The RSL Family Initiative’s latest project has gone wild. Throughout the month of July, Real Salt Lake fans can purchase the “Wild for Wildlife” Duck Pin which encapsulates the famous lucky duck of RSL sitting inside Rio Tinto Stadium. Five dollars of each purchase will be donated to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in Yellowstone. Fans can purchase the pin online or at the RSL Team Store.
The pin project is the brainchild of Jennifer Rosa, RSL’s Team Store Manager.
“Jennifer saw the demand for people liking to collect the RSL pins and saw needs in the community and she thought of a terrific way to bring both ideas together,” said Kyle Schroeder, RSL’s Director of Community and Player Engagement.
The RSL Family Initiative Club functions by having RSL employees submit their ideas to the RSL Family Council who then work with the employee on the logistics of executing their vision. From there, the employee and the council work together to make their idea come to life.
“The whole idea behind the pins was that we can show the Club’s support in a lot of different causes in a very small way and just kind of connect the community with the Club,” said Rosa.
“I pitched it to the family initiative committee, and everyone really liked it and were supportive, especially Thomas Warren, Kyle Schroeder and Nic Osterhout our graphic designer.”
Support also came in the form of RSL team captain, Damir Kreilach.
“Damir was in here and I was just like,’oh I'll throw one of these in for you. It's just a little thing I started,’ and he's like, ‘oh, what is it?’ and I explained a little bit,” said Rosa. "He immediately was like; I want to donate a hundred dollars."
“I was speechless. He's just an absolute gem of a person. So I was in shock when he said that, but I'm really so grateful for him doing that.”
The pin initiative launched last month with the “Pride Pin” which raised $1500 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“I loved the idea from minute one,'' said Warren, RSL’s Director of Merchandise.
“I love creativity. I love the message behind it and I love how she's turned it into a personal initiative.”
Next up is the “Wild for Wildlife” Duck Pin and a new pin will be released each month with a new charity receiving part of the proceeds.
The thought of doing an animal-based charity came to Rosa after a vacation to Yellowstone National Park.
“We stopped there, and I talked with some people and really found out what it is that they do. They provide sanctuary to animals that are abandoned young, or are too old or injured and can't survive in the wild. It’s a very small facility and you can tell that they really love what they do and that they really care about the animals.”
The “Duck Game” holds a special place in Rosa’s heart as it was one of the first matches ever as a RSL employee.
The design process for the pin was between Rosa and Osterhout who together landed on the duck as the appropriate symbol.
“The original idea was just kind of the obvious idea to do a lion,” said Osterhout. "But then it popped into her head to do the duck which is genius and hilarious.”
“So we sat down and talked about it and Jennifer told me I just want the duck on the grass and I was like perfect. She wants the pins to be a little different where they don't just scream RSL if we can help it. They're obviously inspired by the Club, but not just like a logo in your face whenever we can help it.”
“We put it on some grass and for the RSL touch put the east side of the stadium in the background. Nice, quick and easy.”
The “Duck Game” is never too far from RSL fans mind and now they have a chance to own a bit of RSL history while also giving back to charity.
“I'm really excited that people really like them and they're really into it but the most important thing is that the Club supports all these little things and these are causes that they stand behind and that they want to be a part of,” said Rosa.
“I feel like not a lot of workplaces are like that, where they just give you full reign and full support and it's been really special to me.”