COTS Walk: Everything you need to know to join us SUNDAY

Posted On May 4, 2017 By | No Comments on COTS Walk: Everything you need to know to join us SUNDAY

MobileThis year is our 28th Annual COTS Walk Walk, presented by National Life Group, and our theme, as symbolized by thousands of origami butterflies, is: Inspire Hope. Empower Transformation. We are honoring the work that happens at COTS every day, as we, together, help people create new beginnings and fresh starts. We also will celebrate the opening of our newly renovated program and housing facility at 95 North Avenue.

Register today:

Walk-ins welcome! There is no minimum fundraising requirement to participate.

The Walk – COTS’ largest single-day fundraiser – is a critical part of the organization’s overall fundraising for the year. This year’s fundraising event goal is $200,000. Through the support of generous sponsors, all money raised by walkers goes directly to services. About 50 percent of COTS’ annual operating budget comes directly from community support.

The COTS Walk is also the one day of the year that the nationally recognized nonprofit opens its programs to the community so people can see how their donations make a difference. COTS serves about 2,600 people annually and is the largest provider for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont.

More than 2,000 walkers of all ages, from schools, social and religious organizations, businesses and neighborhoods, participate. About 200 volunteers help make it happen, too.

Did you know?

  • Walkers who raise $1,000 or more will reach the COTS Walk Challenge — and their donations will be MATCHED by an Anonymous Donor. They also will receive special COTS Walk Water Bottle at the Walk and gift and special recognition at COTS Annual Meeting in the fall.
  • Students who raise $150 or more and join us for the Walk can earn 10 hours of community service.
  • Youth walkers who raise $75 or more get a COTS Walk T-shirt; adult walkers (age 16+) who raise $150 or more get a T-shirt.

What to bring:

  • Dress for the weather: This is a rain or shine event, so plan your walk outfit accordingly. Check the forecast keeps shifting, but it looks to be the mid-50s and cloudy. Don’t forget to fill your water bottle at Battery Park at the BlueCross BlueShield Tent.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: The full walk is about 3.5 miles, while the short route is about 1.5 miles.
  • Parking: Best parking spots are in the city garages — like Marketplace Garage on South Winooski Avenue.
  • Can I bring? Strollers are welcome (we can direct you around stairs in a few spots). Dogs on leashes OK, too. (They cannot go in COTS facilities, though.)
  • Water bottles: Welcomed and encouraged. Fill up at Battery Park before the Walk starts. (Challenge Walkers and Team Captains receive a Special COTS Walk water bottle at check-in.)
  • Team spirit: Creative and festive clothing, hats, signs and flags are great. Banners are welcome, too. Show your pride, and celebrate our community’s response to neighbors in need. (Don’t forget to get your team photo taken; sign up for a time.)
  • Walk history: Got years of buttons or fun T-shirts from Walks past? We would love see you don them!

3 steps  for success at Walker check-in:

Walker check-in begins at 1 p.m. in the Registration Tent at Battery Park

  1. All Walkers (even those without envelopes) need to check in. At the Registration Tent, you will receive your coupon for free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (post-Walk). If you have raised at least $150 as an adult walker or $75 as a child walker, you will receive a T-shirt coupon, too. If you are a Challenge Walker who has raised at least $1,000, you also will get a coupon for a Water Bottle that you can pick up by the T-shirts.
    • Team Captains: If you collect your team members’ envelopes in advance, you can check in for everyone on your team. When checking in, though, be sure to get T-shirts and ice cream coupons for all team members. Also, keep Walker envelopes separate.
  2. Get your T-shirt: After you have checked in, you will have your T-shirt coupon. Take it to the Kids’ Activity Tent on the left side (if you are facing the stage), and get your shirt.
  3. Get a team photo taken: Once everyone has their shirts, gather for a team photo. Meet COTS’ volunteer photography team behind the bandshell in front of the lake. We will email a link to your photo (and fundraising total) after the Walk.

That’s it! You are all set! The Walk begins at 2 p.m.


