Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like...Relay Training Season!

We are in the heart of Relay training prep right now.

It's safe to say that over the past few weeks -- mainly since the National Summit in July, I have been living, breathing, eating and sleeping Relay For Life.

I knew that when I woke up with my first Relay bad dream, that the first major training is approaching.  It may or may not have involved me up on stage, in all my pregnant glory, wiping out as I stepped off the stage.  And having the baby right there.  That would definitely wake ANYONE up!

I have the awesome privilege of heading up a great team of peeps who design and create the general sessions of our Great West trainings.  The Great West Division covers a 12 state area -- with the nation's highest per-cap states (meaning they raise the most per person in the state) as well as the lowest.  It's quite a training challenge -- meeting as many needs as possible, while delivering great content in a way that gets Relayers fired up.   We train volunteers from nearly 500 events, with more than 5000 attending over the fall training season.

Next weekend's training is two parts -- the first official Summit of Great West as well as the "Train the Trainer" for our Summit leads.  The other Summit leads -- from 12 different Leadership Summits in our Division -- join us to see how it's done.  They have their own track and attend our General Sessions so they can see how we hope it will be done in their own trainings. 

It's safe to say there's a little bit of pressure not to screw up.  :)  Or to fall off the stage and have your baby at the same time.  That's probably my bigger focus after that dream.

Jonathan's been fantastic, because since he returned from North Carolina, I've pretty much been holed up in my office -- designing templates, updating scripts, importing content from our National Summit and updating it as things change and building out training pieces for the General Sessions.  I feel very blessed to be able to have an impact on this level -- and to be able to put my creativity to good use.   Finian Road has designed much of the collateral pieces for these trainings -- including some sweet surprises which will be unveiled next weekend if everything comes together.

But I'll be honest, I'm really looking forward to having this month-long crazy-focused adventure come to an end, as everything is presented, refined and packaged to be given to each of the Summit leads by the end of next weekend.  The end of summer is always intense as we finish everything up.  At that point, my role transitions to presenter and emcee over the fall -- in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Nashville (for the Mid-South Division Summit) and finally Seattle...where I will be too far along to fly anymore.  :)  It will be much less stress...and then we transition to focusing on a major training event in January for our top Relays in the Great West.

The Wee Skis have always been a part of Relay -- Thomas was in his first Division meetings at 7 weeks old, when I chaired the Division's Training Task Force.  John Paul was 7 weeks old at his first overnight Relay For Life, and the Wee Ski 3.0 will be about 7 weeks when he comes along to the 2013 Mega Event Experience in January.  You could say the Skis are big believers in not letting age hold you back from volunteering. 

I'll be honest -- I have been blessed with some amazing people in our Division who make it possible for me to volunteer AND have the Wee Skis (usually during their first year) with me so their nursing isn't affected.  Both boys have been to more than half a dozen Summits and trainings, and Thomas can spot a Relay logo from a mile away. "They Relay, Mommy!  Look!  They're my friends!"

One of these awesome people is Linda Kohls -- who is my staff partner for the Mega Event Workgroup.  She lives in Minnesota so we've never actually been to each other's houses -- except for now.  She's been to the farm.  She was visiting one of our Mega Events in SW Washington, and took a few hours to come up to the farm and brainstorm out some ideas for Mega this winter.  It was so much fun having her here.  She's famous with John Paul because she let him eat a cube of butter off a plate in Denver, Colorado -- and Thomas adores her after she taught him to say, "Uff da! I'm a farmer!" with a big piece of hay hanging out of his mouth.

His funniest quote since then?  Telling everyone he sees, "I had fun with Auntie Uffda, she works for Relay, and gave me weed and I put it in my mouth."  

Hay = weed in this sweet three-year-old's mind.  :)

She's amazing to work with, and so great at taking care of our top Relays.  Very excited to see her next weekend.


Back to the grindstone...I'm on hour six today and needed a blogging break from scripting!!  :)  I'll stop for dinner with the Skis in a few, and hopefully finalize up the 3rd General Session before bed tonight.

Everything needs to be finished up before I step on the flight to Nevada on Wednesday.

CANNOT WAIT for next weekend!!

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