ELKHART COUNTY -- The United Way of Elkhart kicked off its campaigning season today -- in style.
The organization held its fourth annual boat race at its headquarters. But this race has a twist: the boats are homemade out of cardboard.
Fourteen local companies lined up their cardboard creations for a chance to win bragging rights, and to boost the local United Way chapter.
Some crews, like Elkhart Public Library's, came in character. They dressed as Popeye and his friends.
"It's nice to have it be for a good cause, but also, my crew back here, we got to know each other better, we just had a great time building the boat," says Tom Wiley, captain and Popeye of Elkhart Public Library's team. "We're having a fantastic time today."
Elkhart United Way used to hold a traditional fundraising dinner, but decided to have some fun with the kickoff event, says chapter Vice President Jessica Koscher.
"United Way really needs to be about fun," Koscher says. "It's about enjoying the community, it's about helping others in the community. So we wanted to make sure people knew we were kicking off our event."
Koscher says the first boat race had six competitors, and has grown ever since.
This year's race included three heats and a final championship round. Some boats barely made it onto the water, but Indiana State Police divers were on hand to keep watch and make waves -- literally.
That didn't slow down non-profit group ADEC's batman boat. The team won first place for the second year in a row. Their secret?
"A lot of liquid nail, a lot of cardboard," say ADEC team captains Pamela Ciesielska and Aleigha Miller. "And even some duct tape in there."
Additional prizes included the People's Choice award and "Wonder Down Under," for boats that couldn't stay afloat.
The chapter will have several fundraising events over the next two months, including a dodgeball tournament in October.