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Relay For Life Entertainment and Activities Guidebook American Cancer Society Mid-South Division 1-800-227-2345


TABLE OF CONTENTS Step 1 – Recognize Your Commitment ..................................................................................... 4 Position Description Committee and Sub-Committee Responsibilities Organizational Charts and Suggested Role Delineations Step 2 – Gather Your Resources ............................................................................................... 13 Guidebook Relay University Training Step 3 – Recruit Your Partners ................................................................................................. 14 Where to Look for Top Notch Partners Defining Expectations with your Sub-Committee Partners Sub-Committee Recruitment Checklist Step 4 – Establish a Plan .......................................................................................................... 16 The Differences between Relay Entertainment, Ceremonies, and Activities Balancing New, Fresh Ideas and Relay Traditions Building an Entertainment Contact Hit List Step 5 – Recruit Entertainment Acts ........................................................................................ 18 Different Kinds of Entertainment Acts to Consider Asking and Confirming Entertainment Acts Scheduling Entertainment Step 6 – Organize Activities ..................................................................................................... 21 Different Activities to Consider for Kids, Adults, and Around the Track Scheduling and Planning for Activities Encouraging Team Activities Step 7 – Plan Relay Ceremonies ............................................................................................... 24 The Three Relay Ceremonies, Opening, Closing and Luminaria (plus the new Fight Back Ceremony) Working with Other Sub-Committees on Ceremony Planning Balancing Emotion and Length of Ceremonies Step 8 – Determine Logistical Needs ........................................................................................ 30 Determining Logistical and Layout Needs for Entertainment and Activities Scheduling and Entertainment Transitions Working with the Logistics Sub-Committee


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook Step 9 – Secure Awards and Prizes ........................................................................................... 32 Deciding Awards Securing Prizes Distributing Awards and Prizes Step 10 – Create a Relay Program ............................................................................................ 34 Collecting All Program Information Program Layout Options Printing the Programs Step 11 – On-Site Management ............................................................................................... 36 Day-Of Entertainment, Activities, Ceremonies and Awards Management On-Site Problem Solving Set Up and Tear Down Step 12 – Wrap Up .................................................................................................................. 38 Returning Borrowed and Rented Items The Importance of Thank You’s Leaving a Legacy for Future Years Entertainment & Activities Chair Appendix Tools ....................................................................................................................................... 42 Entertainment and Activities Goal Tracking Worksheet ................................................................... .42 Sample Entertainment and Activities Sub-Committee Timeline ....................................................... 45 Partnership Agreement Overview ..................................................................................................... 47 Sample Partnership Agreement ........................................................................................................ 49 Tips and Ideas ......................................................................................................................... 51 Overview of the “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.” Initiative ....................................................... 51 Ideas and Best Practices for Relay Entertainment ............................................................................ 55 Relay Activity Idea List ....................................................................................................................... 62 Overview of Team Campsite Themes and Activities ......................................................................... 67 Closing Ceremony Tips ....................................................................................................................... 71 Song Suggestions for Ceremonies ..................................................................................................... 73 Samples and Examples ............................................................................................................ 75 Sample Activities and Entertainment Tracking Worksheet ............................................................... 75 Sample Activities Schedule ................................................................................................................ 76 Sample Fight Back Ceremony Script .................................................................................................. 78 Sample Relay Entertainment Feedback Form ................................................................................... 81 Sample Relay Bucks Sheet ................................................................................................................. 82 Sample Scavenger Hunt Activity List ................................................................................................. 83 Kids Walk ........................................................................................................................................... 84 Sample Theme Lap Ideas ................................................................................................................... 87 2

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook Basic Relay For Life Background Information ........................................................................... 89 History of Relay For Life ..................................................................................................................... 89 Relay For Life Standards .................................................................................................................... 90 Keys to Successful Relays ................................................................................................................... 91 Relay Growth: Focus on the 5 Ds ....................................................................................................... 93 Sample Relay Timeline....................................................................................................................... 95



Step 1 – Recognize Your Commitment As an American Cancer Society volunteer, you are taking a courageous step in the fight against cancer. The work you are doing and the dollars you are raising now will have both immediate results in funding patient services and cancer education initiatives and long term results in funding cancer research to find cures and more effecting treatments for the many different kinds of cancer. This guidebook will lead you through the steps necessary to be successful as an Entertainment & Activities Chair. You also have the help and support of your Event Chair and staff partner. Together, your local Relay Planning Committee will join thousands of other communities across the country in taking steps to fight cancer through Relay For Life!

The Entertainment & Activities sub-committee plans and organizes the parts of the Relay that make it fun, meaningful and memorable to Relay participants. They plan Relay Entertainment for participants to watch, Relay Activities for Relayers to participate in, and Relay Ceremonies for participants to be inspired by. This is a very important role in keeping the Relay fresh and exciting from year to year in order to keep teams and survivors interested in coming back again and again. You will experience many successes and challenges before you reach the end of your journey. Here are the steps to take to be a successful Relay For Life Entertainment & Activities Chair:



Position Summary: The Entertainment & Activities Chair and sub-committee are responsible for overseeing all entertainment, activities, ceremony, and award arrangements for the Relay For Life event.

Responsibilities: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Recruit subcommittee partners - Entertainment, Activities, Ceremonies & Program, and Awards & Prizes Attend the Relay committee meetings and maintain communication with other event chairs. Plan a balanced schedule of new and old entertainment and activity ideas for the Relay Recruit quality entertainment acts throughout the Relay Organize and encourage fun activities throughout the Relay Plan quick and meaningful Relay Ceremonies Secure awards and prizes for the Relay Print Relay program/schedule for participants on site. Manage entertainment and activities on site at the Relay Recruit teams among community contacts. Promote Relay as an event within the community. During the event, thank teams, sponsors, survivors, and other participants whenever possible.

Qualifications/Skills: • • • •

Knowledge of and commitment to the American Cancer Society Mission. Knowledge of the community for recruitment of volunteers. Interest in leadership with the American Cancer Society. Detail-oriented.

Support Provided: • • •

Receives training from Event Chair or American Cancer Society staff partner. Guide book with complete expectations, instructions and resources. All necessary print materials.

Staff & Volunteer Partners: • • • •


Overall Event Chairperson American Cancer Society Relay Staff Partner Subcommittee members Volunteers

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook Rol e on the Relay Planning Committee Your Event Chair has asked you to fill this Committee position because you bring unique talents and skills to do this role well! As a Relay Planning Committee member, your role is to take care of all aspects of your focus area, Entertainment & Activities, to the best of your ability for the Relay For Life event. As a member of the Relay Planning Committee, you should: • •


Attend all Relay Planning Committee meetings (or at least send one member of your Entertainment & Activities sub-committee if you are unable to attend a meeting). For summer Relay events, meetings are typically once a month during the fall/winter and more often as the Relay approaches. Work on your focus area outside of Relay Planning Committee meetings. o Relay Planning Committee Meetings are not “group decision making time”. You’re Event Chair and the committee trusts you to take care of your focus area without a lot of input from the whole committee during meetings. o Relay Planning Committee meetings should be an opportunity to report back on progress your sub-committee has made in your focus area. For example, for a June Relay, here are some things you might want to report on during different times of the year: –– In the fall, report to the committee on your plans for making the Relay Entertainment, Activities, Ceremonies, and Awards fresh and exciting for the upcoming year. –– Throughout the fall, assist the Team Development sub-committee with team recruitment and Kickoff planning to help make the Kickoff fresh and exciting. –– In the spring, assist the Team Development sub-committee with ideas to keep the Team Captain Meetings fresh and exciting. Also communicate your team campsite activity plans and award plans with the Team Captains. –– Throughout the spring, make regular reports on your progress recruiting and confirming entertainment acts, planning activities, and gathering prize donations for the Relay. Also report on Ceremony planning progress. –– In April, report on draft entertainment and activities schedule for the Relay with any holes still needing to be filled. Also report on collaborations with the Logistics sub-committee for the layout of the entertainment and activity areas on site, any stage/sound system updates, etc. –– In early May, report on full entertainment and activities schedule as well as solid ceremony plans for group feedback before being finalized. Also present a solid list of donated awards and prizes and plans for distributing them. Also begin to collect information from all subcommittees for putting together the Relay program. –– In late May, present final Entertainment and Activities schedule, final ceremony plans, and final prize and award list to the committee. Also collect final changes for program information, and present plans for program printing and distribution. –– In June, re-confirm all entertainment acts, and distribute copies of the Relay program to teams at Bank Night to promote the Relay Entertainment & Activities. And prepare for managing Relay Entertainment, Activities, Ceremonies and Awards on-site at the Relay.


Communicate regularly with your Event Chair. You should touch base with your Event Chair regularly outside of Planning Committee meetings. Touching base with your Event Chair should include progress reports, questions, and any issues you may be dealing with. Your Event Chair is there to help and support you.

Be ready to discuss big pieces of the Relay that affect the whole committee at different times during the season o For instance, team recruitment and the Kickoff are big pieces at the beginning of the Relay season that the whole committee should be helping with. o Make sure you are spreading the word about Relay to your friends, family and co-workers and passing warm leads for teams and sponsors on to those sub-committees. • Take advantage of the opportunity to work together with other sub-committee Chairs in other focus areas on topics that overlap. We have provided a list of possible collaborations for you below, but this is not an all encompassing list. o For instance, work closely with the Team Development sub-committee to assist with keeping all meetings exciting and fresh, and also to effectively communicate entertainment and activities details to Team Captains. o Work closely with the Logistics sub-committee to finalize all site layout plans for Entertainment and Activities areas, and also to secure necessary logistical items like a stage, sound system, audience chairs, activity tent/tables, etc. o Work with all sub-committees to collect important information for the Relay program (possibly including a team list, sponsor list, site map, Relay schedule, Relay thank yous, special poetry, etc). Your

Sub-Committee As the Entertainment & Activities Chair, you have agreed to take care of the Entertainment & Activities needs of the Relay For Life event in your community. The great news is that you don’t have to do it alone! Recruit a friend or two to help you as subcommittee partners and share the volunteer work together. Everything is more fun with a partner! As the Entertainment & Activities Sub-Committee Chair, you should: •


Recruit partners to help. You can read more about this in Chapter 3. Also, suggested role delineations and a suggested organizational chart of sub-committee partners are included in the following pages. These roles are suggestions that help keep the workload manageable for each partner, but each Relay ultimately chooses how to distribute the work based on the skills, abilities, and time of the volunteers involved.


• •

Delegate clearly. Make sure that every partner on your [specific] sub-committee knows exactly what they are being asked to accomplish and agrees to do it. Communicate regularly. Keep in regular contact with your partners to make sure they feel comfortable with their tasks and that things are moving forward. It may also be helpful to hold sub-committee meetings where all of your partners get a chance to meet one another, work together, and share ideas. Complete Entertainment & Activities planning tasks. Work on and complete the parts of Relay Entertainment & Activities that you have agreed to within your sub-committee. Suggested role delineations are provided in the following pages. Ensure that someone from the Entertainment & Activities sub-committee attends the Relay Planning Committee meetings. It is important that your sub-committee is represented at every meeting to report back on your progress, contribute to large Relay decisions and solutions, and work with other sub-committees as needed. Follow up. Make sure that all of the important aspects of Relay Entertainment & Activities outlined in this handbook are being covered and getting completed. Step in as needed to make sure they get done. Recognize and appreciate the contributions of your partners. Thank each of your subcommittee partners and make sure they know how much you appreciate their help and how they made a difference to the success of the Relay.

As Entertainment & Activities sub-committee partners, each person should have agreed to help you with a particular aspect of Relay Entertainment & Activities. As Entertainment & Activities SubCommittee partners, they should: • Communicate regularly. They should touch base with you as the Entertainment & Activities Chair regularly, including progress reports on their tasks, questions, and any issues they may be dealing with. You are there to help and support them. • Complete Entertainment & Activities planning tasks. Work on and complete the parts of Relay Entertainment & Activities that they have agreed to within the sub-committee. Suggested role delineations are provided in the following pages. • Attend Relay Planning Committee Meetings if the Chair is unavailable. At least one representative from the Entertainment & Activities sub-committee should attend every meeting. It is important that the sub-committee is represented to report back on progress, contribute to large Relay decisions and solutions, and work with other sub-committees as needed. 8


The “ideal” Entertainment & Activities Sub-Committee would consist of five people, so that no one person feels overwhelmed by the job. These role delineations are suggestions, and you may need to modify them for the number of people, the personalities, and the skills of your Entertainment & Activities SubCommittee partners.

Entertainment & Activities Sub-Committee Chair: Ceremonies and Program This person is responsible for: • Step 1, Recognize Your Commitment, including attending Relay Planning Committee meetings, reporting on Entertainment & Activities progress, and leading the Entertainment & Activities SubCommittee. • Step 3, Recruit Your Partners, setting overall entertainment goals and direction, and helping subcommittee partners in their tasks as needed. • Step 4; Establish a Plan, by establishing a balanced entertainment and activities plan for the subcommittee to work on. • Step 7, Plan Relay Ceremonies, working with other sub-committees as needed to make them inspiring to participants. • Step 8, Determine Logistical Needs, which includes working with the Logistics sub-committee to make sure that the site is laid out in a way that makes sense and that all necessary equipment is secured for all Entertainment & Activities sub-committee partners. • Step 10, Create a Relay Program, with a detailed schedule of all entertainment and activities throughout the Relay, and additional information as collected from other sub-committees as necessary. • Step 11, On-Site Management, especially pertaining to the ceremonies. • Coordinating Step 12, Wrap Up, to make sure everything is finished and wrapped up properly.

Entertainment & Activities Sub-Committee Partner: Entertainment This person is responsible for: • Step 4, Recruit Entertainment Acts, which involves brainstorming possible entertainment acts, contacting them and asking for a donation of their time to perform at the Relay, maintaining a contact list of all entertainment acts, confirming their participation and working with the subcommittee to fit them into the schedule. • Helping with Step 8, Determine Logistical Needs, to secure logistical needs for all entertainment acts. • Helping with Step 10, Create a Relay Program, by submitting all necessary Relay Entertainment information to be included in the program. • Step 11, On-Site Management, especially pertaining to the entertainment acts and transitions. • Helps with Step 12, Wrap Up. • Recruit a Stage Manager to help with stage performances the night of the event and making sure every performance is on time and prepped before going on stage. 9


Entertainment & Activities Sub-Committee Partner: Activities This person is responsible for: • Step 6, Organize Activities, which involves brainstorming possible interactive activities for adults and kids, as well as planning around the track activities and encouraging teams to have activities at their campsites. It also involves scheduling and planning the activities, and securing all necessary items to make activities work. • Helping with Step 8, Determine Logistical Needs, to make sure that the site is laid out in a way that the planned activities will work and all necessary logistical items are secured. • Helping with Step 10, Create a Relay Program, by submitting all necessary Relay Activity information to be included in the program. • Step 11, On-Site Management, especially pertaining to the activities on the night of Relay. • Helps with Step 12, Wrap Up.

