Volunteers get into gear for 2014 Sundance Aug. 30-31Making of annual festival a labor of love
Converting the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center into a first-class auction venue and then transforming it again into a high-energy dance club, all within the space of a single weekend, takes enormous energy, resources, commitment, and dedication.
Fortunately, that heart in the center of the CAMP Rehoboth logo isn’t just a graphic. The love supporters feel for the organization and its goals clearly figures into Sundance. Team captains for the event recently provided a rare, behind-the-scenes view of what it takes to pull off the two-day event, which will be held Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 30-31.
Read Cape Gazette's Visitors' Guide to
Volunteers are organized into teams, and team captains each have their own crew of helpers and specific areas of responsibility. For many, Sundance is more than just a fundraiser. “The thing that is most amazing is that we have had some of the same hosts, supporters, auction donors, and volunteers since the inception of Sundance,” says Charlie Lee, who started his involvement with Sundance by volunteering to pick up auction items and is now responsible for generating the massive database used for, among other things, producing the more than 600 thank-you letters needed to acknowledge all the people, businesses, and organizations that contribute to the event each year. “Sundance is the ultimate CAMP benefit that brings everyone together,” he says.
Jane Blue, who manages the food for Sundance with the help of Steve Elkins (one of the event’s founders) adds, “To me, Sundance means camaraderie. It seems like our whole community comes together for a week of summer fun and laughs. It has always been my favorite CAMP event. It really pumps my adrenaline.”
Karl Zoric, Mark Pipkin, Michael Fetchko, and Keith Petrack are known as the beach team ticket sales captains. They gather each year on Poodle Beach under a big white tent the last two weekends in August to promote Sundance and sell tickets. In addition, they sell tickets in the CAMP Courtyard and even work the streets of D.C. to gather donations large and small for the auction.
“The highlight for all of us as team captains is participating in the live auction and being part of ‘Team Vanna’ with Sandra Skidmore as our lead, showcasing the auction items on stage,” says Zoric. “Being a Sundance team captain is our way of giving back to CAMP Rehoboth and the important work they do to support our community,” adds Pipkin.
Another key part of the event involves setting the scene for fun. Cathin Bishop is one of the décor captains. “I work with Murray and the other captains to bring his vision to reality,” she says. “Sometimes, it can be more engineering and construction than décor, but we figure it out. I love the way we work together. Some of us may not see one another all year, but we fall right into sync with each other and the process just purrs.”
An essential part of Sundance Weekend is the silent auction, when the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center is filled with hundreds of incredible gift items, vacation packages, dining opportunities, pieces of fine art, and one-of-a-kind experiences donated by the many generous businesses and individuals of the Rehoboth/Lewes area and beyond. Bob Hoffer and Max Dick direct this effort, which involves calling upon area businesses and organizations to ask what they might be able to contribute, picking up the donations, and delivering them to CAMP headquarters, where they must be organized, labeled, and prepared for display.
Murray Archibald, event cofounder, can’t help being a little dazzled himself, at both the generosity of the volunteers and the continued growth and success of the event. “As the producers of Sundance for 27 years, Steve and I are always deeply moved by the incredible commitment that our team captains and their crews bring to the event. Many of them have been doing this for years - some for decades! They are our Sundance family, and there’s always room for more!”
Sundance raises much-needed funds for CAMP Rehoboth, an organization that operates a full-service community center; offers a variety of activities, cultural events, service projects, and educational programs; and advocates for a community of inclusion in Rehoboth Beach. Individuals and organizations can be a part of the event through ticket purchases or sponsorships, which start at just $100. All proceeds from the event benefit CAMP Rehoboth, a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, and support the activities and programs it provides to the Rehoboth community. For more information, go to camprehoboth.com.