Dino Ingram is a Red Cross Volunteer and contributing writer.
Ok, I’m a skeptic. I thought it was all legends and folk tales. I’d seen the grainy photographs and low quality videos, and heard the claims from people who’d actually ‘seen’ them in the wild, but I never really believed it. It’s been reported that they have been identified in tree-lined and heavily wooded areas, blending it with their surroundings. From what I’d been told, some had even been spotted on college campuses. Other reports have come in about their presence around elementary, middle and high school campuses. It wasn’t until I actually interacted with a REAL one that I actually became a believer. I’ve got the photo to prove it. THEY’RE REAL!!!!!
I ask you, my fellow skeptics, to read further as I lay out the indisputable, empirical evidence confirming the existence of 589 Red Cross Clubs, comprised of over 15,000 members.
My adventure started with my contact at the Topeka Red Cross Office. I was told of the possible existence of a club at Kansas State University (KSU). Using the information at hand, I located two club members, Justin Theleman and Melissa Rousseau. I slowly approached, and managed to get an interview. There were lots of unanswered questions regarding this club. Things I needed to know, but could not yet confirm. What were their origins? How often did they gather? How many members in their clans? Why do they exist? What did they do? How far did they range in their travels? Where's Waldo? My observations revealed more information than I could have hoped for. I now understood the club’s structure, habits and purpose.
It appears there is a definite hierarchy in the club, comprised of an elected board. They’re charged with the responsibility of creating, organizing and properly executing club programs and keeping in contact with regional leadership.
The club is fairly new, having been around for less than two years. Their numbers are steadily growing and they are developing an ecosystem allowing them to thrive. They’re now at about fifteen active members. They have a bi-weekly migration pattern, causing them to meet at the Red Cross Office in Manhattan. I further discovered that this clan is active at all hours. They promote Red Cross events, volunteer at blood drives, hold disaster preparedness events, provide veteran outreach and raise awareness of fire prevention and worldwide disasters. They also offer certification classes in CPR/First Aid and Disaster Relief. This group definitely functions as one unit. Melissa shared the following observations about their club:
“As a club we volunteer our time, help organize events, and raise awareness for any and all programs in which the American Red Cross participates. We try and extend any intended outreach programs conducted by the American Red Cross to our community.”
She also had this to say about her club and the benefits they provide.
“We take pride in knowing that our club is an extension of all the good works that the American Red Cross does, and that we can share this in our own community. Our club provides a place for students to form long lasting relationships while acquiring certifications and connecting with their local Red Cross chapters.”
Justin had more to add. “A lot of students want to volunteer to help the Red Cross but do not know where to get plugged in. We help guide and inform them on ways they can get involved.”
Melissa and Justin can be credited with bringing the Red Cross Club to the K-State campus. When they were in high school, they were both actively involved with the Red Cross. They carried that involvement forward to their college years, making it their mission to bring the club to fruition.
A Red Cross Club is founded by more than just desire. The clan also needs an elder in the form of a sponsor. Dr. Christopher Culbertson is that person. He is a highly regarded PhD. and a very busy man. However, when asked, he didn’t hesitate to take on the mantle of sponsor and advisor for the Kansas State Red Cross Club. While the sponsor acts as the go-between for the club and its sponsoring organization, there also needs to be a patriarch or matriarch available through the Red Cross to help guide these clubs so they can take root and grow. In this case we’ve indentified that person as Debra Tucker. She proved to be a huge help, being available to answer lots of questions and providing guidance and information to the fledglings who were interested in starting this club.
There you have it, my esteemed peers, proof positive that Red Cross Clubs are real and efficacious in their outreach and mission. For access to research papers and other corroborating evidence of Red Cross club existence, click on the links below. They’ll give you information on how to get started and locate a club in your environment.