Entertainment & Activities Sub-Committee Partner: Awards and Prizes This person is responsible for: • Helping with Step 7, Plan Relay Ceremonies, by working with the Chair to make sure Awards and Prizes are integrated into the Relay ceremonies in a seamless way. • Step 9, Secure Awards and Prizes, which involves asking many local businesses for prize donations to provide prizes for activities and for team awards. Also involves working with the Team Development committee to determine team and individual awards, and ordering awards through the staff partner or securing donated awards. • Helping with Step 10, Create a Relay Program, by submitting all necessary award and prize information to be included in the program. • Step 11, On-Site Management, especially pertaining to managing and distributing the Awards and Prizes on the night of Relay. • This person also helps with Step 12, Wrap Up. invitees Sub-Committee 10

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook entertainment

& Activities Sub-Committee

Organizational Chart Relay For Life





Step 2 – Gather Your Resources Read this Handbook You’re already completing the first step to success by reading this! Finish reading the handbook, become familiar with your new role, and use this as a reference as you continue through the Relay season. Many of your questions will be answered in the pages of this book.

Define Expectations with Your Event Chair It is important to have a conversation with your Event Chair here at the beginning so you both know what to expect of your Relay relationship. Make sure to discuss best ways and times of communicating with one another, what your personal goals are for the Relay this year, and how you can help each other make the Relay a success. We call this establishing a Partnership Agreement with one another. Setting clear expectations at the beginning will save a lot of hassle and confusion later on, so please don’t skip this important step.

Attend Relay University Training Relay University takes place each fall, and allows Relay Sub-Committee Chairs to get specific training on their role and ask any questions they may have. It also gives a great overview of what Relay For Life is, some of the things the American Cancer Society is doing to fight cancer, and other new and exciting Relay topics.

Shoot for the Stars! Learn about different awards your Relay can receive to recognize your hard work by reading the Awards section in the back of this handbook. All Relays are automatically considered for some awards, but others require that a nomination form be filled out by someone on the Relay committee. Know what the requirements are for each award now so your Relay can qualify and you don’t miss out!



Step 3 – Recruit Your Partners Find Help Entertainment & Activities covers important parts of the Relay that really impact whether participants want to come back in future years, so even though this part of the Relay can be taken care of by one individual, you will probably want to find help to do it all well. Ideally, you will want to recruit three sub-committee partners (plus yourself) to you cover the following areas: Entertainment, Activities, Ceremonies and Program, and Awards and Prizes. Suggested role delineations and a suggested organizational chart are included in the following pages. Ultimately, you can organize your Entertainment & Activities sub-committee however you decide based on the needs of your Relay and the strengths of your subcommittee partners, but the suggested roles work well and split the work in a way that makes sense and is manageable by each person.

Where to Look for Help When looking for help, first brainstorm people you know who would be good in each role. Consider the skills of each person carefully before asking, rather than simply asking your best friends because they are friends. Look for people who will compliment your skills and abilities and do the job well. Your subcommittee partners could be friends, co-workers, neighbors, or family…ask around to everyone you know because a lot of people enjoy planning entertainment and activities and would appreciate the opportunity to get involved. This could be their outlet for that event planning talent! Next, consider asking people who have jobs that compliment the skills of these roles that you may or may not know very well (possibly someone in a sales position to work on securing prize donations, a musician with connections to recruit entertainment acts, or a city activity coordinator to organize Relay activities, etc.). You might also ask around at a local university, community college, or high school for students interested in some practical event planning and community service experience for their resume. You may have several people tell you no, or they are too busy. That’s ok…don’t get discouraged. Keep asking and find the right people to help you have top notch Entertainment & Activities Sub-Committee for your Relay event.



Define Expectations with Your Sub-Committee Partners Once you have asked your partners for their help with Entertainment & Activities and they say yes, next you will want to clearly define their role and expectations. Every volunteer wants to feel needed and important to the overall success of the event, and they also want to have clear direction of how they play a part in that success. Just as you sat down with your Event Chair to define expectations of your role as Entertainment & Activities Chair, be sure to sit down with each of your sub-committee partners and define expectations for them as well. Be sure to cover their role, how they can do it well, and how your entire sub-committee can work together to succeed. Having this Partnership Agreement conversation at the beginning will set you up for success throughout the season. For example, when you recruit someone as your Activities sub-committee partner, you will want to define all the different activities that are part of that role (adults, kids, team, and track activities). That person won’t know how to be successful unless you sit down and have a clear conversation establishing it so you can both move forward. A sample Partnership Agreement worksheet is provided at the back of this guidebook for your reference.

Lead Your Sub-Committee Well Now that you have recruited your sub-committee members, be sure to lead them well by communicating regularly, empowering them to do their job, helping motivate them to work hard for the cause, getting them excited about the final Relay and appreciating all their hard work. Weekly calls work well to keep your relationship strong and keep everyone in the loop.



Step 4 – Establish a Plan What is the difference between Relay Entertainment, Activities and Ceremonies? All three types are important to your Relay event. In fact, having a good balance of great entertainment for participants to watch, activities to participate in, and inspiring ceremonies will help keep your event fresh each year and increase the satisfaction of your teams and participants, making them more likely to come back next year. Here is a quick break down of the different types: •


Relay Entertainment — This category is things for Relay participants to watch or listen to during the Relay, but not participate in. Entertainment includes bands, DJs, comedians, dancers, choirs, magicians, and other unique acts that perform in front of an audience, either on a stage or in an open area. Have someone as your stage manager to keep track of stage performances and staying on time with ceremonies Relay Activities — These are things Relay participants can do during the Relay and require participation to be successful. Activities include contests, talent shows, scavenger hunts, themed laps, card and board games, sporting events, team tent activities like face painting, and other creative ideas that involve audience participation. These can take place on stage, in open areas, around the track, or in team campsites. Relay Ceremonies — These are planned, scripted times to remind participants why they are at Relay. They are short times in the Relay where everyone focuses on the cancer fighting mission of the American Cancer Society and can include special speakers, live or taped music, symbolic gestures (like cutting or ribbon or spelling words with the luminaria bags), and other special moments that remind participants about the reason they Relay, including recognizing the people that made the Relay successful. Ceremonies can focus on many aspects of the American Cancer Society’s mission, including celebrating cancer survivors, remembering those lost to cancer, and fighting back against the disease, and are a huge part of the memorable experience for Relay participants and are part of what makes a Relay different from other types of cancer walks and fundraisers.


Develop a Balanced Plan Incorporating All Aspects Decide what kind of Entertainment & Activities you would ideally like to have at your Relay For Life event and roughly when you would like to have them during the length of your Relay. Do you have any noise or other restrictions to consider? When would you like big audience entertainment vs. group activities? When will the ceremonies take place? How do you want the entertainment and activities to transition in and out of Relay Ceremonies? How long is your event, and when do you want the big entertainment, activities and ceremonies to take place during the Relay? Once you have your plan, create a “hit list� of entertainment acts, activity ideas, and ceremony speakers to pursue so that the whole sub-committee knows who is approaching who. If you succeed in securing certain groups, or get new ideas and leads, be sure to communicate back with the group, since your plan and Relay schedule will evolve throughout the season as details change.



Step 5 – Recruit Entertainment Acts Planning Entertainment Try to recruit a variety of different entertainment acts for Relay participants to watch. Mix up bands with other types of entertainment, and try not to double book the same type during the event, unless you are doing something special like a “Battle of the Bands”. Also consider that Relay For Life is a community event representing diverse populations and ages…try to make your entertainment reflect your community and be respectful and inclusive of all ages, ethnic groups, and religious beliefs.

Keeping it Fresh It is very important that the entertainment acts at Relay are different from year to year. As tempting as it is to always have the same bands and the same dance group every year because you know they will say yes, consider mixing it up to keep it interesting for Relay participants. Only ask back the very best entertainment acts, and have a cycle of entertainment every couple of years. Carefully balance a sense of Relay tradition with keeping things interesting and exciting to keep teams coming back every year. The last thing you want is for teams to decide not to come back their third year because it was exactly the same for years one and two. Keep the Relay fresh by considering a variety of entertainment acts and thinking outside the box.

Entertainment Ideas Every Relay finds amazing entertainment groups that are willing to donate their time to the event for the cause. These are the typical entertainment acts you might be able to find in your community, but the sky is the limit on entertainment. Feel free to book any entertainment as long as they have a respectful act, since it is a family event. Make sure you clearly communicate what you expect from entertainment acts as far as their material…you don’t want negative surprises on stage in front of the whole group! • Live Bands (professionals willing to donate their time, high school bands, marching bands, etc) • Choirs/Vocal groups (adults or children, show choir, jazz group, barber shop, etc) • DJs (can also share cancer facts and make announcements) • Dance groups (ethic dancing, kids, hip hop, square dancing, cheer squads, etc) • Magicians/Illusionists • Demonstrations (martial arts, hula dancing, yo-yo, Frisbee, etc) – these could also be activities • Comedians/Improv groups/Impersonators • Movies (projected on a wall or screen during the night hours)



Consider Entertainment Transitions How are you planning to introduce each group? Do you want to recruit an emcee for the Relay, or multiple emcees to take different shifts? Or do you want the groups to introduce themselves? Make sure you clearly communicate with the entertainment acts so you both agree on what to expect for their transitions (introductions, how long to set up and tear down before the next act, etc). Plan enough time between acts to accommodate set up and tear down in the schedule and possibly work with your subcommittee partner to plan activities during entertainment transitions.

Consider the Relay Schedule Refer to your Entertainment and Activities plan and how many acts you need for the length of your Relay. Work with your sub-committee partners to determine a solid Relay schedule with a lot of entertainment and activities, but without a lot of overlap between the two. Also consider Relay ceremonies in the schedule, and don’t book entertainment during those times. You don’t want to book a great comedian during the raffle drawing, because it will split your audience. But it’s ok to have a three-legged race during a band performance, because there are a lot of people at Relay and different people might want to do different things. Consider each entertainment act and activity schedule placement carefully to craft the best overall schedule.

Consider Entertainment Equipment What logistical items do you need for Relay Entertainment? A stage? Sound system? Microphones? Sound engineer? Movie projector? Karaoke machine? See the sound/ stage suggestions in the Resource section. How much equipment are the entertainment acts providing themselves? What equipment will each act need that they are not providing? Work with the Logistics sub-committee to make sure that someone is securing the logistical items needed for the entertainment acts…in some Relays it is the Entertainment sub-committee that secures these items, and in others it is the Logistics sub-committee. Just be sure someone is working on all logistical priorities.

Consider Entertainment Layout Work with the Logistics Sub-committee to plan the site layout so that it makes sense for your Entertainment acts. Consider stage placement and direction, proximity to electricity, keeping cords out of main traffic areas, lighting for entertainment after dark, etc. Work out all logistical details with the Logistics Sub-committee for maximum Entertainment benefit.

Making the Ask Most amateur entertainment groups in your community are more than willing to perform for free if they are available. This is especially true of clubs and groups of young people who perform, because they are often looking for extra performance opportunities. Ask these groups early so you can get on their calendar. The toughest acts to secure are professionals who make a living entertaining, like DJs, professional local bands, magicians, comedians, etc. You may have to ask several DJs before you will find one to donate his or her time, especially if your Relay is on a “wedding” night. Just keep asking until you 19

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook find someone who is willing to donate their time to fight cancer, and if you can’t, there are enough other entertainment options that you don’t need that one. Often a high school student with a laptop and a little equipment might be willing to be DJ for the night. If professional entertainers are saying no, then get creative and fill your entertainment schedule with amateurs who are looking for this opportunity. Don’t get discouraged and stop asking…there are so many entertainment options out there to try!

Tracking Entertainment Acts Keep a detailed list of which acts you have secured, what time they can perform, what equipment they are bringing, what equipment they need, and above all, a good contact number (preferably a cell phone). Call them two weeks before Relay to confirm their participation, and what time they should arrive (at least a half hour before they perform or more if they need extra setup time). The last thing you want is for an entertainment act to forget about their commitment to the Relay and then you can’t reach them when they are supposed to perform at the event. Make sure you have your contact list with you at the Relay so you can call and check on each group if they don’t arrive on time. This list will also be very helpful for next year as the Entertainment & Activities subcommittee can ask the best performers to come back again. There is a sample Tracking Sheet in the back of this.



Step 6 – Organize Activities Planning Activities Activities are where you can truly get creative! Try to think of a large variety of activities for your Relay so there can be something for everyone to get involved in.

Consider Safety Before planning any activities, think about the safety of the Relay participants. Try to think like a parent who is child-proofing the activities for a young child and try to think of every possible problem ahead of time. Relay should be a fun time – not a time where people get hurt, so if you plan safe activities it will help keep the Relay fun for everyone. Some things to consider: • Jumpy castles, rock walls, and similar activities – the company that is donating them needs to provide supervision and insurance over their activity. These activities should not be left unattended. • Sports – make sure there is enough room and flat, even ground for throwing balls or running around so that participants don’t twist an ankle in a hole or run into tent areas or large groups of people.

Consider Legal Restrictions Many cities, counties and states have legal restrictions on activities that they consider gambling, which include activities like Raffles, Bingo, Poker, Black Jack, and other casino games. Every city, county, state, and even facility may have different laws and rules regarding whether these activities are allowed or not, and what paperwork or fees are required if they are. In general, we would recommend choosing other activity options, but if you choose to pursue planning one of these activities, check with your staff partner right away about the state and federal restrictions and any necessary paperwork requirements. Be aware that most Relays will not be allowed to hold these activities because many states in our Division do not allow raffles, bingo or casino games at all.



Consider Supplies When planning your activities, consider what supplies you will need to make them happen. All supplies should be donated or borrowed by local organizations if possible. If you are planning activities that involve food (marshmallow eating contest, egg toss, etc), consider asking your local grocery store for a small gift certificate to buy supplies…most grocery stores are very open to that kind of ask. For sports activities, consider borrowing balls, tug of war rope, and other sporting gear from a local school. As you are planning your Relay activities, make a complete list of all supplies needed so you don’t forget anything, and then find a place that will donate them or let you borrow them for free. Afterwards, be sure to return all borrowed items in a timely manner.

