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 Team Captains Handbook


Thank you for volunteering to be a Team Captain for the Stay-Awake-A-Thon. This event offers everyone in our community an opportunity to come together to support and encourage those who have been touched by cancer, while remembering those who have lost their battle.  It also allows people to participate in the fight against cancer, and to support Happiness is Camping and Maria Fareri Childrens Hospital

Teams of people will “camp out” at Hendrick Hudson High School and enjoy fun and games. Each team is asked to have one team member awake at all times during the event.

As a team captain, responsible for recruiting team members, you are the heart and soul of this event.  We’ve developed this Team Captain’s Handbook to help guide you through planning and managing this incredible event.

This handbook will help you speak knowledgeably about Happiness is Camping and Maria Fareri Childrens Hospital.  It will also help answer questions, and encourage others to become involved.  More importantly, you’ll be ready to show your passion for making cancer a thing of the past.


Table of Contents:                            

What is a Stay-A-Wake-A-Thon?....................................... 2

What do your dollars support?............................................ 3

So, What do I do now that I’m a Team Captain?............... 4

Motivate our team............................................................... 5

It’s easier than you think to raise money............................ 6

Fundraising Tips for Teams................................................. 7

Voice Mail and Email messages.......................................... 8

Team Theme Ideas.............................................................. 9

What is a Stay-Awake-A-Thon?     

A Stay-Awake-A-Thon is a fun, team-based, overnight event.  Eight or more friends, family members, or co-workers can form a team.  Each team registers on-line, or submits a registration form, sets a team fundraising goal, and each member raises a minimum of $100.

At this event you will:Learn more about cancer;Receive tips for cancer prevention and staying healthy;Link up with others who have had a similar experience dealing with this disease; andCheer on the many survivors and provide those newly diagnosed with hope, support, and encouragement.

As the event begins, teams set up their “camp ground” and decorate it according to their own team theme.  They will set up everything they need for the night including folding chairs, pillows, etc., and the activities items they will be selling for their last night of fundraising.  Be creative!  This makes the evening fun because “campers” will go to each sight and purchase goodies or play games.

Opening ceremonies will commence and then cancer survivors from our community will take the ceremonial first lap or parade march.  We will cheer them on for their courage they displayed during their battle.  At 10:00 p.m. a luminaria ceremony is held.  Candles will be placed in bags bearing the names of both survivors and those who lost their battle to cancer.

Throughout the evening and into the next day, everyone enjoys entertainment, fun, and camaraderie.  Long before the evening ends, new friends have been made, old friends have been hugged and all hearts have been touched by the magic created through the Stay-Awake-A-Thon.

What Do Your Dollars Support?

Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center
            Our new center will offer doctors’ offices, treatment areas for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Testing areas dedicated to early detection, screening and prevention. Pain and symptom clinics. A breast-cancer boutique.
            The center will include medical staff who are experts in their field as well as staff advocates who will walk patients and their families through each phase of treatment; experts on physical and psychological rehabilitation; and counselors in education, support and bereavement.
            Our staff in different areas work together as collaborative medical teams. The coordinated approach envisioned for The Center is aimed at conserving patients’ energy, and making their lives a little easier.
            The Center is powered by state-of-the-art technology. The technology offers new tools that will help integrate care and support a lifetime medical record. New software programs give medical staff “power charts” that move across both inpatient and outpatient treatment areas and manage chemotherapy treatment and protocols, clinical documentation and medication administration.

Happiness is Camping
            Happiness Is Camping is a very special family of children who share an illness. Because this serious bonds exists, there is a deep understanding among the campers. No child will be stared at here because of a missing limb or lack of hair. All the campers have survived similar experiences and are eager to assist one another, to ease any visible discomfort with ready friendship and supportive smiles.
            Our staff of counselors and doctors, nurses and volunteers are a part of this special family, and the health and welfare of each child is paramount to them. You can be sure, however, that your child won't be treated as a sick kid - he or she will be treated like a kid. And that's what makes this camp so wonderful; it's just that - a camp for kids.

