How does a “simple idea” become much more than simple? Adam Nugent and Kate Strong spend time with Kyle Fox. He’s the co-founder of the nonprofit organization Follow The Flag. He describes its humble beginnings and how it soon turned into an organization designed to honor, heal, and inspire. It’s a goal to inspire patriotism and bring communities together. Learn more about his incredible mission on this episode!
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What do pumpkins have to do with Follow the Flag? In this podcast excerpt, Kyle Fox explains how his hobby of growing giant pumpkins led to him hanging a giant U.S. flag across the mouth of a canyon near his home in Pleasant Grove, Utah. That act would inspire so much patriotism in his community that his efforts would soon turn into a nonprofit organization that would touch communities across the country.
AN: Let’s go back to the beginning. Let’s talk pumpkins.
KF: Let’s do talk pumpkins! I used to bleed orange and now it’s a little more red, white, and blue. So the giant pumpkins, I ended up at the red barn in Payson by chance, and it was my first time really ever seeing these giant pumpkins, and it just blew my mind. I was like, “How do I get a seed? I’ve got to grow one.!” So we got growing them, and it became a little bit addictive because you end up with a 180, and then you have to get it bigger. Then you end up with a 380. Pretty soon, it was like five, seven, eight, creeping up on a thousand pounds, and you’re doing anything and everything like it’s a live animal.
When you’re putting in an hour a pound into these things, you get emotionally attached a little bit. It becomes fun because it’s just something you do in your own yard and you can wipe away the world and just grow your pumpkin.
So that’s what kind of ties us over into how the flag thing started. When they saw how people stopped and smiled at these pumpkins, poking their friend and taking a picture, and they were not thinking about all the other garbage going on in the world at the time. It was just, they had this little moment and that was it. They loved it.
Then we rolled into doing a regatta. So we turned pumpkins into boats, carved them and floated them, and raced them while dressing like a bunch of idiots. We started dropping them from cranes and smashing them and raising money for different groups and making Christmas happen for people who may not have had it, and just fun stuff like that. And then one day it was just, I thought, what else can we do to kind of capture that wow factor? And it was a flag in a canyon.