Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Captain Crunch Time

Speaking of Relay for Life, I happen to be our team's captain. Everyone should try it at least once. That's what I always say. And honestly, I'd love to start another team or two, but I haven't been able to drum up enough interest. For instance, I think there are PLENTY of SAIC employees in Martin County and we should have our own team. And I'm pretty sure that SAIC would support the team if we did. But I didn't get ANY takers last year. I also think it would be a hoot to have a team with my family members. But many of them no longer live in this area and it would be a bit of an inconvenience for them. So, I've not pushed that either. Still, if you're reading this, I think you should consider it.

All you have to do is...

1. Invite 7-14 people to join you. Teams can only have 8-15 members. Once you hit 16, you're TWO TEAMS!! And that's not a bad thing.

2. Raise an average of $100 per team member. You only get a T-shirt for each $100 you raise up to the number of people signed up for your team. Last year, we had 11 people on our team. We raised more around $2000. Still, only 11 T-shirts. BUT not everyone raised $100. Still, 11 T-shirts. See where I'm going with this?

3. Come up with fundraising ideas.

  • Well, I told you all about my donation request letter yesterday. I also make a letter for everyone else on my team. Theirs don't say 100 letters though; they say 25 letters...whether they send out that many or not! I write the letter, sign it, make copies, fold the letters, put my address on a letter size envelope, stuff both the letter size envelope and the letter into a business size envelope, and address the business size envelope. Then I get them...all 110+ of one of our Relay committee members. They deliver them to the American Cancer Society, who pays all postage and gets them in the mail. A couple of weeks later, the money starts rolling in. Quick and easy!

  • But there's also the old stand-by's: bake sales, yard sales, soup supper, raffles, etc.

  • Then there are more unique ways to raise money. We have a restaurant in town where all the teenagers hang out. And they have carhops that take your order. Well, during prom weekend, the owner gave the girls off so they could get all dolled up for their prom and he'd let our Relay team work in their place. All of our wages and tips go to Relay for Life. (That restaurant has changed ownership this year, so I'm not sure if that's still going to be an option for us.)

  • Also, there is an auction during the Relay weekend where money is raised. Each team can submit up to five items for auction. Whatever is pulled in for our five items, gets counted towards our team's total dollars raised.

4. Decorate the campsite. There is always a theme and this year it's Relayville... a play on Margaritaville. So, think beaches and flamingos and shades and Hawaiian shirts. Jimmy Buffet music! It'll be a lot of fun. So, we usually put up a large tent/canopy and decorate it according to the theme. That's usually pretty fun.

5. Make a banner. Every team has a banner. The rules for the banner are pretty easy. You have to be able to carry the darn thing around the track once. It has to have your team number and team name on it. And...well, that's about it. I usually make the banner the day before the event. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. But in the grand scheme of priorities, it's one of the less important ones.

6. Schedule. There's a schedule. Actually, there are two.

  • One is a schedule of events. It includes a Survivor Dinner sometime during the week. That's when we invite all cancer survivors and their care-givers to a meal where they are catered to. Then of course, we have the Opening Ceremony (where the survivors make the first lap and the sponsors are thanked), Closing Ceremonies (where we learn how much money we raised), and the Luminaria Ceremony (where we light candles for cancer victims and survivors...literally HUNDREDS OF THEM!!! It's absolutely inspiring! Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.)

  • The other schedule is for the walkers. Yes folks, it is a Relay for Life and that means that we walk. The plan is that (except for during the ceremonies) there is a member of each team on the track at all times. So, each person on the team walks 2-3 half-hour shifts.

My plan is to have a chairperson for fundraising, campsite setup, the banner, and the walk schedule. Then I just have to keep everyone informed. Should make Captain Crunch Time SO MUCH easier. And since I'm also on my 20-year Class Reunion Committee, I can use all the help I can get!

By the way, our Relay is June 5th and 6th. If you happen to be in Martin County, Indiana, during that weekend, we'd love to see you. If you'd like to make a donation, just leave a comment and I'll get back with you.

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