  Maria Fareri Childrens Hospital: Maria Fareri Childrens Hospital The mission of Maria Fareri Children's Hospital is to set the standard for family-centered, compassionate care in a unique state-of-the-art environment that attracts outstanding physicians and staff, and which promotes healing, wellness and knowledge to all children and their families. We are advocates for children's health and wellness and actively promote health education and activities within both the hospital and the community at large. Our goal at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center is to make all children healthy and happy. Every day, our dedicated staff of physicians, nurses, allied health practitioners, technologists and others helps us to attain that goal by providing advanced life-saving care to more than one million children in the Hudson Valley region.  

The Kathleen F. Marks Memorial Foundation: The Kathleen F. Marks Memorial Foundation is a local charity whose mission is to fundraise for cancer research & hosting fundraiser’s for cancer patients in financial need, hosting fundraising events to benefit areas of cancer research that are in need of funding. Research is the key to unlocking a breakthrough and hopefully a cure! We HATE all cancer equally and will contribute our funding to research of ANY type without discrimination. Financial Hardships are common in most households in today’s society without adding the extra financial strain of the cost of treatment. We know all too well how hard Life can be for a family of a patient, and the patient as well! Stress simply adds more strain on your body and mind, and if you are a patient, added strain will not help you heal!
We want to help lessen the financial strain on patients!

So, What Do I Do Now

That I’m A Team Captain?


Fighting cancer and supporting our community is a team effort.  The strength of people coming together for a common cause is greater than the strength of one.  Here’s what you can do to build a successful team.

Form A Team                                                                                                     

It’s easier than you think to form a team.  Here are some suggestions:Learn about the Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center and Happiness is Camping.  People will be much more willing to listen if you believe in what you are asking them to help with.Make a presentation.  Invite at least 8 people. They can be family, friends, or co-workers.  Use flyers to help get the word out.Get your workplace involved.  Invite management to form or sponsor a team.Ask people you know and people you don’t know.  You’ll get more of a response by asking 20 people than by posting 100 flyers.Fill out and return your team registration or better yet, SIGN UP ON-LINE!Create a team theme.  It can be workplace related like “banking on a cure” or cancer related such as “Cancer Crusaders” or humorous likes “Superheroes”.Dedicate your team to someone who has been touched by cancer.


Coordinate Your Team                                                                                               

Attention to a few nitty-gritty details will get you through the event with ease:Set income goals for both individuals and your team.Encourage your team members to collect contributions for luminarias.  Include luminaria sponsor forms with each contribution so they can be properly dedicated.Schedule your team members to be up at different times during the event, so that a least one person is up during the entire night.Make sure each member has paid the $10 registration fee in advance.Try to collect all team member envelopes a few days before bank night so that contribution can be counted.  Each team member’s envelope should contain at least $100 in contributions and should include the members name, team name and signature.Print out your team’s roster and have it with you on bank night and at the event.Attend all team captain meetings and bank night, when pledges are turned in.Ask team members to volunteer for jobs during the relay:  campsite set up, decorations, picture taking, clean up, and sales.

Motivate Your Team!


Do you want to have fun while working to eliminate cancer? Well, so will your team, especially if they are kept informed and motivated. Some of the most successful teams have used one or more of the following ideas:

Ø  Hold regular team meetings to build spirit and keep everyone informed.

Ø  Dedicate your team to someone- a cancer survivor or someone who has passed away from cancer. Tell that person’s story and yours.

Ø  Share news and updates with every team member.

Ø  Encourage team fundraising events. (See a list of ideas on pages 6 & 7)

Have Fun, and Be Sure to Thank Your Team Members!


Thank your team members for their commitment to participate, and make sure everyone knows where to meet you at the event. Give each team member a warm welcome when he or she arrives.


It’s Easier Than You Think To
Raise Money to Fight Cancer!

Everyone knows someone who has heard the words, “you have cancer.”  That’s why so many people are willing to donate money to fight this disease.  Know your stuff!  Arm yourself with a few facts about some of our survivors, the Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center and Happiness is Camping.  Then, ask!  You’d be surprised how many people are just waiting for an opportunity to make a difference.

Fundraising Tips for Individuals                                                                      
You can ask in person or via a letter, emails, or voice mail.  But ask.

Make your own contribution and let others know that you are donating not only your money, but also your time.

Aim high.  Ask for $50 and settle for $10.  Gear the amount you’re requesting to your audience.

Send letters early and ask that they be returned by a due date.  It’s harder for people to ignore when there is a due date other than the event date!  A stamped return envelope also helps.   Ask at your regular meetings.  If you belong to a service club or religious group, request time to ask for support.

