We previously heard from Molly Fast who staffed the first Susan G. Komen 3-Day of the season earlier this month. We’re now going to hear from Field Marketing Coordinator, Ann Love, who works behind the scenes all year long executing local programming to ensure walkers are well-trained and have fundraised for their participation in the Michigan 3-Day.
Michigan is my home event and, after walking it three times and crewing it seven, I’m anxious to kick-off my second time as the local Field Marketing Coordinator (FMC). We’re the first event and I always get a little nervous. I want to kick the season off right, after all!
Tuesday, August 4th
I’m officially “on event” although I won’t check into the hotel until tomorrow. My day begins with a trip to pick up an event vehicle. I grab a mini-van and head back to my house. There is camp mail to load, treats that have been donated, and a pink canopy…my office looks pretty empty as I load the car!
Next I head down to the hotel to pick up Jennifer, the Michigan Participant Coach who has just arrived from the Chicago area. We’re off to Costco and Target to buy the goodies for the gourmet, DIY trail mix that our walkers love to put together in camp Friday afternoon!
When we’re done shopping, I drop Jennifer back at the hotel and head home to pack and finish up the day answering the emails that have come in. Most of them are from members of the community who are looking for the best way to support our participants. I love how much they want to help make the weekend more special for our participants!
Wednesday, August 5th
After throwing my suitcase in the mini-van, I head back to the hotel for a 7:00 a.m. breakfast with the local team: myself, Jennifer, Gina, our Michigan Crew and Volunteer Coordinator, and Missy, our Event Production Manager. As we finish up, we meet with the rest of the staff who have gathered for our pre-event meeting. This is where we cover the basics about the route, major sites, and give an update on participation, fundraising, and must-see highlights along the way.
After lunch we meet with one of the Participant Experience Managers, Tara, to go over details for the event, I head to the opening site for ceremony rehearsal. For the first time, the FMC in each market is going to take part in both ceremonies and in the nightly camp program! I’m really excited, but also a little nervous. After several hours practicing with Dr. Sheri, Chrissy Mathews from Komen, and our incredible stage team, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make a fool of myself. I guess we’ll find out on Friday morning!
More staff have flown in today and it’s so great to see everyone after months of phone calls and web meetings.
Thursday, August 6th
Crew Day! We are officially underway! This morning I spend time getting ready for Late Check-In. This is where walkers will come visit me bright and early Friday morning if they still need to check in or if they need to print a new credential. Today, I have a few crew who need to reprint credentials and it’s great seeing so many familiar faces.
After I finish up at Crew Check-In, I do more rehearsals. Now is the time for participants who are taking part in ceremonies to arrive and learn their roles. I love how excited they are! Several of them are brand new to the event and almost all of them are breast cancer survivors. Emotions are running high, but everyone has a good time and nails their parts.
Friday morning starts early, so after rehearsals and a few last tasks to get ready for the morning, I’m off to the hotel for dinner and bedtime!
Friday, August 7th
Day one begins with my alarm at 3:45 a.m. By 4:30 a.m. I am onsite and in the Late Check-In Tent to help my manager, Molly, set up. The crew is not far behind us and they jump right in to help get things rolling. Walkers begin arriving just before 5:00 a.m. to get their credentials and, from there, we are off!
Time flies as we get walkers ready to go and, before I know it, it’s time to get ready for the Opening Ceremony! I’m more nervous with all the walkers and their spectators in the crowd watching me, but I have a great time welcoming the walkers to Michigan. It’s hard to put into words how amazing it is to see the entire Michigan 3-Day community before me from the stage. I don’t cry easily, but I’m moved to tears. Then, they’re off!
After tear-down, I drive to the other side of the building where camp will be located. We work much of the morning to get “Main Street” set up. Once that’s mostly done, I’m back to rehearsal, this time for the evening’s camp show where I get the honor of presenting the Milestone Award to a very deserving participant!
