Lime green, orange, and purple are more than just colors to me.
By Jenny Earl
Entering the ballroom as a first year dancer was one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments of my life.
Every corner of the room was filled with lime green, splashed with a variety of other colors intertwined with the crowd.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As I sat down on the ground to listen to the executive director introduce the event, I looked around in awe. My gaze was quickly broken with a countdown …3…2…1… “Dancers, on your feet!”
The phrase echoed throughout the room. I stood up and I didn’t sit down until the next night, 24-hours later.
Listening to dozens of families speak about their experiences with cancer — the ups, the downs — dancing on stage along with the DJs, and going from room to room playing games, I was sold.
Then around the 5 a.m. mark, I hit my wall. I was tired. I was sore. I wanted to give up. I’ll admit that I complained — everyone does at some point.
Although I was told that almost every dancer experiences this moment, I never thought that I would one of them. But with a little encouragement from my morale captain, looking up at the technicolor stage and seeing a wave of green jumping up and down in unison, I joined in. Within a few minutes, I was back.
From that point on, whenever I saw anyone look tired or discouraged, I picked up the pace and encouraged them to dance. I didn’t want anyone else to hit a wall like I did.
Finally, the end approached. The room glowed and the last family walked on stage.
Listening to the last family speak, with tears rolling down my face, my decision was made — I would be more than a dancer next year. I knew that Dance Marathon would always be a part of my life.
Nudged by my morale captain to join the leadership team, I turned in an application to become a committee member. I answered the questions on the application honestly, looked for the position I could contribute the most to, and crossed my fingers.
Luckily, I was offered an interview.
In 2011-2012, I was an event committee cabinet member.
Under the leadership of Event Director Lura Carstensen, I began my leadership journey. I helped plan recruitment efforts and entertainment events on campus, attended weekly committee meetings, and helped prepare for and set up the Big Event.
Every weekly meeting I attended strengthened my bond to the organization and increased my admiration for all of those involved.
As a committee member, I wasn’t nearly as busy as chairs or the director. I was simply able to get a taste of leadership, which was exactly what I wanted.
I attended family events, had opportunities to visit kids in the hospital, and interacted with Dance Marathon families. Bonding with my committee, I formed friendships I will never forget. I also learned about the other committees and helped a majority of them during the Big Event.
These are the memories in college that will stick with you forever.
After nearly a year of hard work, I was handed an orange Dance Marathon shirt.
Orange was the color the event committee wore that year.
That colored shirt showed all of the hard work that I put in throughout the year. I hoped that first-year dancers, like I once was, would look to me for support. I loved running around the ballroom fulfilling various tasks and watching the Big Event that we prepared for all year come to life.
That amazing experience made me consider being on leadership again.
A few days after my finishing my first Big Event on leadership as an event committee cabinet member, I turned in an application for a chair position.
Trading in my orange event committee shirt for a purple PR/Marketing committee shirt, I was ready to start the process all over again as the 2012-2013 media relations chair.
Overall, raising money for pediatric oncology, helping families get through difficult times, and making a difference in hundreds of childrens’ lives is the most important job of Dance Marathon.
This isn’t possible without the hard work of thousands of dedicated dancers.
However, if you’re a dancer who wants to be even more involved in the organization like I did, consider joining the 2013-2014 leadership team.
Applications are due on Tuesday, March 12, at 4:30 p.m. in the Center of Student Involvement and LEadership (145 IMU).
Remember, everyone takes their own Dance Marathon path, whether or not your path involves being on leadership is entirely up to you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing red, orange, purple, tie dye, yellow, blue, black, grey, or lime, at the end of the day we’re all “dancers,” sporting lime green together, hoping to make a difference in somebody’s life.