Ask everyone you meet.  Even if you have sent out letters, be sure to carry a collection envelope with you so that when you talk to people about the event, you can ask them to contribute right then.

Dedicate your personal effort to someone who has been touched by cancer.  Tell that person’s story and yours.

Who Can Sponsor Me?                                                                                               

Your best lunch date

Friends from your old job

Friends from your present job

Friends from school or college

Members of your sports team

Members of your hobby group

Members of your church or synagogue

Friends from your old neighborhood

Your car salesperson

Your car repair person

People you know through your spouse People you know through your children

People from your lodge or club

People who sell you groceries

People who sell you clothing

Your plumber

Your painter/decorator

Your travel agent

Your next-door neighbor

Your wedding attendants

Your veterinarian

Your children’s music teacher Your lawyer

Your child’s scout leader

Your dry clearer

Your florist

Your letter carrier

Your babysitter

Your children’s school principal

Fellow committee members

Your insurance agent

Your relatives

Your CPA


Fundraising Tips for Teams

Whatever your fundraising efforts, remember to promote them as a benefit for the Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center and Happiness is Camping.

AUCTION (silent or live):  Hold the event at your business, in your neighborhood, or at a church.  Ask for contributions of unique items such as homemade toys or art, a hand-knitted sweater, breakfast or dinner at someone’s home, or a ride on someone’s sailboat.  Display the items (or their descriptions) prior to the event.

BAKE SALE:  Hold a Friday bake sale at work so employees will have treats for the weekend.  Ask for baked goods to be wrapped attractively so they could be given as gifts.  Encourage breakfast items, such as rolls and breads, as well as sweets like bars and cookies.

BUSINESS CHALLENGES:  Co-workers can earn money by raising a minimum goal for fun prizes:A member of management mows your lawn, rakes your leaves, or shovels your snowFree lunch with the bossParking place(s)A day off

CAR WASH:  Get your team together for a local town car wash.  This works great for high school teams.

CASUAL FOR CANCER:  Ask your company CEO or president to let staff dress casual or wear denim for a contribution of $5 or more.

MATCHING GIFTS:  If your company has a matching gifts program, that’s an effective way to double your fundraising efforts.  Be sure to check with the human resources department to obtain matching gift forms.

QUILT MAKING:  Do you have a team that makes quilts?  Dedicate quilt squares in honor and in memory of people and ask for a donation.  Set donation levels for different sizes:  a four-inch square for $5, an eight-inch square for $15, and a twelve-inch square for $25.  Display the quilt at a public location, such as the chamber of commerce.

SPORTS TOURNAMENTS:  Set up challenge matches between individuals or departments for basketball, softball, football, or any sport.  Ask for a contribution as an admission fee.  Offer refreshments at the event for a donation.

POTLUCK PARTY:  Have each team member invite at least 10 couples, including family, friends, and neighbors, to a potluck dinner.  Have team members provide dishes for the event, and ask each couple for a donation of $20.

Voice Mail and Email Messages
Use voicemail and email to help form a team, keep your team informed, ask for donations, raise awareness companywide, and remind everyone about important deadlines!  These are only a few suggestions.  If your team or company is totally “wired” use your imagination to expand on them.

Prior to Forming a Team                                                                                   


Hi, this is (your name).  So many people in our community have been touched by cancer.  That’s why I’m so excited about getting together with our community to show our support and encouragement for them and their families.  I’ll be forming a team.  If you’d like to join, either by participating or by making a donation please contact me at (your number).  Together we can really make a difference in the fight against cancer.


Subject:  Would you like to make a difference?
I’d like to tell you about something really exciting coming to our community on May 5, 2012.  It’s a Stay-Awake-A-Thon…..because cancer never sleeps.  I’m forming a team, and I could sure use your help.  If you’d like to be a part of this opportunity to make a difference, either by joining me or making a donation, please let me know.  And, be sure to email this message to your friends.  The more people we can get involved, the sooner we can beat cancer.  More importantly, let’s show those in our community that we are here for them!  Thanks!

After Your Team Is Formed                                                                              


Hi, this is (your name) again, and I’m proud to say that I’m the Team Capitan for our Stay-Awake-A-Thon.  We’re moving full steam ahead to do our part in the fight against cancer, and we’re going to have fun too.  The Stay-Awake-A-Thon will be held May 5, 2012, so it’s not too late to join in.  Please call or email me (give phone number and email address) and I’ll give you all the details.


