First of all, I wish to thank everyone who participated in Relay for Life in any way—building, creating things to sell in vendors or at auction, the DJ-Off participants, the auction participants, and those who donated monetarily. You all rock, and with your help, we can kick cancer!
Special thanks to Avariel Falcon for being my co-captain, helping to keep me within hailing distance of sanity, and most especially for raising the New Babbage flag outside of Babbage. You’re much better at that than I am!
Special thanks also to Nathaniel Lorefield for helming the building team for the campsite, and to all the builders for creating a spectacular tower! If you haven't been there yet, you have until Friday to see it!
Now on to the discussion part, which, admittedly, will be long. Which probably means those whom I’d most like to read it will TL;DR it.
As Victor would say, “…sigh.”
Tenk, you and I are going to have to agree to disagree. To me, there is a difference between being low-key and being passive, and I thought this year was dangerously close to being passive. Think about it—what organized, community-wide events did we have? The balloon judging (yes, I’ll address that more below), the DJ-Off, and the auctions (also more below). That’s it—unless there was something done in June while I was gone that wasn’t mentioned on the BAR, and if so, please let me know so I can thank whoever it was! (Yes, there was also Emerson and Victor’s thing, which was a very enjoyable read, and many thanks to them for doing it! But I don’t know that it quite counts as a community-wide event.) You cannot tell me that was too much. Don’t even try.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not at all knocking what we did. And this has nothing to do with the amount of money raised. I have not, would not, and will not ever denigrate any individual for the amount they donate. You give what you can—I fully understand that, and take the lesson of Luke 21:1-4 to heart. What I am talking about is community engagement and enthusiasm. That is what I think we lacked this year. We had individual participation—wonderful individual participation—but, to me, no sense of community participation.
I can’t help but keep thinking back to 2 years ago, and the Athenaeum challenge. Where is the spirit that allowed us to raise over 20,000L in one evening, just by me showing my knees and dancing in front of the Athenaeum? It’s not the amount that concerns me—it’s the spontaneous enthusiasm that drove it. I want to recapture that spirit for us. I don’t know how. I need your help.
Now, about the balloon judging. That was a last-minute suggestion, one which I agreed to as I thought that format was an established one for RFL fundraising. I’ve seen other contests outside New Babbage where awards were based on kiosk donations—heck, I won a photography contest in Caledon that way a couple years ago. And given the… conditions of this year, I rather doubted, and still doubt, ballot-box stuffing to be a real issue. However, IF we do such a thing again, perhaps we could offer two award/ribbon structures—one based on judging by a select group, and one a “People’s Choice” based on kiosk donations. Would that address the various concerns?
The RFL auctions. The backbone of our fundraising. An exhilarating weekend. I DO NOT want to do it that way again. It was unutterably exhausting, and both auctions went far over their allotted times. I can think of two potential solutions to this, other than finding other people to do the actual auctioneering themselves. 1) Split them up over two weekends—I was thinking one set of people/thing auctions in April, and one in June. 2) Have some people/things offered in a week-or-so-long silent auction. My preference is for option 1, as I do see a potential problem with option 2—people might view being in the silent auction as less “prestigious” than being in the live auction, so I’d likely have a heck of a time divvying people and things up between them. And no, I don’t think we should move everything to a silent auction. Exhausting as they are, the live auctions are fun—you never know what’ll happen at them! *cough*Victor*cough*hyacinth*cough* What do you folks think?
Well, I think I’ve rambled on enough, and I really do need to get to work. Thank you all again, and I hope to see civil discussion and lots of suggestions here!