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On Parade

Vol. 6 •Issue 21 • Page 25
On Parade

Campaign aims to put nurses center stage for Tournament of Roses Parade

In 2012, history will be made. That's the year that only the second woman will be appointed the new president of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. It also marks the first time ever that the president will be a nurse.

The woman making history is Pasadena native Sally Bixby, RN, director of surgical services at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte.

A year when the parade president is a nurse has provided the perfect opportunity to put nurses center stage before a worldwide audience to receive the respect they deserve and to educate others about the power of the profession.

An Idea Sprouts

"It was after a meeting of the Operating Room Nursing Council of California when the idea came up," remembered Judith Dahle, MS, MSG, RN, owner of Elder Support Services in Costa Mesa. "We started talking about Sally and her newly appointed position. Someone mentioned that we needed to take this opportunity to include a float created by and for nurses. Since all of us at that table were creative, entrepreneurial nurses, this was something we knew we could do."

What grew from that idea was a nonprofit organization called Bare Root Inc., taking its name from the root of the rose bush. The goal for its five founders was to raise money through a 5-year campaign to build the first float honoring nurses for the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Possibility Budding

The first funding venture to come from the organization has been The site includes every possible piece of information on the campaign and how anyone, especially nurses, can participate. Visitors can make donations directly through the site, by postal mail, become a sponsor or patron.

One of the unique features of the site is the opportunity for visitors to send an e-bouquet for $25 to a nurse they respect or who has made a difference in their lives. Also available are e-cards with a variety of greetings and personalization options. As the site continues to expand, Dahle is hoping to find a sponsor to cover the maintenance and updates.

"Ideally, we'd like to find one sponsor as soon as possible who is willing to cover the cost of the Web site for the entire 5-year campaign," Dahle said. "We estimate that cost to be around $75,000."

As the time draws closer, commemorative products will be available through an online store. Visitors will even be able to view designs for the float and its progress.

Partnership Blooms

While all the nurses on the Bare Root board of directors are entrepreneurs themselves, building a float was a business venture none of them had undertaken before. That's when Dahle, who also serves as chief operating officer of Bare Root Inc., knew partnerships would be essential to reach their goal.

"This idea came to us quickly, but we have learned a lot in 1 year," Dahle laughed. "Because our minimum goal is $500,000, we used our individual business connections and went straight to the source for this kind of venture. In this case, the Rotary Club was very helpful. They gave us a wonderful plan of action as to how to operate this kind of venture."

Many Hands, Light Work

It will take many hands to bring Bare Root's dream to full flower. It's a level of commitment Dahle is confident nurses and those who want to honor them can rise to meet.

Between late November and Dec. 31, 2012, Dahle anticipates the campaign will need nearly 1,500 volunteers. Most of them will be needed on New Year's Eve to dress the float in thousands of roses and live flowers. It's a rewarding experience and tradition she remembers with fondness, having been born and raised in the area.

"It's such a joyful moment to be a part of. My children and I have all been a part of the decorating process and it's definitely something you never forget," Dahle recalled. "We've already got people from all over the country and even Canada committing to help decorate."

The World's a Stage

With years of work going into one historical moment, Dahle wants to make the message clear as nurses stand before a worldwide audience. It's a message that's part recognition and part outreach.

"A large part of this effort is to recognize the respected roles nurses play in our lives and bring awareness to the work they do," Dahle admitted. "It's also an opportunity to reach out and educate potential nurses and welcome them into the profession."

Luke Cowles is senior regional editor at ADVANCE.


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