TOUCHED BY LYME: The nuts and bolts of Lyme awareness outreach
Anne Mears, a Lyme activist from southern California, shares practical advice about setting up a Lyme display at a public event.
I go to community events, such as Market Night, held weekly. There is a theme for each week. This week it was Health. All health-related booths were given free space rent, so there was no charge for me. If I go again before 3 months, there will be a charge, I think $10 for non-profits.
I get brochures by contacting CALDA, LDA, CDPH, and ILADS and asking for
them. Sometimes payment of shipping fees is requested but no charge for the brochures. I don’t put out the ILADS brochures for the general public, but
when a health professional visits, I will pull one out of the box. Those are
designed primarily for health care providers. I was told that it is best to
keep the choice limited to just a few brochures or it may discourage
I also have a large (4′ by 8′) vinyl banner that has my Master’s Thesis
condensed and illustrated that I display in the booth. I had one young man
(3rd grader) take an interest in my booth last night and he asked many good
questions. He studied my banner carefully. I think he now knows more about
and how to remove ticks than most of the doctors in the area.
My booth is an EasyUp style canopy that is 10′ by 10′. I have the banner
hanging on the back side so it can be seen by people walking by. I have one
table with an acrylic brochure holder, which keeps the brochures from
blowing around if the wind comes up. The table is covered with a lime-green
plastic table covering, with I thumb-tack to the table so it will not blow
away. My booth is fairly wind-resistant, the exception being the banner,
which likes to act as a sail if the wind is coming from the right direction.
I use bungee cords to hang the banner. And I have something to sit on, usually a chair. Last night, I forgot to bring a chair and had to use my walker.
If I have access to electricity, I bring my laptop. I downloaded the PowerPoint slide show for children from the California Department of Public Health website and changed the settings to automatic transitions in the Kiosk mode, so the program transitions and repeats without me having to attend to it. There is no audio with the program. This attracted some attention last night, including the young man that asked all the questions. Some adults preferred to watch the program before they would accept any brochures, so I plan to include this as much as possible in future events.
My day goes like this. I get the car loaded and arrive at the event site
during the set-up time. It takes me less than 15 minutes to set up with the
help of one other person. The table is set up along one side of the booth,
to allow people to enter the booth to examine the banner more closely.
Some things I need to do or include for future events are: get an extension
cord for outdoors and a power strip, so I can plug into available
electricity. My neighbor last night very graciously let me plug into his
power strip. I also need to get some clip-on lamps to illuminate the banner
at night. My neighbor let me borrow some of his that he did not need.
I also have a sewing manikin that I plan to dress up in a Lyme Sucks tee-shirt and place at the entrance of the booth. I could also add a second table to sell t-shirts and other Lyme-related items for fund-raising, but have not had the capital to make the initial investment. I think if I did that, I would need a second person there to help manage the money, as I spend a lot of time talking with people and answering questions.
I look for events that I can enter without having to pay a space rent, which
reduces my cost to gas and what I have already invested in booth equipment. I need to replenish my brochure supply now, as I just have a few left of some brochures and am completely out of others.
I plan to use 2 computers next time I put my booth up. One to play the powerpoint presentation described in the post, the other to play 30 sec information spots that I down-loaded from Lymenaide. The rotation of spots lasts about 8.5 min, and I can set it to repeat automatically.This has audio, which I think will also attract attention to my booth.
Anne Mears, BSN, MSN/IH, RN, is a Lyme activist and support group leader in San Berndardino, CA. Contact her at email@example.com.