Consider Day-Of Volunteer Needs Will you need extra people to help run all of your exciting activities? Work with the Logistics subcommittee and recruit day-of help. Consider asking a Boy or Girl Scout troupe or other group to run a kid’s activity area and plan all of the kid’s activities. Consider inviting a student team from a local high school to take on planning a particular activity, like a game tournament or Relay Idol. Make sure you think about how many people you will need to help, and recruit them ahead of time so you’re not overwhelmed on the night of the Relay.

Different Types of Activities Plan a variety of activities that are inclusive of all ages and abilities. Consider activities for kids, students, adults, seniors and mixed groups. Here are some basic activity categories with some simple examples. Feel free to be as creative as you want in coming up with new ideas! You can find even more ideas in the Appendix section of this guidebook. • Contests – talent contests, scavenger hunts, karaoke, eating contests, hula-hoop contest, cancer trivia contest, etc • Games – tug of war, board games (like Pictionary), card games (euchre, canasta, bridge), bean bag toss, scavenger hunt, jump rope marathon, horseshoes, Bunko, video game tournament, etc • Races/Relays – Potato sack race, water balloon relay, egg toss, obstacle course, etc • Sports – Mini-Olympics, putting green, sports tournament (volleyball, kickball, whiffle ball, etc), ultimate Frisbee, flag football, etc • Demonstrations – Yo-Yo, Frisbee, jewelry making/crafts, dancing lessons, yoga class, massages, etc • Creative Activities – art projects/coloring, puppet making, face painting, storytelling, etc • Street Performers – clown, magician, balloon artist, caricature artist, impersonators, etc • Fun Extras – jumpy castle, rock wall, sumo suits, dunk tank, etc • Auctions/Raffles – Silent Auction, Live Auction, Raffle (if legally allowed) o These activities are intensive and take a lot of extra work to secure donations and plan the logistics. You may want to recruit another sub-committee partner to focus solely on your auction/ raffle if you choose to do one so you don’t get overwhelmed. 22


Some Relays have an Auction where the teams provide the auction items, like team theme baskets, and then the team gets credit for the amount the basket sells for. This reduces some of the work of securing items, but should be considered “icing on the cake” fundraising for teams, above and beyond their pre-Relay fundraising, so that the Relay can raise as much money as possible to fight cancer. Team Campsite Activities – encourage teams to plan their own campsite activities for on-site fundraising like selling food or items, games like fishing for prizes or wheel of fortune, etc. o This adds to the fun carnival feeling of your Relay and encourages teams to decorate their sites using a theme. Many Relays offer a Best Campsite award or Most Team Spirit award, and team activities can contribute to the winners’ success. o Track Activities – keep walking the track interesting by having themed laps. This is especially helpful in the middle of the night, but can be fun throughout. Consider these theme lap ideas, or come up with new ones of your own! o Game Laps – like Poker, Black Jack or Scrabble. Every person gets a card or tile for a set number of laps, person with the best hand/word wins. Consider giving the cards/tiles on the hour throughout the night (especially in the middle of the night) to spread out the schedule and keep people walking on the track. o Cancer Trivia Laps – they can find the answers on the mission track signs surrounding the field or other locations around the Relay. o Sports Laps – participants dribble a basketball, soccer ball, bounce a tennis ball, etc all around the track. o Ways to Walk – backwards, sideways, hopping, leap frog, crab walk (for kids) etc. o Dance Laps – the whole lap is to a dance song, like the Chicken Dance, the Macarena, the Hokey Pokey, etc o Special Clothes Laps – pajama lap, crazy hat lap, most purple lap, etc o Limbo Lap – limbo bars are placed periodically around the track for participants to walk under as they desire. Person who goes the lowest wins!

Consider Prizes for your Activities Which activities need prizes and which are ok giving bragging rights? Do you want to create a ticket or point system for activity participation toward the Team Spirit Award? Decide what kind of prizes you need for which activities and work with your sub-committee partner to make sure enough prizes are donated. Also come up with a plan for when and where you will distribute the prizes for each activity.



Step 7 – Plan Relay Ceremonies Planning Your Relay Ceremonies There are typically three ceremonies during the course of a Relay For Life event, Opening, Closing and Luminaria Ceremonies. These are times during the Relay that give participants the opportunity to remember the reason we Relay and connect with the mission of the American Cancer Society. The Relay ceremonies allow participants to Celebrate cancer survivors, Remember those lost to cancer, and Fight Back against this disease. Therefore it is very important that the ceremonies are interesting, meaningful, emotional, impactful and well planned. You may have heard the new Relay For Life tagline…Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back. It is a great way to package Relay in a way that makes sense to new potential participants and it encapsulates all of what Relay is in a few powerful words. As a part of this new philosophy behind Relay, this year there is an additional option for a new ceremony at your Relay…the Fight Back Ceremony. Relays across the country have been having amazing Fight Back ceremonies at their Relay events. You can read more about this new ceremony option at the end of this section. In addition, a great National Resource has been written with samples scripts and music suggestions for all four ceremonies. This “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. Resource Guidebook” is filled with great ideas for all of your Relay ceremonies.

Keeping Ceremonies Fresh Ceremonies are an emotional and inspirational part of Relay, and are a great place to integrate Relay traditions. Many Relays have some aspects of their ceremonies that their participants can look forward to each year, like a luminaries video with names and pictures or a special song for the Survivor’s Lap. But sometimes keeping too many traditions year after year carries the danger of making the ceremonies lose their inspirational value – becoming stale and predictable for the participants. To combat this challenge, be intentional about choosing which traditions to keep each year and which aspects will be fresh, exciting, and newly inspirational for your Relay participants. Challenge yourself to create new ceremonies each year, rather than using last year’s agenda and plugging in new speakers. Consider using a Mid-South Division Heroes of Hope as a survivor speaker. Ask around and find out what kinds of things inspire Relay participants, and incorporate those ideas into your ceremonies. Keep your teams coming back year after year by giving them fresh, moving, and inspirational ceremonies that allow them to truly connect to the Society’s mission of fighting cancer. The Opening Ceremony – An Opportunity to CELEBRATE



The Opening Ceremony sets the tone for the entire Relay. A good Opening Ceremony includes about 30 minutes or less of speaking or entertainment capped off by the Survivor Victory Lap. It is important that all Relay participants attend the Opening Ceremony to cheer on the cancer survivors during their lap, so encourage them to set up their campsites early. It is also important that the Opening Ceremony is kept short and sweet, or else is can lose its effectiveness if participants get bored. These are some elements you may think about including in your Opening Ceremony Agenda, but remember you are welcome to get as creative as you want in incorporating new, fresh ideas into the ceremony. • Short Welcome – could be from the Event Chair, an Honorary Chair, and a good speaker from the committee, an important person in the community like the mayor or other inspirational person. Try to choose someone with a connection to the community, rather than the ACS Staff Partner, so that the event stays community based and volunteer driven, which is part of what makes Relay powerful. • Very Short Introductions of Important People – Very quickly introduce the volunteer committee, Relay sponsors, any local celebrities, and any other important people. Make sure this part is kept very short. There is nothing more uninspiring during a ceremony than a long list of introductions. • Short Entertainment – you might want to have the National Anthem or other inspirational performance/reading during the Opening Ceremony. You should probably only include one or two short songs or readings to keep the Ceremony short and powerful. • Guest Speaker – Consider asking someone in your community with a connection to cancer and the American Cancer Society to share their story. This could be a cancer survivor who received services or volunteers for the Society, a caregiver who has been impacted by the Society, a researcher who has been funded by the American Cancer Society, or another inspirational speaker. Be sure that the speaker is positive and inspirational( consider a Mid-South Heroes of Hope), rather than focusing on sad stories, because Relay For Life is about focusing on the hope that we will find a cure for cancer in our lifetime, and the Opening Ceremony is an opportunity to CELEBRATE cancer survivors. • Survivor Lap – The first lap of the Relay should be a Survivor’s Victory Lap, where the other Relay participants line the track and applaud as the survivors round the track. This is the most important part of the Opening Ceremony. There are many ways to make your Survivor Lap special and unique…you could have the survivors carry special items, use a special song, include Caregivers for part of the lap or in a second lap, etc. Feel free to be creative and make the Survivor’s Lap work for your community. Also include the Survivorship Sub-Committee to plan the details of the Survivor Lap. • Team Parade – Many Relays have a Team Lap following the Survivor’s Lap, where each team is introduced and has a chance to “strut their stuff” around the track. Some teams go all out with costumes and decorations for this lap, which is a great chance to recognize all the hard work of every team involved in the event. 25


Ceremony – An Opportunity to REMEMBER Also often called the Ceremony of Hope, the Luminaria Ceremony is one of the most moving moments of the Relay For Life event. The idea is to have lit white bags line the walking track, each bag with the name of a person who has faced cancer. Donors can purchase a luminaria in memory of someone lost to cancer, or in honor of someone who is a cancer survivor. This powerful ceremony is especially an opportunity for people to remember those lost to cancer and work through grief to arrive at hope. You have the most freedom to be creative with the Luminaria Ceremony‌you can include whatever you want to make it inspirational and filled with hope. Every Relay does something different for their Luminaria Ceremony, from lighting the bags in a certain order, spelling HOPE in the bleachers and changing it to CURE, playing special music from a CD, having live performers, or reading special poems, recognizing the names on the bags through videos or PowerPoint presentations, having special laps in silence, and more. Really, the only limit on the Luminaria Ceremony is your imagination. Make it a time filled with hope that we will find a cure for cancer through special moments. Also be sure to work with the Luminaria sub-committee on this ceremony as they will play an important role in planning it as well. Every Relay committee distributes the work a little differently, so decide who is responsible for planning all of the details of this ceremony and make it great. Logistically, the Luminaria Ceremony typically takes place at or around sunset and should last about a half hour. If the ceremony is too long, participants (especially children) struggle to maintain the reverence of the ceremony and can distract from the point of the ceremony. Also be sure to plan logical transitions in and out of the Luminaria Ceremony and back into the fun activities of Relay, (including turning lights on/off, announcing the start of the ceremony and any requirements for silence, starting with slower music or a cancer related activity directly after the ceremony, etc). Closing Ceremony

The Closing Ceremony gives Relay participants a sense of closure and achievement at the end of the Relay. Having a great Closing Ceremony will help increase the number of teams and participants who stay through to the end of the Relay. The Closing Ceremony should be more than a time to give out awards‌it should also provide participants with one last chance to connect with the mission of the American Cancer Society and leave the Relay inspired to continue making a difference as they leave. When surveyed, our top fundraisers mentioned Closing Ceremonies as one of the most important parts of the Relay and wished that more events had great Closing Ceremonies. 26

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook The Closing Ceremony should be the shortest ceremony since people are tired and ready to leave, but it should provide a definite sense of closure to the event. About 15 minutes is a good length for the Closing Ceremony, which is still enough time to recognize important people and leave participants feeling inspired and with a sense of achievement. These are some elements you may think about including in your Closing Ceremony Agenda, but remember you are welcome to get as creative as you want in incorporating new, fresh ideas into the ceremony. • Short Energetic Introduction – This is usually presented by a good speaker from the Relay committee with a lot of positive energy. During the Introduction, recap the fun or exciting moments that have already occurred during the Relay season (successful Kickoff, recruiting a high number of teams, fun things that happened overnight, number of survivors honored, etc). • Awards and Recognition – This is a great time to recognize the hard work of all the teams and individuals involved in Relay. This may include Top Fundraising Team, Top Fundraising Individual, Most Team Spirit, Most Laps Walked, and other creative ideas. Don’t give too many awards during the Closing Ceremony (if you want to give more, consider an additional ceremony at midnight or something instead). Keep the awards moving quickly, as they can lose a lot of energy when teams have to walk up to the stage. Consider preparing a little blurb with a couple great things about each of the winning teams while they are walking up so it isn’t just empty air time. And take pictures after the ceremony if possible, because watching other people take pictures is definitely an energy killer!!! • Mission Moment – Spend between two and five minutes focusing in on one really cool thing the American Cancer Society is doing to fight cancer, like funding 44 Nobel Prize winners in the last 60 years, funding a Clinical Trial Matching system through our 1-800-227-2345 number, or providing online cancer management classes to patients and caregivers going through treatment. This might be an appropriate time for your American Cancer Society staff person to speak, or a knowledgeable volunteer can present this piece. The best Mission Moments really make the audience feel an emotional connection, so try to find a story that hits close to home. • Announce Your Total – After talking about just one of the many amazing things the American Cancer Society is doing to fight cancer, build up to announcing the grand total of money raised so far to support those programs and services, and make it a grand celebration! Maybe do something fun like pass out noise makers before the ceremony so everyone can celebrate the amazing amount of money you have raised to fight cancer. Really make a big deal about the money you have raised, because it is doing great things in the fight against cancer! • Have a Last Lap of the Relay – After the ceremony, consider hosting one last lap for the Relay that everyone walks together, complete with inspirational victory music. Remind participants that there is no finish line until we find a cure, so this isn’t the end of a race, but merely the continuation of Relay until next year, and that we will pick up where it left off next year, and the year after until we find a cure. You might even provide an opportunity for people to sign an interest sheet for getting more involved with continuing the Relay next year (signing up their team again or possibly serving on the committee). Having this last lap as a whole group really gives participants a sense of achievement and completion of something meaningful, something important that will continue on even after they go home. 27

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook Fight Back Ceremony – An Opportunity to Fight Back

The concept of the “Fight Back Ceremony” is the next step in the evolution of an event that changes lives. What we know about people drawn to Relay is that they want to fight back. They want to do more to challenge the progression of a disease that has touched their lives. Our role as volunteer and staff leaders at Relay is to provide an emotional experience like no other, so participants and visitors are inspired to take action that could potentially save their life, the life of a loved one, or the life of someone in their community. That is the power of Fight Back. That is the power of Relay! Fight Back is symbolized by a new idea…a new Fight Back Ceremony at your Relay. And it is also supported year round by mission and advocacy Fight Back activities designed for use by you and your committee members, as well as teams and individuals. The desired result of participation in these activities is: • Increased awareness and changes in behaviors leading to cancer • A rise in the number of volunteers growing their volunteer relationship with the American Cancer Society and its sister organization, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

Purpose of the Fight Back Ceremony Not unlike the Survivors Lap and Luminaria Ceremony, the Fight Back Ceremony is an emotionally powerful time that serves to inspire Relay participants to take action. The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment we each make to the fight against cancer. The action we take represents what we are willing to do for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.

