by Sondra N. Arkin . . . and the team: Murray Archibald, Natalie Moss, Chris Beagle, Cathin Bishop, Pat Catanzariti, Rob Dick, Bob Dobbs, Ward Ellinger, Michael Fetchko, Allen Jarmon, Adam Linder, Mickie McManamon, Jim Mease, Joe Mirabella, Jack Morrison, Monica Parr, Keith Petrack, Mark Pipkin, Glen Pruitt, Mark Purpura, Mary Beth Ramsey, Sal Seeley, Laura Simon, Sandra Skidmore, and Karl Zoric
Although it isn’t apparent to everyone, we start planning for the Labor Day Sundance weekend in January. We take the first two months of the year to set schedules, review plans, dream up the theme, and gather the troops. A lot of what we do is the same each year. Although we try to shift and reinvent some parts each year, it is easy to coast on autopilot.
Personally, I was pretty comfortable on autopilot. We’ve had a lot of change in the past two years, setting CAMP Rehoboth on a new course and a turbulent, fraught political climate, and all I wanted was for one thing that brings great joy to stay the same. Murray was leading the charge and our volunteer production crew all stood at the ready to make this 2020 celebration happen. Unfortunately, we were stopped in our tracks in March to assess what the coronavirus meant for an event that brings so many people together in one space.
While it is possible that by end of summer we could proceed with a crowded auction and packed dance, we made the difficult decision to embrace the virtual with an eye toward greater overall health next year. It is one more change in the journey of CAMP Rehoboth, in a time of change, and we hope that everyone who supports the mission—the outreach, advocacy, and programs—will travel this new road with us. We are plotting a new course.
So, while the format will change, the outcome remains the same. More than a fundraiser, Sundance has always been a time to come together, to work together, and to play together. It is a time to celebrate our chosen families, our actual families, our friends, our alliances, and the progress we have made since starting this journey so many years ago. What started as a call to action from a place of love remains essentially the same: come together to make an impact.
It is hard to set words down when it seems that every day brings new concern, new outrage, new grief. How do you plan for a situation you couldn’t imagine? How do you examine how your every action affects your community?
Personally, I just figured out how to grocery shop for two weeks at one time when we started looking ahead to how we wanted to re-craft this Experience. I was just figuring out how I’d slip slowly out of quarantine. I was just out the door for a vigil when curfew was set. I’m tired of the virtual world already, but here I sit planning a virtual Experience still months away when we all might be fatigued of online whathaveyous.
I’m capitalizing Experience because we can’t say auction and dance, although there will be a different kind of auction and we hope to dance. We are putting all of our own biases against the virtual to the test to create something we’d want to attend. In creating this Experience, we pledge to support individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses with activities that can be enjoyed whether self-isolating, with a small group, or a larger group—depending on your comfort and the situation that we will find at the end of summer.
We know that we will present TheSundance Experience to speak to theheart of our community.We know that we will be adding a lotmore engagement with the business andnonprofit community that has supportedCAMP Rehoboth so strongly over theyears with ways for you to support thosebusinesses through The SundanceExperience.We know that there will be joy andlove and celebration.So, consider this is the world’slongest Save the Date invitation: TheSundance Experience will culminateSaturday, September 5 at 6 p.m.The How, What, Where are still to berevealed, but the Why remains thesame:United in Love, we are comingtogether to make change.