They come like harmless vandals in the night.

Harmless, because their only intention is installing a flock of pink flamingos on a front lawn.

Franklin County's 12th Man Club – whose mission it is to promote pride, respect, spirit and unity among the FCHS football team, student body, staff, coaches, families and community – has gone with the “flamingo flocking” fundraiser this summer as the team amps up for a long-awaited return to school and the 2020 gridiron season.

“I wanted the boys to be more involved with the community,” says club co-president Annette Poe-Smith, in her second year serving in the position.

“I have been involved with 12th Man for four years now, and noticed the club was struggling with money,” she adds. “So, I decided to try and make some changes. This year, I had all the seniors meet at my house with multiple ideas to choose from; the boys choose the fundraisers they're to do this year.”

One of those the players settled on was the flamingo flock.

The idea resembles chain letters or a game of tag, whereby donors pay for a business or resident to be “flocked” in the overnight hours. Along with the pink birds comes a note requesting a donation and a name of that location's choosing, who will become the next landing site, and so on. The senior boys – including Poe-Smith's son, Cameron Smith, one of the returning linemen – chose the first “victim” to get the game underway.

Among the dozen or so yards suddenly becoming a little brighter were First Financial Bank and the home of head football coach Wes Gillman.

“There are four 'teams,'” explains Poe-Smith. “The senior captain of each team chooses someone from each grade, plus whoever else they would like. The boys are then texted by me to go and pick up the flamingos and relocate them.”

The 12th Man Club has become a vital source of resources for anything the program may need.

“I became involved with the club last year when my son started playing football,” adds Ruth Geis, mother of junior-to-be wide receiver/defensive back Hunter Geis.

“I was impressed with the amount of work and dedication the club had to the team and how much support they provide the players and parents, and I wanted to help,” she says.

As treasurer, Geis assists the club in working directly with the football program, the school and coaches “to provide needed support/equipment to the team and keep costs down for parents, so every child has an opportunity to play.”

The 12th Man, with a continued helping hand from the community, coordinates activities that ensure the chance of team success.

According to the officers – others are co-president Melissa Tschaenn, co-vice presidents Eric Seal and Jenny McCreary and secretary Beth Erfman – the club supplied the team with new uniforms last season and feeds the boys before and after games.

“I love being able to come up with and promote these fundraisers,” Poe-Smith says, adding “I won't know what to do next year since this is my son's senior year.”

The flamingos will continue until school is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Aug. 5. In the meantime, the third annual golf outing benefiting FCHS football will be held Friday, July 17 at Brook Hill Golf Club. On Saturday, July 25, there will be a huge rummage sale in the Brookville United Methodist Church parking lot. Donations – anything from adult and children clothing, shoes, toys, books, DVDs and decorations is welcome - can still be dropped off at Poe-Smith's house (15 West 7th Street, Brookville).

Follow the flock on Instagram (fcfootball_flock) or on the Franklin County's 12th Man Club Facebook page.

“Thank you to the community for having a sense of humor and supporting the team!” adds Poe-Smith.