Planning a Fight Back Ceremony for Your Relay There are many ways that your Relay participants can fight back against cancer…pledging to get that mammogram or colonoscopy they’ve been putting off, or pledging to wear sunscreen every time they are outside, or pledging to talk to a family member about cancer screening, or pledging to quit smoking, or pledging to eat more fruits and vegetables daily, or pledging to contact their legislators regarding cancer issues, or any number of other ideas. With the Fight Back Ceremony, every person at your Relay takes a flag, pledges to fight back against cancer in some way, places the flag in the ground in the designated area, and signs the Fight Back banner adding what their pledge is. Seeing so many little Fight Back flags all night while walking around the track is a powerful reminder that each of us can fight back against cancer. If you are interested in learning more about the Fight Back Ceremony and possibly planning one for your event, you can read all about it in the “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.” Resource Guide. In addition, there are great forums to ask questions and share ideas with other volunteers on You will also want to talk with your Event Chair and staff partner about the idea, and consider working with your Mission Delivery sub-committee to make it all come together. 28


Fight Back Ceremony Structure The Fight Back Ceremony should take place on the main stage. Many Relays do their Fight Back Ceremony at midnight or sunrise, in the afternoon during a 24 hour event, or some even integrate it into their Closing Ceremony. The emcee and speakers should be identified and well-prepared ahead of time. You will also want to incorporate an individual that represents the Fight Back aspect of Relay For Life. It is recommended that the Fight Back Ceremony be brief, about 15-20 minutes is ideal. The goal is to keep everyone’s attention, which can be difficult to do during a long ceremony presented in a large area with sound systems that may not be optimal. To keep the ceremony as short as possible, limit the number of speakers and activities on stage. Here are the basic components of the Fight Back: • Inspirational Fight Back Speaker – Inspires people to take action by sharing the story of why they take action to fight back. Here are some key points to convey during the Fight Back Ceremony: o Welcome and thank participants for coming/supporting Relay For Life. o A personal story of how and why this person in your community is fighting back against cancer, and how Relay plays a part in that. o Relay represents a community coming together for one reason: to fight cancer. o The Relay philosophy is: We are here so that those who face cancer will be supported, that those who have lost their battle will not be forgotten and that, one day, cancer will be eliminated. o It’s a 365-day fight each year. o Convey the cancer burden. Mention that the flags you see represent people who are facing cancer. These are people in our own community. (You can use local diagnosis information here.) It is our responsibility to fight back and ensure we reduce the number of our own family members and neighbors who face cancer. o Explain the logistics of the Fight Back Ceremony (how the flags and pledge cards work). • Taking a flag – Represents the commitment to save a life. • Signing the banner and pledge card – Symbolizes the action that person will take to save a life.

Logistics Suggestions for the Fight Back Ceremony Each event should set up the Fight Back Ceremony to meet the needs of the event. You want to create a buzz and some anticipation around your new ceremony, but you do not want to create so much additional work for your committee that this ceremony becomes a burden. Here are a few suggestions for staging your Fight Back Ceremony: • Use your main stage. It is already a nice focal point used for ceremonies. • Use the existing sound system. • Use white Fight Back flags to symbolize future cancer diagnosis in your community, state, or Division. Place them in an area around your stage or in a grassy area to create a visual impact. Numbers for cancer diagnosis can be located in the annual Cancer Facts & Figures booklet, on, or by working through your staff partner. • Set up an area close to the stage to display the Fight Back banner, pledge cards, and stickers for people to sign and make pledges. • Use the “I Can Fight Back” banner to help people choose their Fight Back action. • Provide an “I made the pledge to fight back!” sticker to anyone signing the banner and making their pledge. • Use Relay and mission signs around the track to give people ideas on making their Fight Back pledge when the time comes. 29


Step 8 – Determine Logistical Needs Entertainment and Activities Logistics Many Relay event logistics involve Entertainment and Activities considerations. Work closely with the Logistics Sub-Committee to determine the best site layout for the activities, entertainment, and ceremonies you are planning, and also to make sure all logistical items are secured (like a stage, sound system, activities area, movie projector, or whatever else is needed). Every Relay has a slightly different division of roles between the Entertainment and Logistics sub-committees, so be sure to work together to make sure that all logistical aspects of Entertainment and Activities are planned for and organized.

Site Layout The Entertainment area is typically one of the centerpieces in a Relay site layout plan. Whether you have a stage, or simply an open space for entertainment acts, you will want to place it in a location where participants can watch different acts all throughout the event. Also consider your plans for Relay ceremonies when laying out the site plan…does the stage need to be near the track for the Ceremonies? Or will you have a separate space for the ceremonies near the track, and place the entertainment somewhere else? Every Relay committee comes up with different solutions based on their unique site challenges and preferences. Where you place your team campsites will also affect the placement of entertainment and activities (like if you have a “tent city” away from the track, you may want the entertainment stage near the tents and a DJ on the track, or vice versa).Also consider where the activities you are planning should take place, like a Silent Auction, a tug-of-war contest, a kickball tournament, board games, face painting, jumpy castles or other fun activities. Should they be near the stage? Near the team campsites? Near the track? Near the Relay entrance/exit? Work with the Logistics Sub-Committee to decide what will work best for your Relay and plan ahead to have a place for everything on the Relay site map.



Securing Logistical Items Determine what logistical items you will need for all of the entertainment acts, activities, and ceremonies you have planned, (like a stage, sound equipment, audience chairs, tables, sports equipment, etc). Then work with the Logistics Sub-Committee to make sure that each item is secured, hopefully as a donation or borrowing things from local organizations. Decide how many tents, tables, and chairs you will need for all of your activities, whether you will need a stage or other performing area, what kind of sound system (or multiple systems), how many microphones, how many amplifiers, a mixing board, an engineer to set it up, how much power is needed to keep everything running without blowing a fuse (you might need a separate generator), how many lights in which areas during the night (lighting activities like the Silent Auction tent or board game area), whether you have a karaoke machine, a projector, an X-Box or any other specialty equipment for specific activities, etc. Some items may be provided by entertainment acts (like amplifiers) while others will need to be secured by the Relay committee (like tables for a Silent Auction). Keep a good list of all the equipment needs of each activity and entertainment act and work together with Logistics to make sure everything is covered before the Relay.



Step 9 – Secure Awards and Prizes The Importance of Prizes and Awards A competitive spirit is part of human nature and Relay is a great place for healthy competition to benefit a good cause. Our research across the country shows that the most successful Relay teams and individual fundraisers are very motivated by a sense of healthy competition, so including friendly competition in your Relay is good for your event and keeps participants engaged. Prizes are important to reward participation in Relay activities and contests, and make the Relay fun. Awards are important because they specifically recognize the positive aspects that make Relay successful, like top fundraising or most team spirit. So, even though there are some Relay participants and volunteers who are not motivated by prizes and awards, many Team Captains and team members are, and it is important to offer them as an option to increase the success of your Relay event. It has been shown in the data time and time again that a healthy sense of competition among team members (either with other teams, other individuals, or personal drive to reach certain prize levels) increases participant satisfaction with the Relay and also increases average fundraising amounts.

Securing Awards Work with the Team Development committee to determine Award categories (like top fundraiser or team spirit) and what kind of awards should be given out (certificates, Relay items, a traveling trophy, etc). Also be sure to check with your Event Chair and staff partner to see what is in your Relay budget for awards. If you have room in your event budget, you may be able to order small Relay items through your staff partner. If you don’t have much of an award budget, certificates or team photos can be a nice and inexpensive way to recognize teams. Donated gift certificates from local stores or restaurants can also be great awards. When securing donations, decide which donations will be used for awards, for prizes, or for an auction or other activity.



Securing Donated Prizes Contact local businesses and organizations to collect Relay prizes for activities and contests. Prizes can be actual items or gift certificates…the fact that you are giving a prize is more important than what the prize actually is. Prizes don’t have to be big to be a hit as a reward for participating in an activity or winning a contest. $5 gift certificates to a local coffee or ice cream shop can be a great prize, and many local shops are willing to donate several small certificates. Even generous coupons, like Buy One, Get One Free, can be a nice prize, depending on the circumstances. Try to match the popularity and competitiveness of the contest with the size of the prize (ie. if your MissTER Relay Contest is the most popular, it should receive the biggest prize, whereas if only a handful of people participate in the hula hoop contest, they can receive a smaller prize). Most local businesses have a quota of in-kind certificates to give away for charity for the year, and they are more than willing to give out gift certificates to a good cause if you can reach the right decision maker in the company. Just be sure you communicate with the rest of the committee on who is asking which companies for what, so you don’t double ask the same people. If you have difficulty securing donated prizes and have many activities planned, consider using a ticket system where activity participants receive one ticket and winners receive five tickets, and then fewer prizes are given away to the participants with the most tickets at the end of the event. A sample of this kind of “Relay Bucks” system is provided in the Appendix of this Guidebook. There are even some activities that don’t need prizes, where team “bragging rights” are enough of a reward. Work with your sub-committee partners and determine which activities need prizes and what kind of prize system you want to use for your Relay.

Distributing Awards and Prizes Work with the other members of your Sub-Committee to decide how each prize will be distributed and for which award or activity. What awards/prizes should be given for which activities? Will you hand them out at the end of the activity? Will you give them out at Closing Ceremonies? At a Wrap Up party? Or at different times throughout the Relay? What if the winner isn’t present…will they still get their prize or award? Decide what makes the most sense for your Relay and follow through on your plan. There is nothing worse than getting great prizes donated that end up in storage because someone forgot to give them out!



Step 10 – Create a Relay Program Why print a program? On the night of Relay, participants and spectators will want to know what’s going on during the evening. A program is one of the best ways to inform everyone of all the fun activities that are going on throughout the day and night so that you have full participation. A program is also a great way to recognize sponsors and include other information for the Relay.

Gathering Program Information If you choose to include other information in your program, make sure to set a deadline for the rest of the committee to submit program items to you, and collect all necessary information in enough time to get the programs printed. This includes things like getting all the sponsor logos from the Sponsorship Sub-Committee, and all the Team Captain names from the Team Development Sub-Committee, etc. Remember, you don’t have to include all this information in the program, but if you choose to, create a system to make sure you get it all in time.

Program Options A Relay program can be whatever you want to make it, as simple as a one page flyer with a schedule of events, or as complex as a multi-page booklet with lots of Relay information. If you do not have a lot of people on your committee, keep your program simple. The most important thing is to include a clear schedule of events so participants know where to be for which events. Other optional information you can include could be a sponsor list, a site map, a list of teams, silent auction items, inspirational poetry, ceremony details, why I relay stories etc. The Mid-South Division does produce a simple program cover shell that staff can email to you so you can customize with a local Relay photo and information or we have Program Covers available on Print on Demand( (talk to your staff partner about ordering these for your event), but many Relays choose different ways of creating programs.



Keep a Schedule of Events Work with your Entertainment and Activities sub-committee to create and maintain a master schedule of events so it is all ready to go in the Relay program a week or two before the event. Try to get the Entertainment and Activities schedule confirmed as soon as possible so there are fewer last minute changes.

Creating the Program Type in and layout all the program information on a computer in whichever program you prefer, and make sure to proof-read it carefully. Decide the easiest way to print and assemble the programs. Will you get a local printer to donate their services? Can you use the copier at your church to make the program copies? Can you go to the local American Cancer Society office to use their copier? Do you need a group of volunteers to help fold and staple? You may want to sell business card size ads to raise additional money as well as underwrite the cost of a program book. Make all the logistical arrangements ahead of time, and don’t over-commit yourself. If you don’t have the help you need to assemble fancy programs, then keep them simple. Remember, the most important part is that participants know what is going on during the night, not that they have a beautiful piece of paper that will just get thrown away at the end of the event.



Step 11- On-Site Management Keep the Schedule Running Smoothly Make sure each person on your sub-committee knows the full Entertainment and Activities schedule and who is responsible for overseeing which parts. In addition to handing out the programs, make sure you are announcing entertainment and activities throughout the night over the sound system so that participants are reminded of the fun things that are going on.

On-Site Set Up Being on site early is important for the Entertainment and Activities Sub-Committee because there are so many things to set up and organize before the Relay begins. Make sure your sound system is set up and working at least two hours before the Relay is scheduled to begin. Also make sure any tents, stage, fun activity areas, or other details are ready to go early.

Entertainment On-Site/Stage Manager The Entertainment Sub-Committee partner should be making sure all acts arrive on time, calling any acts that are late, and creating smooth transitions on stage, both in set up and tear down, and in coaching the emcee to introduce acts. They should also be making sure announcements are made throughout the Relay. This person also troubleshoots any unforeseen entertainment problems and comes up with on-site solutions.

Activities On-Site The Activities Sub-Committee partner should make sure all activities are completed in an organized manner. This includes purchasing and preparing any day-of supplies (like filling water balloons for the toss), and having them all ready to go for each activity. An important part of on-site activity management is explaining the activity rules to participants and distributing any prizes at the end of activities. It is also important to clean up and put away supplies after each activity, and problem solve any unforeseen problems with on-site solutions.



Ceremonies On-Site The Ceremonies Sub-Committee partner should make sure all ceremonies are organized and come off smoothly. This includes making sure all guest speakers arrive on time and are given clear instructions on where to stand, how to hold the microphone, the order that they are speaking, etc. It also includes double checking to make sure all live or recorded music is ready. It is also important to give the emcee a clear script of what is included in the ceremony in which order and answer any questions they might have. This SubCommittee partner should also make sure that people are helping gather teams and participants to the ceremony area at the Relay to focus in on the most touching parts of the Relay event. This person will also problem solve any ceremony issues.

Prizes and Awards On-Site The Prizes and Awards sub-committee partner should make sure that all prizes and awards are distributed to the right people at the right times for the right activities, contests, or awards on site. They should work together with all other Entertainment and Activities Sub-Committee partners, as well as the Team Development Sub-Committee to make sure all awards and prizes are distributed fairly throughout the event.

On-Site Tear Down After the Relay, make sure there is a plan for all sound equipment, logistical items (like tents, stage, generators), and activity items are packed up and returned to where they belong. The Entertainment and Activities Sub-Committee should oversee and help the tear down of their equipment and transport it back to where it came from.



Step 12 – Wrap Up Finish Strong Most of your work is done after the Relay is completed, but there are a couple things to finish up before you are completely done. Be sure to complete all of the following items to leave the Relay in great shape for next year!

Return All Borrowed/Rented Items Make sure that every borrowed or rented Entertainment or Activities item gets returned to the appropriate person or place within two weeks of the Relay or sooner (keep a detailed list so you know what goes where and when it is due). This will help build good will for future years and keep relationships strong for borrowing items or getting discounts on rented items in the future.

