Duck-Dedicated Volunteers Working Hard At Duck Central

By: Rita DuChateau

The 2019 Quack Pack has mobilized and is ready for action in the Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival. This group of duck-dedicated volunteers gathered April 12 at Duck Central to guide Adoption Forms through the process and to prepare for the upcoming Duck Rush.

As the Saturday, May 4 Rotary Duck Race Festival approaches, representatives of the 67 Participating Organizations flock to Duck Central to restock their supplies of Duck Adoption Forms and turn in completed ones. Thanks to the yellow banner above the door at The Ridgeline Hotel on South St. Vrain, visitors and locals also stop by Duck Central to purchase Duck Adoptions. The all-volunteer crew enters adopters’ names, email addresses, phone numbers and selected Participating Organizations into the database, as well as monitoring sales and answering questions about the event.

Sandy and Lee Lasson have overseen Duck Central operations in several locations for 16 years. Judy Andersen has entered Duck Adoption data for 16 years, and Alice Schwartz, the “newbie,” of the data entry team, has been stationed at her computer for six years. The volunteer group continues to add new talent. Gordon Ulrickson, a new member of the Estes Park Rotary Club, joined the Quack Pack this year as a stalwart IT volunteer.

“I do look forward to this every year. It’s the people that make it fun: Sandy and Lee Lasson, Alice Schwartz, Pete Sumey, Don and Barb Widrig,” Andersen said.

During “down” time, these duck-dedicated members of the Quack Pack have been monitoring an osprey nest online, playing solitaire, sharing lunch and munching on jelly beans. It’s a great volunteer gig!

“What keeps us coming back to volunteer is that it’s such a good cause,” Sandy Lasson said. “Through the years, we’ve become more organized and efficient. What I love is that people have donated so many of the ‘duckerations’ to Duck Central,” she added as she pointed to the many items on display. “If it’s yellow and it quacks, we have it!”

Friday’s Quack Pack included Judy’s husband Wayne Andersen, who serves as an intake specialist, which is first point of contact. He processes batches of Duck Adoptions as they are turned in, ensuring the amount of cash and checks matches the number of forms. Batches of up to 50 forms are then given to the data entry team, comprised of Judy Andersen and Alice Schwartz last Friday. They will be joined in upcoming weeks by Barb Widrig and Sandy Lasson as the flow of Adoption Forms grows from a trickle to a torrent. Thanks to the donation of several computers, the Quack Pack will be ready for the torrent, said Lee Lasson.

“The donated computers will improve the Race Day crunch and eliminate a backlog during the week before the race, too,” he explained.

Behind the scenes, a sophisticated software program supports the race, covering critical functions, including intake of Adoption Forms, creation of bank deposit tickets, and the ever-important triple-blind random selection of winners on Race Day. Designed by Don Widrig, the software is constantly tweaked to streamline operations, Lee Lasson said. Currently traveling, Widrig stays in touch with the crew through Skype.

As the duck-dedicated Quack Pack volunteers await the arrival of Adoption Forms, they have the following suggestions:

• Please use your best printing so the intake specialists can read your writing. It takes Judy Andersen an average of 15 seconds to enter data from an Adoption Form, providing she can decipher it.

• Participating organization should turn in Adoption Forms in batches of no more than 50. To speed things up, double check your forms against the amount of money you are submitting. Make sure you’ve completed your Turn-in Worksheet.

On April 12, Ardean Johnson was one of the Duck Central visitors. Johnson is with the Pinewood Springs Fire Protection District, which raised $1,672 in the 2018 Duck Race through adoptions. The proceeds went toward installation of water rescue safety stations. Johnson was picking up more adoption forms in hopes of increased adoptions this year.

It may be too early to predict trends, but Lee Lasson has noticed one new aspect of this year’s online sales at epduckrace.org.

“It seems that people are consciously spreading the good to several Participating Organizations as they purchase multiple forms online, ” he said.

All thanked The Ridgeline Hotel staff for providing The Lake Estes Room for six weeks and for the loan of tables and chairs to augment a meager collection maintained by the Duck Race Committee. Comfortable volunteers are efficient workers.

Duck Central upcoming hours:

Before Race Week:

• Friday, April 19, noon to 5 p. m.

• Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26- noon to 5 p.m.

During Race Week:

• Monday, April 29, Tuesday, April 30, and Wednesday, May 1 - noon to 5 p.m.

• Thursday, May 2 and Friday, May 3 - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Saturday, May 4 (Race Day) - 10 a.m. to noon. Please note that all sales will end at noon.

The Estes Park Rotary Duck Race team asks the 2019 Participating Organizations to turn in all Adoption Forms and payment to Duck Central before 5 p.m. Friday, May 3, for processing. Duck Central will close after May 4 until the 2020 season.

Race sales questions should be directed to: duckrace@rotaryclubofestespark.org

Messages may also be left on the Duck Central Hotline: (970) 480-5002. Additionally, the Duck Race maintains a mailing address: Rotary Duck Race, P.O. Box 1226, Estes Park, CO 80517.

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