The Cullman County Relay for Life is BIG. I mean for our county size, we are one of the top in the nation. And everyone seems to go all out, which is good. But the whole thing seems to be too competitive and somewhat political, which is not good. My understanding is that the real point of the Relay is to raise money for the American Cancer Society to use in the fight against cancer, which is GOOD. Another good thing about the RELAY is that it seems to bring the community together in an effort to do something good. YEAY!!! However, our Relay seems to be as much about who has the best campsite as who raises the most money. That means that in some cases, as much money, time and attention is spent on the campsite as is raised and spent for the ACS, and that's where my "grapes" come in.
Ya'll know I belong to a wonderful Relay for Life team and that we decided to try to do something really unique and special for this year's Relay. To start off, we wrote, created and produced an original, one of a kind, never been seen before MOVIE, about a young child with Cancer. (if you don't already know all about it, stay tuned, I'm working on blogging retroactively about the whole thing) Anyway, after a whole lot of time, money, brain cells and phone calls, we finally got to Relay Night and set up the most wonderful booth. We created a MOVIE THEATRE out of an Army tent that was set up on a soccer field, and we did it without "real" electricity. Meaning we had to use a generator instead of just plugging in to a quiet outlet, (unlike the power board who somehow managed to run temporary electrical service to their booth. HMM. Imagine that) Anyway, our theatre was complete with big screen, movie projector, popcorn maker, and an great concession stand, thanks to my favorite chaplain. AND WE RAISED approx. $7200.00 to boot. So we did an amazing job.
Anyway, the night of the Relay they have contests: Best team T-shirt, Best Spirit Stick, they have a talent contest and a hoola- hoop contest.
But the BIG contests are:
1. who raises the most money and
2. who has the best campsite?
OK, so the most money contest will most likely be won by the team who has the most members helping and works the hardest. (That's logical.) Usually that’s one of the bigger teams, for instance, the companies who have employees and do fundraisers all year long including payroll deduction etc. It’s hard for the little teams to really compete. So to compensate, the Relay organizers have come up with catagories, ie: gold, silver and bronze teams, best family team, best company team, yada yada yada. To me that means do your absolute best and turn the money in with a smile & forget the awards.
The best Campsite contest this year was a complete farce. It has been won by the same team for year after year. Axys. (They are a huge company here in town who works on government contracts including making the mirrors for the Hubble Telescope.) I will say that they have done some amazing things in the past to win. Last year they built a “real” volcano that rumbled and roared and spewed smoke and “flames” from the top. It was cool and deserved to win, LAST YEAR. This year however, for the first time the Relay organizers came up with a THEME for the event. (they came up with the theme AFTER we were already done making our movie. coincidence?, karma?, hmm) The THEME was “MOVIES & MUSICALS” the point was to use a movie theme and tweek it to say something about the fight to find a cure for cancer. So there were campsites with everything from VIVA LAS VEGAS, to JUNGLE BOOK and SNOW WHITE, and then there was Axys who chose “HAIR”. They did a hippie theme and pulled two VW buses onto their campsite, the buses were painted all hippi-ish and they put campfires and protest signs and afghans on cots and everyone wore tie die and hippie wigs. They were protesting Cancer or something. It was cute, but…
DID I MENTION THAT WE MADE AN ORIGINAL MOVIE ABOUT A CHILD WHO HAS CANCER AND WON THE BATTLE? AND DID I MENTION THAT WE CREATED A THEATRE TO SHOW THE MOVIE @ THE RELAY? (here’s a picture)
There were some great campsites and evidently the judges did have a hard time deciding. They even came back to our campsite a couple times to look around and ask questions. And evidently they had such a hard time deciding that they asked if they could come up with an extra category just so they could acknowledge enough teams. The category they came up with is:
“Best in Capturing the True Meaning of Relay for Life – Campsite”
Let’s just call it Miss Congeniality and let it go.
DID I MENTION THAT WE MADE AN ORIGINAL MOVIE ABOUT A CHILD WHO HAS CANCER AND WON THE BATTLE? AND DID I MENTION THAT WE CREATED A THEATRE TO SHOW THE MOVIE @ THE RELAY?
Well we got 2nd place in that category. 1st place went to the Power Board whose theme was “STATE FAIR”. They did a lot of work and their booth looked good, (remember the team who just happened to be able to run their own temporary power to their campsite? Of course it looked good), but I’m still having a hard time figuring out how they captured the
I think I mentioned: ORIGINAL MOVIE, A CHILD WHO HAS CANCER, WON THE BATTLE, & CREATING A THEATRE TO SHOW THE MOVIE @ THE RELAY?
Bottom line, next year I say just give the awards to Axys up front, and move on. The rest of us will spend our time and effort raising as much money as we can to help with Cancer Research, and maybe someday a Cure will be found and the Campsites won’t matter anyway.
Now, I really do feel better and I’m going to let it go and see if I can turn these grapes into really good wine for next year