It’s National Volunteer Week, and anyone who has spent any time around the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® knows that the all-volunteer crew—the group of people who come out and work in various roles on the route and in camp—bust their tails for three long days (four, actually, counting their kick-off meeting the Thursday before the event starts), supporting the event with smiles on their faces. But did you know that the Komen 3-Day crew members and volunteers are working literally at all hours of the day and night? Let’s take a little peek into 24 hours with the 3-Day® crew and volunteers.
4:00 a.m. – On Day 1, hours before the sun comes up, the Gear & Tent, Route Safety and Traffic crew members show up at the Opening Ceremony location, ready to greet and guide the walkers who will arrive within the next hour or two. They will direct the cars dropping walkers off, collect and load everyone’s luggage onto the gear trucks, and do it all with cheers and smiles.
4:30 a.m. – Believe it or not, most crew teams are up and moving by this time, and on Day 2 and 3, breakfast is hot and ready to be served to crew by 4:30 a.m. (which, of course, means that the friendly Food Service crew members have already been up for a while, getting ready to pleasantly serve those yummy eggs and bacon to their fellow early-rising crew members at 4:30 a.m., and the walkers at 5:00 a.m.).
5:00 a.m.-6:00 a.m. – The morning birds have just started chirping around this time of day, but most of the 3-Day route teams have already gotten moving, heading out to set up the early pit stops and lunch stop. Setting up and decorating a pit stop, Grab & Go, or lunch takes 2-3 hours, so the early start ensures that everything will be perfect and ready for the walkers when they start arriving later in the morning.
6:00 a.m. – Remember that nasty blister you endured on Day 1, and need to have treated before starting out on Day 2? Well never fear, because the camp Medical crew is open for business and ready to treat you!
7:00 a.m. -8:00 a.m. – After a hearty breakfast, the Route Marking crew team—which already started with a full day of arrow-hanging on Thursday—will hit the road to start marking the next day’s twists and turns so no one gets lost while walking. After they’ve hung hundreds of arrows and signs to mark tomorrow’s route, they’ll trail behind the walkers taking down the arrows from today.
9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. – With the route now open and walkers on the move, it’s action time for our route teams. Each route stop has a different opening and closing time, and the Pit Stop, Grab & Go, and Lunch teams stay there to cheer and help everyone, right down to the last walker who comes through. The Route Safety, Bus and Sweep, Event Support, Route Clean-up and Route Hydration teams are also out on the road until after the last walkers are safely back at camp, making sure everyone is well taken care of and supported, and leaving the sites and neighborhoods we move through exactly as we found them.
10:00 a.m. – Hey, remember back on Thursday, when most walkers (and many other crew members) were still at home, finishing up their packing for the weekend ahead? While that was happening, the Camp Logistics crew team was already on the ground at the camp location, getting the whole incredible scene set up. This heavy-lifting team works a full 4 days to completely put up and take down the 3-Day camp.
12:00 p.m. – Back on Day 1 and 2, the Camp Services crew members are getting things all set back at camp early in the afternoon, making it into that comforting home-away-from home for the walkers and their fellow crew members. They are the first ones there to hoot and holler and welcome walkers as they arrive back, and are also in place to assist with the 3-Day Lounge, Legacy Pin distribution, camp mail, towel service and more. The Camp Hydration and Camp Signage teams are also getting everything in place so that the walkers are well hydrated and well directed when they get in.
12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – This is the busiest chunk of work hours for the majority of crew members, as both the route and camp are bustling for portions of this time. Route teams (Pit Stops, Route Safety, Sweeps, etc.) are moving and shaking until the last walker arrives to camp, usually around 6 or 6:30, and meanwhile, camp crew teams (Gear & Tent, Camp Services, Support Services, Food Service, Medical) are occupied with keeping everyone cared for and comfortable back “home”.
9:00 p.m. – Camp closes for the night at 9:00 p.m., but many crew teams will still be up for a while, cleaning up and getting things ready for tomorrow. One of the very last teams you’re likely to see heading to bed, especially after the Saturday night dance party, is the Youth Corps, who, after hours spent cheering for walkers and helping out along the route and in camp, still manage to have energy left over at bedtime.
9:00 p.m.-4:00 a.m. – While the 3-Day world sleeps, with dreams of grahamwiches and flat walking paths floating up from hundreds of pink tents, there are still a few dedicated souls up and awake, keeping an eye on camp. These overnight sentinels are actually day volunteers who selflessly give up their own sleeping hours to make sure everyone else can snooze soundly. (Day volunteers also lend a hand in dozens of other capacities throughout the weekend, from help around camp, to tent set-up, to Victory Shirt distribution at Closing.)
This timeline only scratches the surface of the work that the extraordinary 3-Day crew puts in every day of the event. If you want more information about the ins and outs of each crew team, click here to see full descriptions of each role. And in the meantime, thank a crew member, early and often.
Do you know someone who wants to join the hardworking 3-Day Crew? We still have openings for general crew members for the Atlanta, Seattle and Twin Cities 3-Day events. Interested volunteers should call the coaches at 800-996-3DAY for more information.