You want to help at the Relay for Life, but aren’t sure who to contact or how.
It’s the weekend, you’re busy and you can only spare an hour or so, and wonder if your help will really make a difference.
The answer is a resounding yes.
Being an all-day event, the Relay for Life on June 8 offers many opportunities to help out in different ways, from entering a team and setting up chairs to data entry and everything in between.
With children, pets, yard work, jobs, families, sports and chores, few people can, or are expected, to make a day-long commitment. Helping out for a few hours, sponsoring a team or team member, or making a donation are all ways that quickly add up to making a big difference for someone you know battling cancer.
“We need lots and lots of volunteers for everything,” says relay co-ordinator Alaina Fryer, “and people can volunteer for as little or as many hours as they can handle.”
Starting on June 7, volunteers are needed at Centennial Park at 2:30 p.m. to help set up the tents, tables, and chairs for Saturday’s relay.
There is a wide range of volunteer positions available on Saturday, beginning with team registration. Six people are required for this task starting at 9 a.m. Teams will be arriving up to 9:45 a.m. with the relay starting at 10.
Volunteers are required from 9 to 10 a.m. to take the paperwork and match the donations to the total on the front of the team’s envelope.
After the initial registration, starting at 10 a.m. and going until 6 p.m., two hour shifts need to be filled for counting money and entering amounts in a data base system. There will be two people trained on the system on hand all day. The final shift will run a bit later – 6 p.m. to 8:30 or 9.
The concession tent will also require volunteers – contact Fryer for more details on this station.
The kids’ tent will be buzzing with activity, and a lot of energetic, fun-loving volunteers are needed for this area. This tent runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and approximately 20 people are required to help out during the day, running games and activities, and making sure participants are having a safe but awesome time.
The luminary/survivor ceremony is part of the registration tent chores, and a critical part of the day. While the ceremony can be quite emotional, many find it is their favourite part of the day, Fryer says. “We are looking for artistic people who can create beautiful things. The luminary bags are $5 and sold on the day of the relay, or can be pre-purchased through me.”
While most people decorate their own bags, if you pre-purchase, the bags are decorated on the day of the relay. A volunteer is also required to collect the money for the bags.
Volunteers are needed to fold down the edges of the luminary bags, fill them with gravel and place the candle inside.
These bags will be placed along the creek between the two bridges. A tea light is placed inside and lit, explains Fryer, for people who have lost someone to cancer, or to say “I’m thinking of someone with cancer.”
While eight teams are registered, she adds the more teams the merrier. Folks who want to register a team it’s easiest to do so by going online to www.relaybc.ca.
If you would like to join an existing team, you can go to the same website and see the teams currently registered. An icon beside the team name indicates they are still accepting team members, Fryer notes.
“Registering online is the best way and it’s very, very simple.”
After the ceremony on Saturday night (after 10 p.m.), more volunteers are required to take down the tents, return tables and chairs, and do a general cleanup. Garbage cans from around the park are gathered in a central location, and a walkabout of the park ensures no garbage is left behind.
If people wish to donate, there are four ways. Donations can be made online at www.relaybc.ca, directly to any team members, to any committee member, and, of course, donations can be made at Centennial Park on the day of the relay.
People are encouraged to come out and spend the day, either as a spectator or volunteer or both. Every dollar, every moment of time donated makes a difference, Fryer says.
“While the day can be emotional and tiring and sometimes it’s a lot of work, it’s amazing to see everyone come together to experience the magic of this day.”
For more information or to sign up to volunteer, contact Fryer at 250-706-8082 or weekdays at 250-395-4051. She can also put you in touch with the other committee members.