COTS Walk Map

Explore detailed map of route

  • Walk map: Be sure to pick up a Map at Registration or get one from a Walk Route volunteer. You can get a preview of the route by clicking here.
  • Bathrooms: There are multiple bathroom stops. See map for details or ask a volunteer.
  • MOVE van: For participants who need assistance during the Walk, the Saint Michael’s College MOVE van will travel the route to provide support.
  • Special stops: There are snacks, water, and special guests at various stops along the Walk! Look for:
    • Battery Park: Lake Monsters Champ (before Walk);Vermont Dance Academy of Colchester & their Hip-Hop All-Stars (1-1:45 p.m.); music by Star 92.9, the Dixie Six (2:45-3:45 p.m.); Ben & Jerry’s (post-Walk) with Mooey the Cow.
    • Waystation: Vermont Teddy Bear’s Ted E. Bear
    • Main Street Family Shelter: UVM’s Rally Cat; music by Planet 96.7; and Starbucks Coffee Stop
    • First Congregational Church: Zumba
    • 95 North Avenue: Origami butterfly display (more than 6,000 butterflies!); Miss Vermont; and music by In the Pocket Jazz.

Snacks, beverages, and entertainment

Enjoy tasty treats and live music!
  • BlueCross BlueShield Water Tent is at Battery Park. Fill up your water bottle before you leave the park.
  • Snack stops: At multiple stops along the Walk, you will find water, cookies, crackers, and oranges waiting for you with our site hosts.You’ll also find Cookies for Good and details on the healthy snack and meal program for children in family shelter.
  • Coffee Stop: There is a Starbucks Iced Coffee stop at the Main Street Family Shelter.
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream: And, when you return to Battery Park at the end of the Walk, enjoy free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. (Be sure to get your ice cream coupon at check-in).
  • Music: Enjoy live performances throughout the walk. Star 92.9 will be at Battery Park, and the Vermont Dance Academy of Colchester & their Hip-Hop All Stars will warm up the crowd before the Walk. Planet Radio will be playing all the hits outside Main Street Family Shelter.  You’ll find the jazz band In The Pocket performing at 95 North Avenue. Finally, The Dixie Six will play after the Walk back at Battery Park.

Children’s Activities at Walk

Passport CoverAll children’s activities are free.
  • New! COTS Walk Passport: This booklet shares information about COTS, our programs, how to help, and the history of each space. Children can collect special stickers or stamps at each stop for their Passport book. Children can get these at Battery Park.
  • House Signs: Children can get a House Sign at Battery Park to carry through the Walk. Before leaving Battery Park, they can decorate. Then, at stops along the Walk, they can learn about the services COTS provides — and collect stickers and stamps for their signs.
  • Face painting: Volunteers provide face painting.
  • Mascot Meet & Greet: Visit with Lake Monsters’ Champ, Vermont Teddy Bear Company’s Ted E. BearUVM’s Rally Cat and the Ben & Jerry’s Mooey the Cow!


 Thank you, Sponsors!

nlg 2Thanks to our generous sponsors, all money raised by Walkers goes directly to services. This year’s COTS Walk is presented by National Life Group.

Community sponsors: City Market;; Pomerleau Real Estate.

Media Sponsors: Star 92.9 and Planet 96.7; Free Press Media; WCAX-TV.

Route sponsor: Duncan*Wisniewski.

Site sponsors: Ben & Jerry’s; Blue Cross Blue Shield; Darn Tough; Denny’s Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew. P.C.; Opportunities Credit Union; Stephen & Burns; Timberlane Dental Group; University of Vermont Medical Center; VEIC; Vermont Systems; Wright & Morrissey.

T-shirt sponsors: Casella Waste Management; Gardener’s Supply Co.; Hotel Vermont; Krebs & Lansing Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Merchants Bank; Nikon Precision; North Country Federal Credit Union; Northeast Delta Dental; Northwest Vermont Board of Realtors; Queen City Printers, Inc.; RedStone; The Dixie Six; Vermont Gas; and Vermont Tent Co.

Many, many other sponsors provided generous in-kind support.

Still have questions?

Read more here, or contact me at

On Walk Day, look for COTS volunteers and staff; they will be wearing gray shirts. They can help, too.

Categories: Children, Donations, Events, Families, Fundraisers, Volunteers
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