Sunday, November 1, 2009

Message from the Captain (#1)

Note - this is my first Mentor Captain message to my spring team mentors.

Ahoy Mateys! This is your Captain speaking, Captain Art of the LLS Mentorship, that is! It’s time to weigh anchor, hoist the sails, and set the compass for more TNT adventures! Ports of call will include New Orleans, Virginia Beach, Tampa Bay, Nashville (hey, we’ll have to navigate up the Cumberland River, so look sharp), and Lake Tahoe (we’ll need to keep a keen eye out from the tops on that voyage to not run aground).

Yes, that’s right, I will be your mentor captain this season, and I promise to be no Captain Bligh. There will be no need of mutiny as we work hard to extend our bounty of good health to others. I am looking forward to interacting with each of you as we work with our new recruits to turn them from landlubbers into seasoned Team in Training seadogs, helping them to have an amazing TNT experience while raising money for a great cause.

By way of background, I have done four events with Team in Training, all on foot, starting in 2005. I mentored in two of those years, and I also mentored an additional season when I was not racing or fundraising. I know first hand that it is a lot of work, but very fulfilling. And, being a 7.5 year Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, I also know first hand how important the mission is. I am not yet signed up on a 2010 team, but plan on it. Maybe even the spring team – I am looking at options and vacation plans, and will go from there. My easiest option will be another foot race, but I am trying to think outside the running shoes.

If each of you can email me back that you got this message so I know that I got your email address entered correctly in the ship’s log, I’d appreciate it. Also, please let me know your preferred phone contact, and maybe an alternate number as well.

Right now, thinking back to our own TNT experiences, you should be welcoming your participants to the Team, and encouraging them (and helping them if necessary) to get their on-line fundraising pages set up, initial notes sent out, and to work on their letters. This continues to be a tough fundraising environment, although we know it is very possible to meet and exceed the minimum fundraising requirements. The earlier people get started the better. LLS has done a great job in recent years allowing people to start with fundraising before the team even kicks off, and if people take advantage of that, it really works in their favor. If people hit their minimum early, it is so much less stressful on them when it comes to recommitment time. It gives them a chance either to relax and focus on training, or to keep pushing ahead with fundraising and exceed the minimum amount.

Some of you have mentored before, others not. I would really like to hear from each of you about how I can be helpful to you. This is a new role for me, so I want to be helpful, and not create unnecessary work for you. I am depending on each of you to let me know. I would love to meet with each of you in small groups or individually – or all at once for that matter, in the unlikely event that everyone schedule agrees – to discuss the season ahead, any concerns you have, and so forth. So one thing that would be helpful is when you reply to this note, give me some dates we could potentially meet.

Coaches, I am copying you on this first email. Please let me know if you want to be copied on future ones. Or maybe Cate will say – “copy the coaches!” I am not sure.

As far as contacting me, email works well. This address is fine, as is Both get forwarded to my work email. My home phone number is (804) 555-5555. And just a few days ago, I got a newfangled piece of technology called a “mobile phone!” My mobile number is 804-555-5555. So, there is no need to use Morse code or climb high in the yardarms with a semaphore flag to communicate with me. I’ll be sending out an email to you every week, unless I am away. And I will also post those emails (excluding any personal information) on my blog:

So if you are ever awake at 2AM, desperately searching for a note from me, thinking “Where, oh where is that incredible gem of wisdom and wit from Cap’n Art?” – fret not! Just go to my blog, and about halfway down on the right rail, you will see the labels that I have used to organize my posts. Click on the “Mentor Captain” label, and all of my posts on that topic will display. (Questionable) Wisdom found, problem solved, sleep coming.

I’ll be at the November 4 information meeting, and also at Kick-Off. I hope you will be there as well – come up and introduce yourself if we have not met yet. Thank you for mentoring, thanks for making a difference, and thanks for racing for a cure! I’m looking forward to the voyage ahead, and hoping for fair winds and following seas! Anchor’s aweigh!


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