Captains make RFL smooth sailing
Being a Relay for Life team leader isn't really that scary.
"Mainly it's just coming up with the people (for a team) and keeping track of them," said Sherry Moran, who along with Mary Ann Nicolay is spearheading the effort to recruit teams for this year's American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Eudora this summer.
A meeting at 7 p.m. March 24 at Eudora West Elementary School, 1310 Winchester Road, will kick off the event for the team's leaders. Although many teams show up year after year, Moran said Relay organizers always hoped to draw more.
Prospective team captains need to come to the kickoff meeting knowing the relay will be June 6 and 7 so they can clear their calendars and organize a team of eight to 12 people.
"If they're willing and they think they can put that many people together, we're going to work them through," Moran said.
Captains are responsible for gathering the $10 registration fees from each of their teammates, as well as collecting the money they raised in order to turn it in on "bank night."
The American Cancer Society recommends each team member raise $100, so ideally a team of 10 people would raise $1,000 for cancer research. Moran said regrouping teams were encouraged to set their goals higher each year.
"When you set them higher, you try harder," she said.
In addition to the kickoff, bank night, a team captain's luncheon and the event itself, Moran said team captains were invited -- not required -- to attend monthly team captain meetings.
"If they come, it's going to make their Relay so much better, because we can help them with things they don't understand," Moran said.
Some team captains organize additional meetings for their team members, especially when the teams involve children. Moran said busy adults often kept in contact through the phone.
"There's not a whole lot of time commitment," she said.
An optional part of a team captain's duties is to lead the members in creating a team theme, which can involve costumes, props and a fancy campsite -- or not. Moran said she had seen teams who just circled lawn chairs on the grass of their campsite and had plenty of fun.
"If you have a theme, you're going to be so much more into it," she said. "A theme is a way for a team to come together and have fun, but it's not required."
Another option for teams at this year's Eudora Relay will be to create gift baskets correlating to their respective themes. The baskets will be auctioned off, the money going toward the team total.
The seemingly-daunting task of pulling a team together doesn't have to be that intimidating, Moran said. Some prospective captains gathered a team by posting a sign-up sheet at work or church, for instance.
"We've had some really shy team captains," Moran said. "You don't have to be a really forward person."
The majority of teams comprised co-workers, Moran said, but families and groups of friends offered potential, too.
"A lot of times if someone in their life is affected by cancer, they're more gung-ho," she said.
The Relay had plenty of room for organizations, too, she said, like 4-H or scouting groups. One year, Moran said when local firefighters put together a team, their spouses started their own team -- and some friendly competition.
A great opportunity for a similar scenario, Moran said, would be if a group of children whose parents were on a team got together to compete against their moms and dads. After all, her daughter, Ashley, has participated on a team with fellow high school students for the past several years. Last year's Eudora Relay brought out a team of second-graders.
"It kind of shows you almost anyone can do it," Moran said.
That includes people who can't gather a team but want to participate anyway. Moran said each year the Eudora Relay usually had a team comprising individuals from the community who couldn't find a team, creating a way for them to meet new people as well as raise money for cancer research.
Individuals not on a team but wanting to participate can call Moran at 542-3937 or Nicolay at 542-2245.
"We'll find them a team," Moran said. "We can always find a place for them."