Send Thank You Notes Thank every person/company who helped you with your Relay Entertainment, Activities or Ceremonies, including guest speakers, entertainers who donated their time, companies or organizations who donated prizes or supplies or allowed you to borrow items, and any others who helped in other ways. Even consider sending a thank you to companies you rented from to build good will for the future and open the dialog to possibly get a discount or donation of the item in the future. Also thank your invaluable subcommittee partners for all their help throughout the Relay season.



Attend Wrap Up Committee Meeting Attend the Committee Wrap Up to discuss which parts of Relay went well and which parts could be improved with the entire Relay committee. Also discuss how the Relay went with your sub-committee members and take notes on what could be improved for Entertainment and Activities next year.

Set Up for Success Next Year Committee members typically serve in one position for two years, and then move to another position on the committee. Ideally, this helps keep the Relay fresh and exciting with a mixture of new and veteran volunteers on the planning committee each year, and also keeps volunteers from being burned out in a specific area. Take the following steps to set up for future success: •

• •


Decide now whether you are planning to return in your position next year, or whether there may be another position on the committee you would like to try (maybe you would like to try your hand at Survivorship Chair or you’re ready to step up to be an Event Co-Chair). In addition, after serving as Event Chair there are additional volunteer leadership opportunities within the American Cancer Society available on State Relay Councils, Relay Advisory Team or Division Training Team, and other volunteer groups which may interest you in the future. Have a conversation with your Event Chair and staff partner to discuss your plans, any committee openings for next year’s Relay, and your future goals as an American Cancer Society volunteer. If you decide to step down from the committee or move to another position, think about who you know that might be a good Entertainment and Activities Chair in your place. Consider asking them if they would be interested in serving as Entertainment and Activities Chair for the next Relay, or at least give their name and number to your Event Chair to contact them regarding filling the position. The goal is to have the whole committee lined up within the first two-three months following the Relay, so they can have the entire season to plan and not be rushed at the end. If you are leaving your position, leave a legacy of your hard work by giving all of your detailed notes, lists, and files to your staff partner to pass on to the next Entertainment and Activities Chair.


Entertainment & Activities Guidebook Appendix



Appendix Tools ....................................................................................................................................... 42 Entertainment and Activities Goal Tracking Worksheet ....................................................................42 Sample Entertainment and Activities Sub-Committee Timeline ........................................................45 Partnership Agreement Overview ......................................................................................................47 Sample Partnership Agreement .........................................................................................................49 Tips and Ideas ......................................................................................................................... 51 Overview of the “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back Initiative ..........................................................51 Ideas and Best Practices for Relay Entertainment .............................................................................55 Relay Activity Idea List .......................................................................................................................62 Overview of Team Campsite Themes and Activities ..........................................................................67 Closing Ceremony Tips .......................................................................................................................71 Song Suggestions for Ceremonies ......................................................................................................73 Samples and Examples ............................................................................................................ 75 Sample Activities and Entertainment Tracking Worksheet ...............................................................75 Sample Activities Schedule .................................................................................................................76 Sample Fight Back Ceremony Script...................................................................................................78 Sample Relay Entertainment Feedback Form ....................................................................................81 Sample Relay Bucks Sheet ..................................................................................................................82 Sample Scavenger Hunt Activity List ..................................................................................................83 Kids Walk ............................................................................................................................................84 Sample Theme Lap Ideas ...................................................................................................................................................87 Basic Relay For Life Background Information............................................................................ 89 History of Relay ForLife ......................................................................................................................89 Relay For Life Standards .....................................................................................................................90 Keys to Successful Relays ...................................................................................................................91 Relay Growth: Focus on the 5 Ds .......................................................................................................93 Sample Relay Timeline .......................................................................................................................95



Entertainment & Activities Planning Worksheet This worksheet is for your benefit only, to give you a guide toward completing your Entertainment and Activities goals. It is proven that goals and resolutions that are written down are much more likely to be kept, so take this opportunity to think about and write down your Team Development goals and strategies for the coming year. Before completing this Entertainment and Activities Planning Worksheet, please have each SubCommittee Partner read the chapters that pertain to their role (suggested role delineations are listed in Chapter 2 of the Entertainment and Activities Guidebook). Then schedule a planning session with all Entertainment and Activities Sub-Committee members to plan together with the goal of leaving with this worksheet completed. Overall Sub-Committee Goals and Strategies 1. How many hours are there to fill with entertainment or Activities during the Relay? ____ 2. How many Entertainment Acts would we like to have? 3. How many interactive participant Activities would we like to have? 4. Would we like to have any large event fundraising activities (like a silent auction or other idea)? If so, who will head up planning this activity? 5. How many prizes and awards will be needed this year? 6. Which Ceremonies do we need to plan this year? Who is planning the Luminaria Ceremony (this committee or the Luminaria Sub-committee)? Would we like to try the new optional Fight Back ceremony this year? Entertainment Goals and Strategies 7. Which Entertainment Acts were successful in past years that you would like to ask back?

8. Which new act ideas do you have to pursue this year? (Be creative!)

9. How do you plan to mix stage entertainment with in-the-crowd street entertainment at the Relay?

10. How do you plan to provide appropriate entertainment for people who are staying up all night long?


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook 11. How do you plan to get Entertainment logistical items donated (like a stage, speakers, microphone, sound system, movie projector, screen, etc)?

Activities Goals and Strategies 12. Which Activities were successful in past year that you would like to host again?

13. Which new Activities ideas do you want to add this year? (Be creative!)

14. How do you plan to mix large activities and contests (like Relay Idol) with small activities and demonstrations around the Relay site?

15. How do you plan to mix activities for adults, youth, and kids throughout the Relay?

16. How do you plan to encourage teams to have their own team themes and campsite activities?

17. Do you plan to incorporate any lap activities (themed laps, lap counting systems, etc)?

Ceremonies and Program Goals and Strategies 18. Which aspects of the ceremonies were successful in past years that you would like to repeat?

19. What are some ways you can keep the ceremonies fresh by incorporating new aspects and ideas?

20. How do you plan to encourage participants to pay attention to Relay Ceremonies (especially Closing Ceremony)? 43


21. Do you plan to incorporate the new Fight Back Ceremony idea this year (ask your staff partner for more information if you don’t know what this is)?

22. How do you plan to produce Relay programs with donated printing this year? What new items would you like to include in your Relay program?

Awards and Prizes Goals and Strategies 23. Which companies donated items in past years that you are planning on asking again?

24. Which companies have not donated in the past that you think should?

25. What kind of prizes and awards would you like to have this year?







Partnership Agreements (Social Contracts) The definition of a Partnership Agreement is negotiating a mutually beneficial and satisfactory understanding between two or more parties. While this agreement is not binding, social contracting helps people reach an agreement in such a way that each person positive about the agreement and motivated to do his/her best. Partnership Agreement & discussion is a method of reaching agreement with others about: • What needs to be done • When it needs to be done • Who will do it • How it will be done People trade expectations: • They exchange what they need and want from each other • They decide what they can give • They establish mutually agreed upon roles & responsibilities How to Reach an Agreement: • Trade expectations. Negotiate who will do the work, how many meetings, phone calls; e-mails need to take place between each other and other committee members. Negotiate what both you need and want from each other in terms of updates, method of communication, resources needed, training, etc.). Review the job description, term limits and discuss goals. • Be sure to discuss any areas of concern or potential difficulty for the volunteer. • Contract behaviors, not feelings. • Be certain you can give what you promise, and do not ask of the volunteer what he/she is unable to fully commit to doing. Keep in mind that you can say “No”. • Plan how you will carry out the agreement. Agree on a time frame when work should be completed. Create an action plan and remember contracts are always negotiable. • Both the staff and volunteer (or volunteer and volunteer) should sign the final draft of the position job description, Action Plan (if you decide to create one) and the social contract. • Close the meeting. Conclude by discussing next steps and commend each other for having gone through this process. It will make both your lives much easier.


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook Partnership Agreements - Social Contracts (Continued) The benefits of partnership agreements: • Ability to reduce barriers, solve problems or prevent them before they arise • Ability to negotiate and agree upon roles & responsibilities • Provides a mechanism for accountability • Provides a process for making a commitment on behalf of each party involved in the working relationship During the Partnership Agreement Meeting: • Share your job descriptions with each other • Confirm the understanding of each of your roles • Share expectations • Discuss term limits and need/process for transition/succession planning • Discuss time requirements (# meetings, phone calls, etc.) • Discuss communication methods and most convenient times to reach each other • Discuss resources and training/orientation needs • Assess the status of the volunteer committees (who served last year, needs for this year, individuals confirmed, positions left to recruit) • Review the project timeline and types of reports and action plans needed • Discuss needs for social contracting with other committee members and methods/plans to accomplish Materials to Bring to Meeting • Job descriptions • Action Plans & Goals • Relay, Mission Delivery and Advocacy Standards • Previous Year Meeting Minutes • Current Year Sponsorship Packet (if done or last years’) • Participant and/or Team Captain Packet • Guidebook/”How To” Manual Who should undergo partnership agreements? • Volunteer Chair/Co-Chair & Staff Partner • Chair/Co-Chair, Staff Partner & Team Recruitment Chair (& Team Retention Chair if applicable) • Chair/Co-Chair with each Subcommittee Chair • Staff Member with other office staff members (as applicable) • Recap the agreement, write it down, sign it and “seal the deal”







What is “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.?” Relay For Life has always been about celebrating, remembering, and fighting back. Through the event itself, we do a good job of celebrating survivorship and the hope that one day cancer will be eliminated. We do a good job of remembering loved ones lost to the disease while finding comfort and healing. Both of these emotionally charged elements of Relay are visually symbolized through our Survivors’ Lap and the Luminaria Ceremony. Through Relay and these emotional experiences, we have built an army ready to fight back and take action against a disease that has already taken too much. Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. (CRFB) is simply the next step in the evolution of an event that changes lives. By deepening the emotional experience participants have while at Relay, together we can further mobilize our friends, families, and communities to: • Raise awareness of and change behaviors that lead to cancer • Volunteer and take action through a menu of opportunities that fight cancer year-round • Participate in opportunities to Celebrate and Remember their reason to Relay yearround

How will we do this? The approach is two-fold. We will refresh the language (messaging) we use to inspire the involvement in the event, as well as enhance the event to include a Fight Back ceremony.

Messaging It is important for you and your committee members, as leaders representing your American Cancer Society to your community, to understand what CRFB is and how to speak to its important role in involving communities in the fight against cancer. To fully integrate CRFB into Relay, there is the need for internal language in communicating with your event committees. We encourage the use of the language (What is CRFB –overview section) when communicating what CRFB is to your event volunteers. Using CRFB language to an external audience (average Relayers and new participants) helps those who have not been involved see their place in the Relay movement. Keeping a focus on what Relay is and how CRFB embodies the essence of Relay is important. Included here is refreshed general Relay For Life messaging that utilizes CRFB language. This messaging will be used, beginning with the 2008 Relay season, in all Relay For Life promotional/recruitment materials geared towards an external audience. Examples of 2008 promotional/recruitment materials are available through your Division and community staff partner.



CRFB Purpose RFL Messaging – short version Relay For Life is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people every year to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and empower individuals and communities to fight back against a disease that takes too much from too many.

RFL Messaging – longer version Relay For Life is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people every year to… • Celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer. It is the strength of cancer survivors that inspires others to continue to fight. • Remember loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, those who have walked alongside those battling cancer can grieve and find healing. • Fight Back. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease. Make a commitment to save a life by taking up the fight.

Fight Back Ceremony Beginning in 2008, Relay events across the country will begin to introduce their Relay communities to a new, powerful ceremony designed to inspire and symbolize the emotional commitment we each make to the fight against cancer: the Fight Back Ceremony. The Fight Back Ceremony, prepackaged and available within the CRFB resource guide available on, pairs a call to action and simple, turn-key menu of Mission and Advocacy Fight Back activities designed for both individuals and groups (committees, teams, etc.). We encourage you to explore the full CRFB resource guide, especially the Fight Back Activities section of your CRFB resource guide to learn more about the Fight Back ceremony and the important role it plays in motivating and inspiring your Relay community to fight back for themselves, their loved ones, and their community against a disease that has already taken too much. “ Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.” Roles Everyone plays an important role in assuring that Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. and its purpose become a reality and that it is successful in helping your American Cancer Society reach its goal of eliminating cancer – faster.

Event Chairperson: As a leader within the community and your committee, your role with CRFB is to: • Understand and speak to the purpose and messaging of CRFB. • Understand CRFB as a volunteer engagement opportunity designed to enhance their overall experience and involvement with the American Cancer Society 52

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook • • • • •

Understand available resources, where to locate, them and which committee members they are applicable to. Understand all Fight Back activities, how to infuse into committee meetings and work with appropriate subcommittee chairs on infusion into event planning. Understand the purpose and importance of Fight Back ceremony and use of Fight Back banner as a motivational tool and symbol of taking action. Work with appropriate subcommittee chair on planning and implementing Fight Back ceremony. Work with staff partner and subcommittee chairs on plan to best utilize CRFB resources year-round.

Team Recruitment/Retention Chairperson: As a leader on your committee you are often the face of the American Cancer Society to your Team Captains, so your role with CRFB is to: • Understand and speak to the purpose and messaging of CRFB. • Understand CRFB as a volunteer engagement opportunity designed to enhance their overall experience and involvement with the American Cancer Society • Understand available resources, where to locate them, how to utilize them for Team Captain meetings and kickoff events. • Understand all Fight Back activities and work with appropriate subcommittee chairs on infusion into Team Captain meetings, kickoff events and participant communications. • Understand the purpose and importance of Fight Back ceremony and use of Fight Back banner as a motivational tool and symbol of taking action. • Work with staff partner on plan to best utilize CRFB resources through Team Captains year-round.

Entertainment and Activities Chairperson: As the coordinator of the Relay Ceremonies, you play a key role in integrating CRFB into your local Relay For Life, especially in creating your new Fight Back Ceremony. Your role with CRFB is to: • Understand and speak to the purpose and messaging of CRFB. • Understand CRFB as a volunteer engagement opportunity designed to enhance their overall experience and involvement with the American Cancer Society • Understand available resources, where to locate them, how to utilize them for yearround and day of activities, events and ceremonies around the three focus areas. • Understand the purpose and importance of Fight Back ceremony and use of Fight Back banner as a motivational tool and symbol of taking action. • Use CRFB resources to plan inspirational and moving ceremonies, including a new Fight Back Ceremony at your local event. • Work with staff partner and event chair on plan to best utilize CRFB resources yearround. 53


Mission/Advocacy Chairperson: Fight Back is the newest element to CRFB and you play a key role in making it successful in your community. As the mission/advocacy leader on your committee, your role with CRFB is to: • Understand and speak to the purpose and messaging of CRFB. • Understand CRFB as a volunteer engagement opportunity designed to enhance their overall experience and involvement with the American Cancer Society • Understand available resources, where to locate them, how to utilize them for yearround and day of Fight Back mission and advocacy activities. • Understand all Fight Back activities and work with appropriate subcommittee chairs on infusion into Team Captain & committee meetings, Kickoff events and participant communications, media events, etc. • Understand the purpose and importance of Fight Back ceremony and use of Fight Back banner as a motivational tool and symbol of taking action. • Work with staff partner and event chair on plan to best utilize CRFB resources yearround.

