“Here’s the mail, it never fails. It makes me wanna wag my tail. When it comes I want to wail—MAIL!”
Yes, we did just quote “Blue’s Clues”. It may be a silly song from the past, but it’s exactly how most of the dancers feel when Mail Call comes around THON weekend.
Approximately 708 Penn State students and alumni will stand for 46 hours straight on February 15th at 6 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center to fight pediatric cancer. Mail Call is the time during those 46 hours when the dancers will receive letters and packages from friends, family and supporters to inspire and motivate them to continue fighting for the kids.
Mail Call is an especially important event as it’s held at a time when many dancers are looking for extra love and support to help them make it through to the end. One of this year’s Morale Mail Call Captains, Kevin Hulbert said, “The gifts and letters dancers receive during Mail Call remind them why they decided to dance for the kids. Where physical strength lacks in helping dancers stand for 46 hours, Mail Call is there to help provide the emotional support that helps dancers finish strong.” Everyone needs a little pick me up sometimes, especially after being on your feet for 46 hours!
So what exactly do dancers want during Mail Call?
Anything from an inspirational letter to a sparkly scrapbook of your friend’s face glued onto her favorite celeb’s bodies is appropriate for dancer mail. You can either channel your inner Martha Stewart or keep it nice and simple. Mail can include quotes, pictures, motivational sayings, your friends’ interests, inside jokes or heart-felt words. For example, Hulbert said, “When I danced in 2011, the most creative piece of mail that I received was something that a friend created for me called ‘Kevin’s Life is Bro.’ She created a booklet filled with things about me and why they were considered ‘bro.’ Other than that, the best mail that I received were letters that had inside jokes that made me laugh.” So you see, basically anything that will make a dancer laugh, cry, feel happy and most importantly keep them fighting For The Kids is perfect to send as mail!
Whether you’re a moraler, family member or friend of a dancer here are some key items to send THON weekend:
Extremely oversized pieces of mail― Who wouldn’t want to get a ridiculously large letter while in a state of delirium?
Scavenger hunts― Former Penn State student and EMS THON 2012 Dancer Greg Smith said, “I spent 60% of THON working one of these and I ended up with a lot of great pictures and memories from the weekend! Plus it kept my mind on track and I got to meet a lot of people.”
Water guns, bubbles, toy balls― These toys are fun to have around while playing with the kids, but also will help keep dancers entertained for hours when their brains can’t focus on puzzles anymore.
Capes, tutus, crowns― Everyone wants to feel like a super hero or princess!
Baby powder and mouthwash― Sore, stinky feet will want a refresher every so often and mouthwash is handy to fight off bad breath or use if the bathroom line is too long.
Moisturizer, Chapstick and baby wipes― Since dancers can’t shower and BJC air can be very dry, these items are the next best option to keep fresh and clean.
Coloring books― Coloring becomes very therapeutic during THON weekend for some dancers and is a great distraction for any pain they might be going through.
Puzzle books and games― A lot of dancers really enjoy doing crosswords, Sudoku, word searches or playing board games. Ask your friends for their preference and make sure they get them earlier in the weekend to avoid frustration and confusion.
Arts and crafts― There’s nothing like making hot loop headbands or bedazzling a crown or fanny pack to make the time fly by!
Russian nesting doll concept― Make your dancer mail into a box with lots of smaller boxes inside of it. Keep each box colorful and different from the rest and include one surprise in the last box!
No matter what type of mail you decide to create for the dancers, just know that each piece is helping to Inspire Tomorrow’s Miracles! Senior, elementary education major, Caitlin Nelson reflects back on when she danced in THON 2011. “My favorite thing about THON dancer mail was just getting all of the cards in general because it made me realize how much people cared about me, but also THON as a whole! The best part about reading the notes were all the inspirational quotes and especially the fun filled memories that my friends and family wrote in the letters in order to make me smile. Of course the crazy gifts like sparkly star sunglasses, bubbles and play-doh were the best because I knew that it would make a THON child very happy,” said Caitlin.
Where do I take my mail?
If you are not in State College, all letters and packages must be postmarked by February 5th and addressed like this:
Attn: Mail Call
Dancer Number, Dancer Name
210 Hetzel Union Building (HUB)
University Park, PA 16802
If you are in State College, all letters can be dropped off to 324 HUB and all packages to 327 HUB by February 7th at 7pm! Morale Mail Call Captains, Kevin Hulbert and Dredeir Roberts, and their committee members will be glad to sort it for you. Now quit wasting time on social media and get your craft on!
THON 2013 is only 25 days away!
Photos by Ashley Milillo