Subject:  There is still time to fight cancer and support our community
As Team Captain for the Stay-Awake-A-Thon (team name); I’m really pleased to be in the forefront of the fight against cancer.  Virtually everyone knows someone who will be touched in some way by this disease.  That’s why it’s so important that we raise the money necessary to make it only a memory.  The cause is important, and we’re going to have a great time too!  Out event will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2012, so there’s still time!  I hope you can join us in person, or send a contribution.  Contact me and I’ll give you all the details about our team or for more about the Stay-Awake-A-Thon go to www.henhudleos.org.

After the Stay-Awake-A-Thon                                                                          


Good morning, this is (your name).  I’m so pleased to be able to report that out (team name) team raised (list $ amount) to support the Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center and Happiness is Camping.  Today cancer survivorship is higher than ever.  With your help, even more people will survive.  Thank you one and all for the wonderful support you gave us.


Subject:  Thanks for supporting the fight against cancer and our community.
Thanks for supporting our recent Stay Awake a Thon. With your help, we raised (list $ amount) to support the Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center and Happiness is Camping.  Today, about 6 out of 10 people who are diagnosed with cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis.  Now even more people will have a chance at survival.  Thanks for your support.


Team Theme Ideas
·         Mardi Gras

·         Sports

·         Jetsons

·         Hawaiian

·         Western
(Cowboys & Indians)

·         Beach Party

·         Hollywood Movies

·         Gilligan’s Island

·         Carnival/Circus

·         Man/Woman

·         bowling

·         Cops

·         Firefighters

·         Punkers

·         PJ’s/Slumber Party

·         Hockey/Sports Teams

·         Patriotic (Uncle Sam - Statue of Lierty - President)

·         Sports Car Theme ·         Hippies

·         Biker Babes - Harley

·         Star Trek

·         Bistro

·         Beatles/Rock Groups

·         Haunted House

·         Jungle Theme

·         Favorite Movie Star

·         Game Tent - (Monopoly - Scrabble - Trivial Pursuit - Card Games, etc.)

·         Cancer Control Tent

·         Disney

·         Great Outdoors

·         Flintstones

·         Smokey the Bear

·         Margueritaville

·         50’s - Eras

·         Country Hicks (Hillbilies)

·         Casino Party ·         Winter Wonderland

·         Mimes

·         Jail - Ball & Chain

·         Spies - Sherlock

·         Hula - Luau

·         Star Wars

·         Looney Tune Characters

·         Halloween Costumes

·         M*A*S*H

·         Beach Theme/Nautical

·         Aliens/Space

·         Dog House

·         Teddy Bears

·         Mad hatters Tea Party

·         Magic

·         Dance Party/Dance Zone

·         Carnival Theme/Games

·         Car Wash/Garage Sale

You are a hero!!! Why?

You’re making a difference in the fight against cancer…

Team Captain ChecklistGet the word out.  Talk to everyone you know - in your company, congregation, neighborhood, clubs, school, and family.  This is how you’ll form a team.Hold a team meeting to establish a team name and theme.  Give purpose to your team.  Dedicate your efforts to someone who has been touched by cancer, for example.Sign up online or fill out your teams registration forms.  Make sure all team members sign up too!Have your team members set a goal for how much money they can raise.  Remember to get a t-shirt so each team member is encouraged to raise a minimum of $100.  Follow up to see how they are doing. Give them tips and encouragement.Hand out team member materials to each participant.  Be sure to get them started early!!Attend all captain meetings.Stay in touch with your team.  Let them know what to expect when they come to this event.  Encourage them to stay the entire evening.Collect all donations from your team members and turn in at designated times.Be a leader and help your team reach its fundraising goal.  Challenge other teams.Remind your team members that because of their efforts, they are not only bringing the community together, but they are raising money for the Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center and Happiness is Camping.

Youth Team Chaperone Requirements

We want this to be a safe and fun event for everyone.  It is required that youth teams be accompanied by adult chaperones.  Please make sure you receive and turn in the Chaperone Commitment Form.

Again, thank you for your dedication.  We value the energy, enthusiasm and involvement of our youth participants.