Subcommittee Chairperson: Everyone on the committee plays an important role in CRFB. As a subcommittee chairperson your role is to: • Understand the purpose and messaging of CRFB. • Know what resources are available and where and how to locate those resources. • Work with event chair on which resources are relevant to your subcommittee work.

Resources Everything you and your committee need to successfully implement CRFB into your community event planning is at your fingertips. You can access all CRFB materials electronically by visiting You will find information such as: • Sample Opening, Closing, Luminaria and Fight Back Ceremony scripts • Suggested music, poems, and readings lists • Sample schedule of events, stage announcements, and celebratory signage • Sample Team Captain and committee agendas • Sample mini-Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back ceremonies and activities • Monthly Fight Back activities for individuals and teams • Banners, sales sheets, and supplies • Sample signage • Pledge, wallet, and information cards • Fight Back Flags and banners • Fight Back stickers • Much, much more!



Entertainment and Activities Best Practices Pre-recorded announcements – If a local radio station is willing to provide this service, take advantage of it. Begin announcing activities, contests, ceremonies, etc. at least one half hour before. This can be continuous tape that runs throughout the event and cuts in over the music and bands when necessary.The event DJ really appreciates this so he can concentrate on music only. On-stage entertainment – There should be one person at the stage at all times for any questions that need to be answered or any equipment needs to be moved. This prevents the DJ from being bombarded with questions he cannot answer. When planning your schedule, be sure to coordinate enough time between entertainers for one to tear down and the other to set up (sample agendas in Resources and Tools Guide). This amount of time will vary so ask each individual entertainer. Remember, it may be hot, so keep that in mind when booking entertainment not only for the entertainers but also for the people watching. Are people going to sit in the hot sun to watch entertainers? Off-stage activities – The subcommittee should determine who would run each contest and activity. A schedule of the committee members and the volunteers should be posted at the information tent. Each committee member is responsible for all props, equipment, prizes and volunteers needed for their activities. Teams must be well informed about these activities. Inform the teams at the team captains’ meetings and let them sign up. Make sure the teams know that prizes or spirit points are awarded to winners. At the event, post the schedule on a huge dry erase board near the stage. Post the schedule in the information tent. Post the schedule in the newsletters and in any mailings sent out. . Kid’s area – Kids are so easy to entertain. Parents really appreciate this area. If there is a local party planner that is willing to donate time to entertain kids, go for it. If not, set up a simple craft tables, graffiti walls, get a pile of sand donated (possibly the same company that donated the luminaria sand), face paint, get a bounce house donated, simple carnival games, water games (especially good for hot afternoons), bubble pool, parachute games and on and on! The key is that these items are donated! More suggestions are in the Resources and Tools Guide. Diversify your entertainment- Set up entertainment that caters to men. Have a sports center area with a pool table. Have a pool shooting contest. Set up recliners with x-box video games. Have competitive sports or games, pitting the police against the firefighters, the teachers vs. the students, etc. Have different styles of music. Have participative activities as well as spectator activities. Volunteers – Enthusiastic people with tons of energy make the best volunteers. If there is a college near your community, ask for volunteers. Some students may have to fulfill volunteer hours to complete class requirements. Ask education majors and recreation majors. Go to the YMCA and ask for the youth coordinator and aquatics instructors for their help. Look in the phone book for party planners and ask if they would be willing to help out. Ask people you know will get a group excited about participating in activities. Attitude is everything!















Creative Ideas for Activities at Relay Darn Good Ideas collected from the Mid South Division 1) Wet T-Shirt Contest #1: a relay race using t-shirts, buckets, and water. • Set up: 2 buckets per team placed several yards apart. The buckets on the starting side are filled with water and a t-shirt is soaking in each bucket of water. The buckets on the opposite side are empty. • Teams: Can have several teams (equal number of participants on each) racing at once. • Process: on “Go” one person from each team takes the wet t-shirt out of their bucket of water and races to the other side. Once there, each participant wrings the water out of the t-shirt into the empty bucket. • Objective: To be the team with the most water in the 2nd bucket at the end of the game (the end comes when every team member from each team has had a turn.) 2) Wet T-Shirt Contest #2: • Set up: 10 wet t-shirts per participant • Objective: First participant to get all 10 t-shirts on wins. 3) Frozen T-Shirt Contest: • Set up: one frozen (soaked in water, rolled into a tight ball or tied in a knot, placed in a zip-lock bag, more water poured in, sealed, frozen solid) T-shirt per participant. • First one to get their t-shirt unfrozen, unfolded, and on their body wins. • Note: participants may not use water or heat to defrost their shirts. 4) Butt Charades: • The Game: played like charades, but instead of acting out the clue, the “actor” turns their backside to the audience and “spells” the word by moving his/her rear end around to “write” the letters. • Objective: The team with the most correct guesses wins. 5) Hotwheels race: • The Activity: Can be an on-site fundraiser where a team sells the matchbox cars for others to race – or that the cars are provided and participants pay per race. Race in heats – however many cars at a time that your track can hold. The winner of each heat races in the next – or you can have several races and the winners of each race each other for the championship. • Supplies: hotwheels/matchbox cars, track, prizes • The winner: The winner of each heat races in the next – or you can have several races and the winners of each race each other for the championship. 6) Redneck Relay: skin cancer prevention message delivered through “slip slop slap & wrap” slip-nslide. 62

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook Need: slip-n-slide and water. 7) Fear Factor: played like the reality TV show where teams eat gross food, etc. Beware of risk management issues and do not attempt any dangerous stunts. 8) Other spoofs on reality or game shows: • Survivor • Deal or No Deal • Amazing Race 9) Musical chairs scavenger hunt. • The Game: Whatever the number of participants, place that number of chairs less one lined up facing toward the audience in front of the stage. Each participant stands near a chair. The Activity Coordinator gives the name of an item that the participants have to find and they all run to find that item and then return to sit in a chair. The last person back is out. Everyone stands up; remove a chair. Repeat with a new item. Continue until one person remains. 10) Tug of War: traditional tug of war. Make it fair by requiring that teams have an equal number of men, women and children. 11) Greased Watermelon Contest: • Supplies: Watermelon, vegetable oil • The Activity: Rub all watermelons with vegetable oil. Each team has an equal number of participants and is charged with passing the watermelon from person to person through the line and then back up to the front without dropping it. If it is dropped, it goes back to the front and is started again. • The winner: the team that is the first to successfully pass the watermelon down and back up without dropping it. • BONUS: Now you have watermelon for 1) a watermelon eating contest and 2) a watermelon seed spitting contest. 12) Elvis impersonator(s): One “real” impersonator is a lot of fun – but why not have several amateur impersonators (team members) and make it a team contest?! 13) La-z-boy drawing: • The Idea: To get people to stay up and stay active in the wee hours of the morning – and to get them to stay all night. • The strategy: Offer 1 ticket per lap for anyone walking for a one-hour period in the middle of the night (3 a.m. works well.) Only those who are walking can get a ticket for the drawing. Have the drawing at the closing ceremony – must be present to win – to get them to stay even longer. 14) X-Box Tournament – popular with boys – of all ages! 63


15) Dancing & Singing: Really fun (and necessary) about 2 a.m.! • Line dancing • Karaoke • Cha-Cha Slide • Etc. 16) Themed Activities and Entertainment • 50’s Theme: o Jitterbug contest o Hula-hoop contest • 70’s Theme: o Disco contest o Bad clothes contest o Farrah Hair Contest 17) Dry T-Shirt Contest (Project Relay Runway) • Can be done with event T-shirts and scissors, ribbon, needle/thread, duct tape, etc. • Or can be a t-shirt design contest where they decorate a plain white t-shirt with paint. 18) Pack a Car • Ask a used car dealership to lend a volkswagon or other small automobile. • See how many team members you can get into the car. • The team that gets the most people in (and can still close the doors) wins a prize. 19) Talent Show • Can be done with real talent and promoted in the community • Or can be done with Relay participants only – using their real talents (they will need to be notified in advance so that they can bring whatever it is they need.) 20) Ms. Relay Pageant • Beauty contest with men dressed as women • Voting can become a fundraiser with the “women” carrying their purses to each campsite to campaign for “votes” (dollars). The contestant with the most money raised wins. • Can also be a fundraiser by having an entry fee for each contestant. 21) Dolly Parton impersonation • See Ms. Relay – it is along the same lines except with some certain anatomical criteria being demonstrated by these men with aids such as balloons. 22) Provide a Survivor Coupon Book • Survivors are given a book of coupons to use at the event. Each Survivor would then take a coupon to various tents to receive a gift from each of the teams. • Objective: To engage survivors and gets them to stay to be a part of the event. 64


23) Box Car Boat • The Activity: Each team is given the materials to build a car or boat out of cardboard. The car can be built out and added on to as they choose, but they have to keep the sides of the original box intact. The boxes need to be large enough to hold two team members for the race. • The Contests: The Car/Boat Show: cars/boats are judged on various criteria: creativity, most futuristic, best workmanship, sportiest, etc. Prizes are awarded to the winners. • The Race: Each team selects two team members for the race. Racers line up on a starting line and race down to another spot on the field, around a cone or barrel and back. The first team to make it back together and with their car in one piece wins. • BONUS: Tie a mission delivery message to this by highlighting the Road to Recovery program. 24) Reflection Tent • Set up in a quiet corner of the Relay site. • Creates a “reflection” area for Relayers to sit and quietly remember or reflect on the life/lives of those they love who have been touched by cancer. • Idea: Can put the names of those remembered/honored at the luminaria ceremony inside or outside the tent. Could also have soft music playing or a fountain bubbling. 25) Cheese Puff Toss: • Supplies: chairs, whipped cream (cans), and cheese puffs • Set Up: Each team designates one member to be the “tossee” – this person sits in a chair and his/her face is covered with whipped cream. • Objective: The other team members line up and are given “x” number of cheese puff balls to toss at their team member from a designated spot – the goal is to get the cheese puffs stuck in the whipped cream. • Winner: The team that has the most cheese puffs stuck in the whipped cream wins. 26) Potato Golf: (This one is hysterical!! – definitely done well in front of a large group to get everyone laughing!) • Supplies: one pair of panty hose per team, two potatoes per team • The Set up: place one potato in the foot of each pair of hose. Tie one pair of panty hose around each participant’s waist to where the potato is hanging in front of them ending a few inches above the ground. A second potato is then placed on the ground in front of each participant. • Objective: Using only the hips (no hands or feet) swing the panty hose/potato forward and backward hitting the second potato to move it forward. • The Winner: The first one to get the second potato across the finish line (which is about 10-15 feet away from the starting line) is the winner.


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook 27) Tacky Polyester contest (could go well with 70’s theme!) 28) Redneck Fashion Show 29) Big Hair Contest 30) Duct-Tape/Newspaper Gowns • Using only duct-tape, newspaper and scissors (or it can be done without scissors, too) – each team designs and makes a ball gown. Of course, then there has to be a fashion show with the best design winning! 31.) Kids Walk- to be held before the opening ceremonies-great way to kids involved this is a great way to raise additional funds for your Relay 32.) Relay Olympics • Have 6-8 “Olympic” events that each team must participate in in order to get Relay Bucks, Spirit Points, or otherwise be eligible for some really great prizes. • The events can be anything you choose – from traditional track and field events such as the long jump if you’re at a high school track to any of the wild and wacky ideas listed in this document. • The events take place throughout the night and into the next day in order to keep teams there all night. • The “gold” (grand prize – maybe a BBQ for 20 people or something like that), “silver”, and “bronze” are all awarded at closing ceremonies.



Ideas for the Event themes: • Holiday theme: “If we took a holiday…some time to celebrate” • Celebrate Hope • Cirque du Relay • Relay Around the Clock • Marga-Relayville • HOTTT: Helping Others Through Tough Times • Kicking Cancer to the Curb

HOW TO ASSIGN CAMPSITES – There are several ways to assign them… here are a few: • The best campsite location on the field goes to the top ten teams from the previous year, and the rest are based on when they show up to the event (use it as a motivation to get them out early, setting up!! – Give your top 10 teams their pick of campsites, and use it as an incentive in all your team captain’s meetings that you are doing that • Based on the order the teams finished in fundraising the previous year – Pure and simple – the order of $$ raised the previous year… New teams by when they register their team • Team Captain’s Meeting Campsite Raffle – Hold a raffle at a team captain’s meeting to decide who gets what site, must be present to get one of the best sites (the team must send a rep if the team captain can’t be there)… Make it fun for them… Have them draw #’s out of a hat, or something entertaining. (thanks to the Towson Relay For Life) • When you show up to the event – Assign campsites on a first come first served basis the day of the event, to motivate teams to get there early and get setup. Let ‘em know what time they can “get in line” and make it a fun competition! • When they show up to Bank Night – register in order of when they show up at your first bank night • When they register teams… First registered, first campsite choice Cre Ideas for Tent City: • Olympics: Carry the torch for the first lap. Wear togas. Paint hula hoops to form the 5 rings. • Racing for a cure: Car Racing theme. Build a track around your campsite • Fishing for a cure: Have a boat. Have fishing rods, fish etc hanging from your tent • Gilligan’s Island: Palm tree decorations. Don’t be a lost at C (cancer) 67

