Pro Photo Supply takes pride in being able to support the local community in a variety of ways, but one of our favorites is undoubtedly Photo of the Year. The popular annual photo contest raises money for Friends of Outdoor School, a non-profit organization working to ensure that Oregon’s kids continue to be able to attend the great Outdoor School program, which has been threatened in recent years due to budget limitations. Last year, the contest raised almost $13,000—enough to send two full classes of 6th graders to Outdoor School.
The contest is also sponsored by several other local companies, including Uncage the Soul Productions and Outdoor Project. Earlier this year, we spoke with two educators about the Outdoor School program and Photo of the Year for our Community Profile series. You can see the video below.
The categories for the contest this year are Top 100, Outdoor School (sponsored by The Standard), Garden City (sponsored by Depave), Youth (sponsored by Chinook Book), and the Professional category (sponsored by Outdoor Project). One image from the Top 100 category will be crowned Photo of the Year, while each category will also have its own winner.
One change for the contest this year was moving the final round of voting online, open to anyone who likes Friends of Outdoor School’s Facebook page. This will expose the finalists’ images to a wider audience than previous years and allow more people to weigh in on their favorite photos.
Photo of the Year is a huge undertaking for the small Friends of Outdoor School staff. Kate Schaeffer, Development Associate, says the biggest challenge is just managing everything, but she is always impressed by the variety of entries the contest receives. “I’ve never been able to predict which photo will win! Also, I’m always surprised at how wide the reach of the contest can get. We get a lot of international submissions.”
Friends of Outdoor School Executive Director, Kim Silva, admits that money is always an issue for small non-profits. “We are always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective within the means that we have.” But the challenges are easily outshone by the successes. “Photo of the Year offers a fun way for the community to support and rally around Outdoor School. [The sponsors] are very excited about it, and that excitement is infectious.”
You can learn more about Photo of the Year and submit your photo at www.photooftheyear.net. The deadline for entry is January 8th, 2014.