Amid all the activity, the day has flown by. I grab a quick dinner and then begin circulating through the dining tent and around the 3-Day lounge, to talk to as many of our awesome participants as I can. It is amazing to see so many people that I’ve met throughout the year after they’ve completed Day One. Spirits are high and everyone seems to be smiling! I deliver some treats to folks who can’t move off the comfy pillows lining Main Street, talk to some volunteers in from Cleveland, and meet lots of folks who I haven’t gotten the chance to meet before event time. This is truly some of my very favorite time on event!
Camp show goes well. My award winner is shocked, but happy! All in all, it has been a terrific day. I head out about 9:00 p.m. for my bed, which, after the 16ish hour day, is calling me loudly!
Saturday, August 8th
I don’t have to arrive in camp until 6:00 a.m.! What?!? After sleeping in until 5:15 a.m., I’m ready to help our walkers get going. Day Two can be tough and I’m happy to offer our walkers a bit of encouragement as they make their way onto the route. It’s raining a bit, so our crew is offering up ponchos along with love and cheers.
Saturday, I spend all morning out on the route with Jennifer. We stop at several pit stops to talk to walkers. Not everyone sleeps in camp, so this is the perfect way to see some of those walkers and find out how they’re doing. They’re doing great! The rain has not dampened the enthusiasm and people are walking strong! I also check in with some of the private cheering stations that people have set up with me over the past couple of months. Walkers love the community members who come out to cheer them on and I love seeing everything they come up with!
After a quick lunch, I drop Jennifer at a pit stop and I head back to camp for rehearsal. Tonight, I’m honored to present the Local Impact Award to someone I’ve worked with for years as a crew member. After rehearsal, I’m circulating again. This time, not only with participants, but with their friends and family that have come to visit on Friends and Family Night.
After camp show (which goes splendidly) is the traditional dance party. The Youth Corps lead the way, but 83 year-old George is at least as energetic as the kids as people dance the evening away! After lights-out, we all start tearing down Main Street. With the help of the incredible crew we are done in record time and it’s off to bed!
Sunday, August 9th
Day Three in Michigan begins with a bus ride into Livonia. Jennifer and I head over there to get ready for the walkers. We are met by Rene’, Sarah, and a group of crew who will work with us to ensure everyone gets started as quickly and safely as possible.
Once the walkers are all safely on the route, Jennifer and I join them. It’s our last chance to connect with as many of our participants as we can before they get to the Participant Finish Area. Everyone is especially happy today; the route is shorter and they have the Closing Ceremony to look forward to.
Speaking of the Closing Ceremony… after lunch I head to the Participant Finish Area. I get a chance to do a bit a little more rehearsing and then go meet the face painter that will be painting at the new Kids Zone. The rest of the afternoon is a blur of greeting participants to the finish line and welcoming friends and family.
At 4:30 p.m. the Closing Ceremony begins. The Victory Walk is always an inspiring sight–even more so now that I get to see everything from the stage. I’m honored to welcome the all-volunteer crew home after their journey. The salute to the survivors always chokes me up and it is the perfect way to end the event. Well, that and a little more dancing!
Once the ceremony is over and most of the crowd has headed home, I jump in my van to collect all the lost and found items, leftover camp mail, and anything else that needs to be dealt with locally. Once everything is collected, I head back to our load-out lot and help disassemble some signage before getting called back to command because some folks have returned looking for their lost and found items. By the time I get those back in the hands of the owners, it’s time to call it an event. There is still much work to be done on site, but I’m heading home. Tomorrow, I will unpack and then return the van.
It’s been a long weekend, but a rewarding one. I can’t imagine not being on event. It’s all come together to make for a beautiful event. Now, I’ll settle in to my less crazy post-event routine and look forward to seeing everyone at the other events that I will staff in a different role. Thank you to every person who had any part in making the Michigan 3-Day a phenomenal experience!