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Woodstock: Peace Signs, Braided hair, tie-dyed shirts Scrubbing out a Cure for Cancer: Hang a clothes line with clothes on it. Have washboards and buckets Take a bite out of cancer: Decorate tents with big mouths Western theme: Dress up like cowboys Noahs Ark Theme: Have animals paired up. Make tent look like an ark Farm theme: Hay bales, mini tractor, pretend animals Raising Money For Cancer: Money trees with fake money. Good idea for a financial institution Christmas Theme: Dress up like elves. Decorate tent like a Christmas Tree. Hang Stockings Realtors: Build a house around your tent. Bring in a real door, landscaping Living Dolls: Make your tent into a doll house Cancer Crushers: Have big feet everywhere with crushed cans Rocking to the oldies: Decorate like Al’s diner from Happy Days. Team members dress up like the 50’s Aloha Theme: Palm trees, swimming pool. Hunting for a Cure: Decorate the tent in camouflage. Team members wear fatigues. Lettuce Make a Difference: Dress Up as carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, or celery, and mix it up as a salad! Luau For Life The Wild Walkers Reeling for the Cure Beach Bums ICEolate Cancer Put a Chill on Cancer: Transform your tent into an igloo and bring lots of healthy frozen treats for everyone to share Foreign Country: Dress in the traditional costumes of the country of your choice, and serve the appropriate national cuisine. Decorate your tents as the Eiffel Tower or the Coliseum Favorite Movie: Recreate characters, sets, and your favorite scenes. Bring the movie soundtrack along to add to the mood. Cancer Crusaders Lifesavers Cancer Cowboys: Rustling Up a Cure M & M’s: Mad and Mashing out Cancer Golfer’s: Teed off at Cancer Carnival For A Cure: Have all your teams have a carnival/Circus theme! Cruisin’ For a Cure: Have a car theme for your event. Teams could use any of the car related


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themes below under the ideas for team themes, such as “little red corvette”, “Car Wash for a Cure”, and “Car Bashers For a Cure” Happily Ever After: Use fairytale themes and make your event slogan “Making the Fairytale of a Cure come true” Night at the Movies: Use the list of movie themes below o King Kong o Star Wars o Lord of the Rings o Harry Potter o Ect. Take Me out to the Ballgame: Each team could dress up as a Major League Baseball team. Sitcoms / Comedy For A Cure – Have an event themed around Comedy… get standup comedians (or even one that has had cancer), have improv all night and vote for the best improv standup comedian at your event… Have Funny Themed Laps… Show Comedy movies all night on a TV. Have another for Children’s movies, showing Disney movies (Funny ones). Have every campsite have a comedy theme Pick a state theme and do everything around that – here are some examples: • Alabama – Alabama’s current state theme is unforgettable (like the Ray Charles song)… Play the song, and have pictures up of survivors that your team knows, and people who have lost the fight – and how they are unforgettable! • Alaska – Have your theme be the “great outdoors” –have a dog (if they are allowed) pulling a pretend sled, have cut out mountains, fake cross country skiing, fake snow, and more! • Arizona- Have lots of pictures of Arizona, (like the cliffs and so on), have a stretch of desert, etc…The Grand Canyon is there , too – that could be part of your theme! • Arkansas- the Natural State- decorate using outdoors stuff California – Build your theme around San Francisco (Cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge) or Hollywood (movie stuff), etc. • Colorado – Play “Rocky Mountain High” – have a “backdrop” of the Rockies, and so on!!!! • Delaware – “The First State” – Do a theme around lots of “firsts”!!!!! The first state… The first person to sign the Constitution, the first flight (The Wright brothers)… • Florida – could be Sunshine or Jimmy Buffett • Georgia – Georgia Peach! – Have all sorts of food made from peaches as fundraisers!!!! Dress your team in peach outfits (t-shirts with big peaches on them or something), have the peach color be your site color, and so on!!!! • Hawaii - “Hula for a cure” • Idaho – Have Potatoes be your theme – have food with potatoes and offer them for a donation as a fundraiser…!!!!! Have your whole team dress up as spuds.


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Kansas – Do a Wizard of Oz theme!!! Have a Dorothy on your team, a Toto, and so on! • Kentucky - “we are a big horse Kentucky Derby stuff. We always call that “The Run for the Roses” so maybe you can do something with that and maybe get garlands of roses to use for your campsite and all your walkers wear them around their can the artificial ones at wal-mart or something really cheap…” • Louisiana – Build your team theme around the Mardi gras! And New Orleans – Pass out beads on the track each lap, and so on! • Maryland – Here are some themes: “I’m Feeling Crabby”, “Crabbing for A Cure” (have a boat, catch “fake” crabs), “Fishing For A Cure”, “Baltimore Orioles for A Cure” (order Orioles T-shirts, etc, baseball hats, etc.). • Massachusetts – Have a Boston Tea Party theme!!! Hold high tea at the event as a fundraiser, have a fake boat... etc. • Michigan – could be Go Blue! (University Of Michigan) • Mississippi – Have your theme be the “Great Mississippi”!!! Have things around the river, river boats, Huck Finn, and more!!! • Nevada –have a Las Vegas theme! • New Mexico – Have a “Santa Fe’ Theme • New York – Have your team theme be “New York, New York” with Frank Sinatra music and the whole 9 yards!!!! • New Jersey – Have an Atlantic City theme… • Ohio – Show your team spirit and build an Ohio State University Theme!!!! OSU, Columbus, Ohio • Oklahoma – Do your theme around the play “Oklahoma!” • Tennessee- The “Volunteer” state • Texas – Make your theme around the Alamo and San Antonio! Have someone dress up like Davey Crockett!!! • Washington – Do your theme around Washington apples… • Wisconsin – Do your theme around Cheese and Cheese heads (maybe the Green Bay Packers and cheese heads?) Moo-ving For A Cure – Have a cow on a banner, dress as cows, whatever fun cow related themes you can think of!!!! Then Moo-ve cancer out! Cartooning For a Cure – THIS WORKS FOR THE WHOLE RELAY EVENT!!!!!!! – One relay event had Cartoons as the THEME FOR THE WHOLE EVENT, and every campsite had a cartoon theme!!!! Talk about neat! One site had a Dora Theme, another had Scooby Doo, and another had Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck… You could have a Scooby Doo Theme for your campsite, or a Bugs Bunny Road Runner show theme… “Cartooning For a Cure” or “Toon out Cancer” – Have each of your team members dress as a cartoon character to form your team… Decorate your tent like a cartoon house – maybe crazy colors, or something


Don’t just have participants stop walking when you reach the 24 hour mark. The FINAL LAP should be a big deal! It’s a chance to thank participants for coming... and staying the entire 24 hours! It’s also a time to salute the committee, and recognize top fundraisers. The closing ceremony is a time for thank-yous, awards, reflection, and togetherness. It’s the time to recognize people and teams who put in a lot of time, money, and energy to make the Relay For Life successful. The closing ceremony is the official end to your event. To make it a success, you should do everything possible to ensure that the teams and participants stay until the end. You can do this by … • Providing quality entertainment up until the closing ceremony • Announcing awards at the closing ceremony, such as top fundraising team or best tent decorations • Holding a drawing for top fundraisers at the closing and mentioning that the contestants must be present to win • Holding a cookout or serving lunch or early dinner • Announcing results, including number of luminarias sold, number of survivors, and total funds raised • Announcing next year’s chair, date of Relay, and location if known The closing ceremony should celebrate what your Relay For Life has accomplished. After the awards, thank-you’s, and recognition, having an all-participants’ lap to end the event is a fitting finale. Everyone who made a difference in the fight against cancer will feel the spirit of togetherness and camaraderie. Here are some other suggestions to include in your CLOSING CEREMONY. • Do a countdown to the Final Lap. 1 hr to go... 30 min to go... • With about 15 minutes to go, have participants gather at the stage. Simply have them stop when they reach the stage. • Thank committee, give out recognition awards. • Recognize those people who stayed awake the whole 24 hours. • Give out incentive prizes [if you have them]. • Make a big deal of the Top Fundraisers [individual and team]. • Announce Most Inspirational [if you’re doing this]. • Read the Relay For Life poem “I walked...”[cry-fest!] • Announce how much money was raised! • Have someone sing a special song for the last lap; or play an appropriate C.D. • Have EVERYONE do the last lap for the year – to be continued next year. Sample Agenda for Closing 71
























Items may be found by team members anywhere within walking distance. 1. Green Sock 2. Baseball cap 3. Band-Aid (unused preferred- used accepted) 4. Long Sleeve Shirt 5. Relay for Life sticker 6. Nike Shoe 7. Comb 8. Senior picture 9. Coin minted prior to 1980 10. Burt’s Beeswax Chap stick 11. Photo of a baby 12. Grocery store receipt 13. Black Shoe String 14. Water bottle 15. Ballpoint pen 16. Fruit 17. Sports Sandal (ex. Tevas, Chacos, Columbia) 18. Candy 19. Fingernail file 20. Mascara 21. Knit glove 22. Magazine 23. Pack of Extra Winterfresh Gum 24. Camera 25. Safety Pin 26. Cowboy hat 27. Empty soda container 28. Lotion 29. Find someone with red hair Team Name ____________________________________________



Kid’s walks WHAT: A great way to get Kids and their families involved in Relay For Life and to add new life to your event on a Saturday morning. WHERE: You’re Relay For Life WHO: A successful Kids walk is really an event within an event so you need a separate planning committee of 5 to 10 people. About 15 to 25 Kids walk volunteers are needed the day of the event depending on the activities you have planned. Kids walk participants are younger – elementary school and below – and their families. WHEN: Saturday morning from 10:00 to 12:00 or Friday night from 5:00-6:00 (depending on when your Relay starts) H0W: Before the Event For a Kids walk to be successful you need to make the commitment to it well before your event date.


Corporate Sponsorship: One event sold separate sponsorships for their Kids walk Tshirts. They filled up 15 $250 sponsor slots and next year will raise the level to include $500 sponsors and use names instead of logos on the shirts. The cost of a separate shirt is expensed to your event. This is a great opportunity to bring in new sponsors – children’s clothing stores, pediatricians, pediatric dentists, specialty toy stores, portrait photographers.

Publicity: The Kids walk needs to be promoted throughout Relay season at meetings and with local media. If you wait until right before the event it is too late. Make special efforts with local nursery schools and preschools. Also try to get permission to send home a flyer with information and a registration form through your local school system. Target elementary schools and below.

Leadership: Kids walk needs to be headed by a committed leader who thinks about this as a separate event within the Relay event. It has its own sponsorship, registration, logistics, entertainment etc. The leader needs to organize and promote the event within your larger Relay.


Pre-registration: Registration forms can be distributed to all elementary and preschools as well as at team captain meetings. A $5 registration fee per child was charged which basically covered the cost of the t-shirt. By emphasizing pre-registration before the event you can head into Relay knowing you have 100-200 children already signed up. Send them a reminder/newsletter before the event.

Fundraising: Sources of funds include:   

Corporate sponsors Registration fee to cover cost of t-shirt Each child is asked to raise at least $25 in donation money. The children are asked to mail in their money, have it turned in at a meeting, or turn it in at the Kids walk Tent beginning Friday evening at the Relay.

At the Event 

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Logistics – you will need a separate Kids walk tent with space around it for activities. The tent needs to be available throughout the Relay. T-shirts can be picked up at the Kids walk tent starting Friday evening through 8:00 pm and then Saturday morning starting at 8:00 am. Activities – focused around Kids walk area can include face painting, clowns, a craft tent/area, K-9 demonstrations, fire department safety demonstrations At event sponsorship opportunities – Teams can sponsor moonwalks Local dairy sponsors ice cream party Local business sponsors pizza party

Team participation opportunities Saturday morning some teams did Kids walk focused activities such as Selling popcorn and hotdogs, kiddie games (fishing pole, putt putt golf)

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Entertainment – work some Kids appropriate entertainment into your Saturday morning, ex. Hula hoop contest, local youth dance/cheer groups performing Incorporate survivor recognition – some type of recognition/reception during the Kids walk for those registered that are cancer survivors.

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook Kid walk can be anything you want it to be depending on your Kids walk Committee and how involved they are. It can be a separate time for Kids to walk the track or with some pre-event planning you can turn it into a whole morning of fun.

To inspire you: New Hanover County in 2005 had 360 registered Kids and raised $6,100 Craven County had 225 kids registered and raised $11,000 Hertford Gates raised $9,000 in its first Kids walk ever





Relay History and Background The American Cancer Society Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated. Relay For Life… In The Beginning One person can make a difference! Nowhere is that more evident than with the story of Dr. Gordy Klatt, who began the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in Tacoma, Washington. Dr. Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, decided to raise money for his local American Cancer Society by doing something he enjoyed – running marathons. In May 1985, he spent 24 hours circling the University of Puget Sound’s Baker Stadium track – a total distance of more than 83 miles. Throughout the day and night, 300 of Dr. Klatt’s friends, family, and patients paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. That first year, he raised an amazing $27,000 in the fight against cancer. Dr. Klatt, envisioning that a 24-hour team relay event could raise even more money, pulled together a small committee to plan it. The result? In 1986, 19 teams walked and ran on the track at the Stadium Bowl in the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer, raising $33,000. An indescribable spirit prevailed on the track and in the tents that dotted the infield. This spirit has continued to grow and thrive wherever Relays are held. Now, more than 2.5 million people – over half a million of them survivors – participate in Relays each year at more than 4,400 sites across the United States and in twenty-one other countries. In one year alone, Relays raised more than $350 million in the fight against cancer. Because of its fundraising success and the overwhelming support of the American Cancer Society’s mission, Relay For Life was declared the Society’s signature activity in 1996.

Relay Today Relay For Life is an overnight event consisting of teams of 8 to 15 people spending 12 to 24 hours walking or running around a track to raise money to fight cancer. It’s a relay, with at least one member of each team on the track during the entire event. Relay teams raise money throughout the year prior to the event in a variety of fundraising activities. Relay For Life celebrates survivors, funds research and cancer education, inspires the public to become involved in the American Cancer Society’s advocacy efforts, and makes important services possible for patients and their families. Two highlights of every Relay are the survivorship activities and luminaria ceremony, each acknowledging those who have been touched by cancer. Survivors are honored and celebrated by special activities, including an opening survivors’ lap around the track and heartwarming ceremonies. Many Relays also include caregivers during this special time. Luminaria are lighted votive candles in


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook paper bags purchased both before and during the Relay. The lighted luminaria bags are placed around the track in memory of or in honor of someone who has been touched by cancer.

