kelly was hitting the ground running. “It’s not the first time I’ve joined an organization and had to learn the ropes quickly,” she said. “There were a ton of moving pieces, but I prioritized my time by being thoughtful about what needed to be done, instead of jumping right in.”
Kelly began the planning process by asking for input from longtime staff and volunteers whose feedback she found invaluable. “Communication was the thing that stood out quite a bit. People wanted to know enough ahead of time to feel independent on the big day,” Kelly shared. Based on this feedback, she developed a series of staff and volunteer trainings, as well as an event guide that team members could read ahead of time. “In a large event like this, everyone needs to feel empowered to creatively problem solve on their own,” she said. “There is only one of me, so event staff and volunteers are a key ingredient of success.”
Kelly also worked closely with city officials to get their insight on how this year’s Furry Scurry could be the best one yet. “Park and Rec gave some feedback that the layout needed to be adjusted to create a better experience for our guests, improve setup and teardown logistics, and increase the visibility of our vendors.”
In the weeks following the event, Kelly was asked by several passionate team members whether this year’s Furry Scurry was a success. According to Kelly, staff and volunteers have expressed that they felt more prepared coming into the event and she herself thought the walk was a hit with attendees. “Every event planner experiences anxiety leading up to event day, but I was pleased to have left the day feeling like it was a smashing success.”
From a fundraising perspective, the 30th annual Furry Scurry certainly has made a huge impact for the animals in our care. In fact, at the time of this writing, the event had already brought in roughly $675,000. Kelly says this incredible sum would not have been possible without the support of our hard-working team members and compassionate community.
Sadly, this year’s Furry Scurry was not only Kelly’s first, but also her last – at least as a League employee. In July, she accepted a position with another organization. However, her time with the League left a significant impression on her, and she will continue to be an advocate for the work we do. As she says,
I was born and raised in Colorado, so I’ve always known about the Dumb Friends League. However, I didn’t fully grasp the organization’s impact or its strong, supportive culture. Staff and volunteers [at the League] are always eager to help each other and their community members. People supporting one another is what makes events like the Furry Scurry successful and ultimately propels our mission forward.
Thank you, Kelly, for helping make this year’s Furry Scurry one for the books! You will be missed.