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Dec 01st
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Things That Go Boom, Boom

AE_boom1Local women’s kindness-based card game is worth the shuffle
Just like a boomerang, what you put out into the world will come back to you. This is the creed of the Boom Boom Revolution, a movement for kindness that erupts from two local women and their card game.

Co-founded by local duo Mary Beth Campbell and Helene Scott, the revolution is fueled one kind notion at a time, via the original card game entitled “Boom Boom Cards; The intentional Acts of Kindness Kit.”

It is something like Pay it Forward meets Where’s George. To play Boom Boom requires four steps: 1. Pick a card, any card. 2. Commit to a random act of guerilla goodness (that’s called a Boom Boom). 3. Recruit others by passing your card on to another person. 4. Track your card on the website by registering its serial code. Then, if you want, post a blog about your experience.

AE_boom2“There’s no discrimination when it comes to kindness. It's been really gratifying to see a website be alive that has such a large variety of people, age and type, on it,” says Campbell. “We have 13 year olds posting, and we have 60 year olds posting.”

Although Boom Boom Revolution is its own unique company, its inspiration came by way of another company Campbell began when she was a teacher at Harbor High School: The Boomerang Project. The project is an education-based mentoring program in which upperclassmen in high school and middle school are given tools and organized methods to welcome younger students to the school, rather than haze them.

Before she taught high school, Campbell says she was actually a cynic. However, through watching her high school students participate in the Boomerang Project she realized that these young people were “fantastic human beings who really wanted the best for the planet.” It made her take a look at herself, and her outlook on life took an inspirational turn.

“To my surprise, Boomerang worked,” Campbell says. “As we were doing these high school/middle school transitions, we realized that it’s not that hard to ask people to be nice. And if high school kids will do it—everyone can do it. Essentially the program works because we give these kids structure. We give them a way to be nice to the younger kids. And they do it.”

So Campbell and Scott thought, what if they created a structure for everybody? Maybe it would work. And that’s how Boom Boom Cards started.

“The lifestyle I see [Campbell] as having, as far as very purposefully celebrating life, to me is a form of a kind act,” says Scott. “There’s lots of joy and fun and silliness and happiness going on around this lady, and it’s contagious. That to me was a perfect kind of segue into part of what these cards do. Boom Boom Revolution the company, stems a lot from the idea that you call out to what’s good in your life, and you get it back. It's this ‘boom—BOOM.’ You get back what you give.”

Boom Boom Cards consists of a 26-card deck. Each of its cards displays a random act of kindness, such as “Smile and say hi to everyone you pass today,” or “Give five genuine compliments in one day.”

Written on the cards, below each act of kindness, is an option to “revolutionize” the act. For example, “Buy a stranger a cup of coffee,” becomes, “Revolutionize it: Make it a latte.”

“We want to be about the uprising of guerilla goodness, that kind of clandestine kindness that we think people have in them, but they've forgotten. We just want to help them realize that it's there,” says Scott. “We believe that people want to do and be a part of something good everyday and don’t know how or don’t have permission, or feel intrusive ... and somehow these little cards make it easier. They have permission, it’s like 'this is what I’m supposed to do today.’”

The idea that helped Boom Boom blossom from a card game into a revolution is that merely owning the cards can cause a shift in the way people go about their daily lives. “Having that deck of cards in your purse or on your desk kind of just begins to shift your consciousness,” Scott says. “You intentionally want to do these kind acts. And that’s part of our hope, that there’s a shift. We are out to change the world with intentional acts of kindness.”

Boom Boom is cultivating more than kindness. Its blog online is an expanding garden full of inspirational stories, as, after playing a card, participants are encouraged to blog about their kind acts.

“Our hope was that people would be compelled to write stories,” says Campbell.  “There is a guy from England who posts on the site called ‘Live Life Fully.’ He posts the most beautiful, thoughtful posts. He did card four, which is ‘Write a letter to a teacher …’ He wrote a letter to a teacher he had many, many years ago. He heard back from the son because the teacher had died. But the son had written back and thanked him for honoring his dad’s memory.”

Spreading kindness is a rewarding business. Campbell can easily recall the first post she read on the website by a stranger. “It was surreal, and powerful, and very magical and I cried like a baby,” Campbell says. "Some guy from Connecticut had posted about holding doors open for people. I sobbed and was like, ‘People are really doing it!”

Last month, a woman from Sweden decided to take the Boom Boom challenge, which consists of the entire deck of 26 cards in 26 days. She posted a blog every day in Swedish. “I assume she has good things to say,” says Campbell with a laugh.

Their belief is that people of any age group, anywhere in the world can get on board with basic acts of intentional kindness. Campbell and Scott have created a teen deck and family deck on top of the original Boom Boom Cards. “We talk about rebranding kindness,” says Campbell. “We think that kindness has gotten a bad rap over the years, and gotten schmaltzy and kind of dorky. People go, ‘Why be nice? Why be kind?’ because it’s just not cool. What we want to do is make kindness a hip and cool thing, so people will be like, ‘it’s cool to be kind.’”


Boom Boom Cards are $9.99 and are available locally at Stripe, Book Shop Santa Cruz, Capitola Book Café, and the Homeless Garden Project. For more information about Boom Boom Revolution, or to purchase cards online visit
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