Relay For Life Standards These National standards are consistent with every Relay For Life event across the country. A Relay must meet these standards to be officially considered an American Cancer Society Relay For Life event.  Overnight Event – The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life was originally created as a 24-hour event because cancer never sleeps; someone who has cancer deals with it 24 hours a day. Relays that last less than 24 hours (usually 12 to 18 hours) must still be overnight. Overnight can be defined as sunset to sunrise.  Opening and Closing Ceremonies – Relays begin with an opening ceremony that includes a victory lap, led by cancer survivors, that starts and sets the tone for the entire event. The closing ceremony provides another opportunity for cancer survivors and their caregivers to both walk the track and to celebrate the success of the event.  Luminaria Ceremony – Luminaria are white paper bags filled with enough sand to support lighted candles. Each bag bears the name of a loved one in whose honor or memory the luminaria was purchased. The Luminaria ceremony, often called the Ceremony of Hope, is a powerful ceremony providing an opportunity for people to work through grief and find hope.  Survivorship – All RFL events shall have a Survivorship engagement focus, including activities at the Relay event (a Survivor Lap and usually a reception for survivors).  Mission Delivery – All Relay For Life communities shall utilize Relay as a portal to infuse all parts of the Society mission, such as advocacy, survivorship, education and information on patient services and programs.  Team Registration/Commitment Fee – Teams that pay a registration/commitment fee are more likely to follow through on their participation and fundraising. The commitment fee covers the costs of both printing the registration materials and other event overhead costs. There is no nationally recommended fee, although many Relays charge $10 per person or $150 for each team.  Follow Relay For Life Graphic Standards – Relay For Life printed materials, signs, and other collateral materials should follow national graphic standards so the appearance of local Relays will coordinate with the efforts of others nationwide.  Tobacco-Free Environment – Relays are tobacco-free environments, however, tobacco users are not excluded. We encourage their participation but prohibit their use of tobacco during the event.  No Alcohol Allowed – Relay For Life is a family event most often held on school property, where alcohol is prohibited.



Keys to Successful Relays Conduct a Kickoff Kick Off events are an excellent outreach in the community offering opportunities for both new and veteran teams to recruit volunteers, teams and survivors. • • • • •

Request the Mid South Division Kick Off Planning Guide and Kit from your staff partner to promote and conduct a successful Relay Kick Off. Team captains receive detailed information about the event and supplies of event materials. Committed teams sign up and turn in their team registration fees. Team captains receive ideas and tools to recruit team members and raise funds. Captains receive information about the American Cancer Society and its important role in the fight against cancer.

Hold Team Captain Meetings Team captain meetings are valuable information venues, motivating teams, providing fundraising ideas and sharing educational information about programs, services and advocacy efforts. To achieve the best results from teams, plan to hold at least three Team Captain Meetings prior to the Relay event.

Send Regular Team Communication and Newsletters Inform teams through newsletters, meetings and e-mails. Keep volunteers in the loop on all activities and information they need to be successful in their fight against cancer.

Recognize Top Teams Do you know who your top teams are? Find out how long they have been involved and who their team captains are, and build relationships. These supporters are key to the success of Relay fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and involvement with other American Cancer Society programs and services. You may want to recognize your top 3-10 teams, depending on the size of your Relay. Here a few easy recognition ideas: • • • •


A track sign listing top teams Acknowledgement at the event wrap-up Recognition at the kick off the following year Listing them in the program


Provide Incentives for Individuals and Teams Events have higher individual fundraising averages when individuals can strive for fundraising incentives. Team-based fundraising programs have been proven to increase teams’ overall fundraising levels, and participant satisfaction. All Mid South Division events need to offer the individual incentive and All Star Club fundraising programs.

Establish a Team Registration Fee and Deadlines Offer teams a discount by establishing an early registration date. Payment of registration fees (a national Relay guideline) will allow your committee to see how many teams have made a commitment. Early registration deadlines also motivate teams to start fundraising earlier.

Emphasize $100 Fundraising Minimum per Team Member Team captains need to understand the importance of having each member raise at least $100. Individuals show their commitment for the event by each person doing their part. This message can be reinforced at team captain meetings and other communications.

Focus on Survivorship This is at the heart of why we Relay. The National “HOPE Model” of survivor engagement includes Honoring survivors, offering the Opportunity to fully participate in Relay, Providing services and Engaging them with the Society. By having an integrated approach to survivor recruitment, retention and celebration, we can: • • •

Maximize the involvement of survivors in Relay For Life activities Offer volunteer and program participation opportunities to survivors and caregivers Ultimately, strengthen the meaning of Relay For Life

Pursue Corporate Sponsorships Companies demonstrate their good citizenship to the community at large and to their employees by sponsoring local events. In return for the recognition a company receives for sponsoring the Relay, the company pays an amount of money based on the perceived value of being publicly associated with the event and having their name in front of your audience.

Hold a Bank Night Bank nights can accomplish many important goals. 1. Teams turn in their donations prior to event, reducing the amount of money handling and processing at the Relay.


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook 2. Teams turn in all remaining registration paperwork, allowing the Accounting & Registration sub-committee to finalize registration numbers. 3. Team Captains can receive important last minute information and updates, purchase and decorate luminarias, and sign up for Relay activities. 4. T-shirts, security bracelets, meal tickets and other important items can also be distributed to registered and paid teams.

Prioritize Data Collection Having Relay data from year to year allows staff and volunteers to successfully plan and implement local Relays to meet their goals. With this important data, we can provide historical perspective, see potential, evaluate success factors, and set benchmarks for achievement. The American Cancer Society is committed to working with staff and volunteers to analyze and use all data sources available to maximize success factors for Relay.



Relay Growth: Focus on the 5 Ds Thank you for taking on a volunteer role with Relay. No matter which position you hold on the committee, you can help your Relay event by focusing on the five identified core development areas, known as the 5 Ds. If you want to help your Relay grow year after year, keep your focus on these 5 Development areas, and you will begin to see success. You hold the power to grow your Relay!

Leadership Development Relays need a strong, community-represented leadership committee for success. When out in the community, be on the “look out” for potential, new committee members who would be a great asset to your Relay For Life event. • •

Opportunities: Committee positions such as Event Chair, Co-Chair, Team Development Chair, and Chairs of other sub-committees like survivorship, sponsorship, registration & accounting, logistics, entertainment & activities, luminaria, publicity, and more. Targets: Community, civic and business leaders, cancer survivors, volunteers, friends, neighbors and more.

Team Development Relay For Life is a “team” event and the number of teams involved equals success. Everyone on the committee can be a team recruiter and invite others to form teams of 10 – 15 members. Help engage more people in the fight against cancer through new team recruitment! • •

Opportunities: Representative groups from your community reaching all demographics need to be forming teams at the Relay. Targets: Corporations, businesses, faith-based groups, survivors, families, schools, civic organizations and friends to name a few.

Survivor Development All cancer survivors should be given the opportunity to be a part of your community’s Relay For Life. • •


Opportunities: Serve on committees, form teams, attend the event including survivor activities. Targets: Anyone surviving all types of cancers including those in treatments and newly diagnosed. Personal friends, coworkers, family members, cancer treatment centers, hospitals, support groups are just a few examples.


Event Development Building a strong, successful event relates to retention of teams and growth in fundraising. When an opportunity arises, assist in securing items to make your Relay For Life event a great experience. • •

Opportunities: Determine a location, in-kind donations, food, water, prizes, help at the event, entertainment, security and more. Keep your Relay fresh and exciting year after year. Targets: Local city officials, businesses, community groups, any personal contacts, and others depending on needs.

Fundraising Development Relay is the signature fundraising activity for the American Cancer Society. The mission to find a cure and eliminate cancer one day correlates directly to funds generated by this event. • •


Opportunities: Relay fundraising revolves around the team and individual fundraising of our participants. Other supporting fundraising includes sponsorship, underwriting, Relay activities, and luminaria bag donations. Targets: Team Captains and participants need to be trained on how to overcome the fear of fundraising and be great fundraisers. In addition, committee members should pass on contacts to other committee members for local businesses, corporations, healthcare facilities, banks, personal employers, and others for sponsorships.


Sample Relay Timeline This is a loose timeline to give you a feeling for what to expect throughout the Relay season.

11 to 12 months before event • • • •

Event chair(s) recruited and trained. Secure facility for Relay and finalize the date, time, and location of event. Plan for the event, including goals for number of teams, survivors, sponsors and plans for other areas of the Relay. Begin Corporate Sponsor recruitment and continue through Relay.

9 to 11 months before event • • • • • •

Event Chair(s) recruit committee members to fill Relay Planning committee. Conduct all Partnership Agreements so all sub-committee Chairs understand their roles. Sub-committee Chairs recruit partners to help in their focus area. Plan/schedule Relay Committee Retreat Review data (teams, sponsors, wrap-up notes, etc.) from last year as a full committee Build a Team Development Plan including both Recruitment and Retention and begin reaching out to invite past teams back.

6 to 9 months before event • Hold Relay Committee Retreat for your committee • Committee meetings should focus on:  Committee and Sub-Committee recruitment and development  Sponsor recruitment updates  Developing a team development plan for the entire committee including both Recruitment and Retention  Kickoff Planning and invitation list • Begin planning a kickoff as an entire planning committee led by the Team Development sub-committee. Set date, time, and location.  Each sub-committee should contribute in some way to the Kickoff. For example, Registration & Accounting will need to collect forms and money, Online should make sure there are computers available to register at the Kickoff, Entertainment & Activities should help create an exciting program, Food & Hospitality should secure food donations and make sure everyone feels welcome at the Kickoff, etc.

5 to 7 months before event • Committee meetings should focus on:  Team recruitment and retention progress and updates from all committee members. Have all past teams been contacted? Have new potential teams been identified? Have all returning and potential teams been invited to the Kickoff? How is the entire committee participating in identifying potential teams and giving warm leads to the Team Development Sub-Committee?  Sponsor recruitment updates  Publicity progress focusing on team recruitment • Hold your Relay Kickoff (ideally 5 months prior to your Relay)  Advertise local Team Captain University  At this point you should have 50% of your returning teams from last year registered.  Be sure to follow up on the phone or through email with all attendees and those who could not attend the Kickoff.

4 months before event • Committee meetings should focus on:  Team Recruitment and Retention progress as a committee – You should have 50% of your total team goal registered by this point. If not, brainstorm how to catch up with focused recruitment approaches from the whole committee.  Each Sub-Committee should report back on the plans and progress for their focus area.  Survivor report on recruitment/retention progress.  Publicity progress focusing on team recruitment and raising awareness of event in community. • Host a Team Captain’s University (TCU) for all Team Captains or publicize regional TCU. • Hold first team captain meeting ideally 3.5 months before Relay. Focus on:  Phase 1: Team Building and Planning (review registration process, encourage team communication and goal setting, begin team fundraising event planning)


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook      

Review Team Fundraising ideas, including sales, dinners, tournaments, Mini-Relays, etc. Review Registration and T-shirt deadlines Review Incentive Prize Program information Review Team Mentor program – highlight great teams from last year offering to help new teams American Cancer Society education/Mission Moment Team questions and answers

3 months before event • Committee meeting should focus on:  Team recruitment progress  Survivor recruitment progress  Publicity focusing on survivor recruitment and raising awareness of event in community  Logistical plans for the Relay (items needed as donations, layout plan, etc)  Each Sub-Committee should report back on the plans and progress for their focus area. • Hold second team captain meeting ideally 2.5 months before Relay. Focus on:  Review Phase 1: Team Building and Planning quickly (registration, goal setting, planning)  Focus on Phase 2: Fundraising (individual AND team, successful ideas, highlight successes) o Emphasize individual letter-writing/online fundraising AND team fundraising events  Mention Registration and T-shirt deadlines  ACS education/Mission Moment  Questions and answers

2 months before event • Committee meeting should focus on:  Team recruitment progress. You should have 75% of your total team goal registered by this point. If not, brainstorm how to catch up with focused recruitment approaches from the whole committee.  Survivor recruitment progress  Publicity focusing on survivor recruitment and raising awareness of event in community  Logistical plans for the Relay (items needed as donations, layout plan, etc)  Entertainment & Activities plans and progress, especially for Ceremonies  Fundraising progress report by Registration & Accounting Sub-Committee  Each Sub-Committee should report back on the plans and progress for their focus area. • Hold third team captains’ meeting ideally 6 weeks before Relay. Focus on:  Review Phase 1: Team Building and Planning quickly for any new teams (registration, goal setting, planning)  Review Phase 2: Fundraising (Fundraising (individual AND team, successful ideas, highlight successes)  Focus on Phase 3: Preparing for Relay Fun! (team theme and decorations, on-site fundraising, walking schedule, what to bring, activity sign ups, healthy competition between teams, etc.)  Last minute fundraising ideas, like the Online 10 Day Blitz  Incentive Prize and Team Awards information to encourage healthy competition – highlight the current fundraising leaders  American Cancer Society education and advocacy update  Questions and answers

1 month before event • Committee meeting should focus on:  Team recruitment progress. You should have 100% of your total team goal registered by this point. If not, brainstorm how to catch up with focused recruitment approaches from the whole committee.  Survivor recruitment progress. You should have about 75% of your survivor recruitment goal by this point. If not, brainstorm how to catch up with focused recruitment approaches.  Fundraising progress report by Registration & Accounting Sub-Committee  Bank Night planning and scheduling. All committee members should participate and help with Bank Night.  Logistical plans for the Relay, including items needed as donations, layout plan, set up and tear down plan, on-site emergency plan, on-site security plan, onsite communication, etc.  Entertainment & Activities plans and progress, including Ceremony plans and Relay Program needs from the whole committee.  Food and Hospitality plans and progress, including food and decoration donations.  Each Sub-Committee should report back on the plans and progress for their focus area.


ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES guidebook 2 weeks before event • Committee meetings should focus on:  Logistical plans and updates for the Relay, including items needed as donations, layout plan, set up and tear down plan, on-site emergency plan, on-site security plan, on-site communication among the committee, etc.  Bank Night Planning. Coordinating last minute details and who will do what for Bank Night.  Fundraising progress report by Registration & Accounting Sub-Committee  Relay Program information coordination by Entertainment & Activities sub-committee  Each Sub-Committee should report back on the plans and progress for their focus area.

1 to 2 weeks before event • Hold Bank Night(s).  All committee members should help set up, man a station, count money, and tear down.  All Society accounting and cash handling procedures should be followed, including counting in a secure location.  Report fundraising progress to all Relay participants through email communication.

You’re Relay For Life! • Work the Track to work on Team Retention and find potential volunteers for next year. • All Society accounting and cash handling procedures should be followed, including counting in a secure location. • Each sub-committee should manage their on-site responsibilities and communicate with the Event Chair and the rest of the committee as needed. • Logistics Sub-Committee works with the staff partner and Event Chair to handle any emergencies.

3 to 4 weeks after event  Hold wrap-up meeting for leadership planning committee. Focus on:  Celebrating success  Assessing the event and looking at positives and improvements for next year  Remember recognition and thank-yous  Committee positions and succession planning for next year  Discuss next year’s event - date, time, location • Hold wrap-up meeting for team captains. Focus on:  Celebrating success  Assessing the event – what went well, what needs to change in the future  Recognition and thank-yous  Discuss next year’s event - date, time, location  Use Wrap Up Meeting as a opportunity for committee recruitme


2010 Entertainment & Activities Guidebook  

RFL guidebook for entertaintment and activities