Relay for Life National Conference : The Wrap-Up

A few weeks ago, I was honored (and somewhat flabbergasted) to be asked to join the Great Lakes Division training team for Relay for Life - basically, the trainers who give guidance to event chairs and other Summit attendees on how to make their Relays rock.

(After stepping down as chair of our event after two years, I was feeling decidedly unmoored about Relay, so this came at the PERFECT time to reignite my passion for Relaying...)

I jumped in - a bit apprehensive, a bit nerdily excited - and joined this elite team of a dozen from across Indiana and Michigan.

(Go Hoosiers! Represent!)

None of us knew each other previously, but that all changed this weekend at the Relay for Life National Conference.

First off, the conference was held at the spectacular (and enormous) Opryland Hotel in Nashville, just down the road from the 'Vern...

Relay National Summit!

Opryland Interior

One More

Though I fretted and fussed about getting to our GLD (Great Lakes Division) meeting on time, I made it, and we spent the afternoon and evening getting to know each other, learning about training techniques, rockin' some rad jackets, and going out to dinner at a very...um, authentic, Nashville restaurant. ;-)

Good times.

The real emotional impact, the real thrust of the weekend wouldn't happen until the following morning, when the doors to the first General Session opened, and for about ten minutes, over 1000 Relayers danced, screamed, boogied, shot photos and smiled as one.

Life changing.

Oh my god...life changing!

All weekend long in that room, we heard the most amazing speakers...Dr. Gordy, Udie from Zambia, Dr. Seffrin, "Michelle's Law"'s mother, and on and on and on.....and of course, a luminaria ceremony...


And we had training sessions too - the "train the trainer" sessions that were the main crux of our attendance. I can't wait to tweak then teach them at our Summit!

And to rock some rad hats. ;-)


The highlight of our bonding was when we went and "pinked out" for our Relay Olympics, the Friday evening activity! Each division had a color, and as the pink team, we TRULY left the competition in the dust...even if we didn't medal as a team. ;-)


GLD Olympic Showing

Before we knew it, though, it was Saturday afternoon and it was all over. I was so sad to leave everyone behind and go back home to "real life", buoyed only by the fact I'll get to go away "to camp" again in a month to plan a summit, get pumped again for Relay, and most of all, to see all my new friends.

Thanks, GLD Community Training Team, for making me feel welcome, making me feel valued, and making me feel like I'm part of something so much bigger than myself.

You are all rock stars.

GLD Community Training Team!

My name is Marissa Priddis, and I'm a Relayer.


Kelly said...

You're such an inspiration! I'm a long-time reader, first-time poster as well as a fellow Hoosier (Valparaiso). My father-in-law is also a director of a public library.

All the work you do for this cause is astonishing and appreciated!

Marissa said...

Kelly, your comment means SO much - thank you! Glad to know I have such a great reader - with a great library connection!

(I wonder if I know your father-in-law!)

Thanks for reading! :-)

Karen Seal said...

Your luminaria bag made me cry! Sounds like you had an AMAZING time!! I am leaving in the morning for Summit and I can't wait!! Good to read about your experiences!