Colton from Mohnton’s National Raisin Celebration at Sun-Maid | Wender Mind Kids

Colton from Mohnton's National Raisin Celebration at Sun-Maid

This year’s National Raisin Day (April 30th) was a celebration to remember for 7-year-old Colton Brady of Mohnton, PA. In March, he was one of five winners in a national competition with Sun-Maid Raisins to join their Board of Imagination for the 2022-2023 school year. From thousands of applicants, Berks County came together to vote for Mohnton’s Colton to make his dream of working directly with Sun-Maid’s Marketing team on the Board of Imagination come true!

To kick off his tenure on the board, Sun-Maid Colton and his mother, Heather Brady, flew to Fresno, California for the weekend to celebrate with fellow Board of Imagination winners from across the country. We just had to interview Colton to learn more about this unique opportunity:

Q: What did you do in California?

A: “EVERYTHING! The whole trip was a dream and I’m still in shock. We must go to the vineyard where the grapes are grown and learn about the growing process, including playing with worms and microscopes! When we got off the tour bus to go to the vineyard, DUFF GOLDMAN from Kids Baking Championship was waiting for us with his family! It was amazing! I’ve been watching this show since I was 3.5 years old and always dreamed of baking with him. He toured the vineyards with us and I got to ask him about raisins in his famous blondie recipe. He also signed my cast, which makes me wonder if I’ll ever take it off.

“After the vineyard tour, we went to the factory to see how raisins are made. When we got off the tour bus it was a huge party! There were squishy booths, popcorn booths, music, water balloons, giant bowling on the lawn and lots of other games, food and fun! I couldn’t believe they did all this for us!

“In the factory we saw a robot that packs the boxes and also drives the skid steer loader. it was so cool They also have a laser machine like Star Wars that removes all the bad raisins from a batch as it’s being washed.

“We got to make our own sour raisins at the facility which was really cool too! We also had to keep our own special hard hats that we wore during the tour and our goggles.

“After the tour we were allowed to celebrate! Lunch was set up under a huge tent so we could all eat together. At that point, the members of the Board of Imagination and our parents were like family. Children played, mothers talked and took a million photos. It was fantastic.

“Then we actually watched a baking demo with Duff Goldman. He made thumbprint cookies with a raisin filling and a sprinkle of icing and they were delicious! Mom and I laughed when he caught his towel on fire… apparently even the experts sometimes make a mistake and laugh about it!

“After the baking demo, there was a ceremony to honor and celebrate Jackie’s retirement after our Board of Imagination Day (which she had long planned and developed!). Mother, of course, got tears in her eyes, even though they had only just met.

“My face was on stage around the screen along with the faces of my friends from Board of Imagination. It was so surreal to see! I really felt famous. I was allowed to go on stage with CEO Harry – that was really cool too!

“Next we went to the company store to do some shopping, which was super fun.

“We went back to our hotel to change and relax for an hour. I went swimming of course – who doesn’t love a hotel pool!

“Then we went to the Fresno Zoo together. It was a beautiful night, I had so much fun with my new friends exploring the zoo before our dinner ceremony. We saw a lion eating – it was really great. We had a swanky dinner party in the African Safari section to celebrate the Board of Imagination retiring members and a dedication ceremony for myself and the new Board! I have to sit down at table one…. That means I sat with the CEO Harry and his family. Which was really great because I had a lot of questions… specifically about the Grape Jerky April Fool’s joke I saw on Facebook. His 3 year old son reminded me so much of my little brother that I loved playing with him too.

“After dinner we had to make our first bid decision. We had to hold a meeting to determine which nonprofit Sun-Maid to donate to in 2022. Without our parents, just the 5 of us new board members huddled together after watching a video explaining to everyone how to decide. We voted for Alex’s Lemonade Stand! That was my favorite because I hate cancer. I also love hosting my own lemonade stands!”

Where did your other board members come from?

“Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Michigan, Chicago, California, Arkansas

“It was really great to learn about their conditions. On our first night we actually got to share a souvenir or gift with our other board members. I took my favorite unique pretzels and shared my Friendship Trail Mix Recipe with my new friends. If you want the recipe, my mom put it on her website.”

What surprised you the most?

“Getting off the plane for a layover in Texas and meeting four other board members! We were able to identify ourselves by the amazing Sun Maid duffel bags we received in the mail with our itinerary. It was the first moment that made the whole experience seem real. Sun-Maid also had a big banner and a team to welcome us at the airport which was so cool! I was also impressed with the party limousine that took us from the airport to the hotel… and then again when I entered my hotel room to find a large box of goodies and balloons just for me! A new backpack personalized with my name, a pair of sunglasses, raisins of course, and lots of really meaningful items including my own digital camera!”

What were some of your fondest memories?

“That is a difficult question! Sun-Maid did everything perfectly. Meeting Duff was great. Playing trivia on the tour bus was cool too! I also really enjoyed playing cards, hide and seek, and swimming in the hotel pool with my new friends and our parents. I learned how to play spoon and taco goat cheese pizza and also got to teach my new friends Uno and War.”

What was the most interesting thing you learned?

“That SunMaid Raisins are in A1 Steak Sauce. We also did a tour to Yosemite National Park and I learned about the gold rush and the giant sequoias which were HUGE but their seeds were tiny!”

What do you hope to do on the board this year?

“I see my new friends again! Also trying new raisins and sharing my love for raisins and the Sun Maid company with my whole school.”

Will National Raisin Day ever be the same?

“It was the best weekend of my life. I will always celebrate National Raisin Day… hopefully with my new raisin friends!”

Would you like to add anything else?

“Thanks to everyone who voted for me! I am infinitely grateful for this experience and opportunity. It is beyond my wildest dreams and I could not have done it without the love, support and encouragement of my community. Especially my mom. She always tells me shoot for the moon because if you miss you’ll end up among the stars. I definitely didn’t miss this time – but I also almost gave up on the interview part of the competition and I’m so glad I didn’t! I hope that every child who follows my story will take my mother’s advice and chase their dream! In the end, if it doesn’t work the first time – you will learn what to do to make it work another time! Also, the worst thing that happens is you end up exactly where you were before you tried. So why not do your best and see!”