Article Contributor: Freshman Parent - Dinah Palaima
As a freshman parent and new to the REU, I am sharing first-hand experience as a volunteer during this past Saturday’s Parade and Field Show at Del Oro High School in Loomis, CA in hopes that I can be a resource to other parents who would like to volunteer but are unsure of the unexpected. I had an awesome experience as a volunteer! This blog will take you through the first half of the day from arrival at the host school to the parade/street award ceremony.
DEDICATED, SPIRITED, RESPECTFUL, SPORTSMANSHIP, FUN!
These are five words to describe your student as I spent almost all day with the marching band. While there, I can bet that I most likely hydrated your son or daughter, helped them with their uniform, put a plume on his/her shako, dusted shoes, helped Pit move instruments, laughed with them, even just had small talk with your child. VERY REWARDING!
My day began leaving my warm house, two sleepy furry beagles, my snoring husband and sound sleeping older son at 5:15 AM. “Are you crazy?”, you ask. Nope, I wanted to understand what my child does at Band Review & Field Shows. I mean, geezers, my child is gone all day so why not volunteer and find out. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I DID.
I dropped off my son at Rodriguez HS and made my journey to Del Oro as the sun was rising. (Disclosure: I didn’t volunteer to chaperone on the bus because I get “bus-sick” so I opted to drive on my own). I found a decent parking spot near the Del Oro HS stadium and went on the hunt for the REU. Found them!! Three school buses, two trailers, a golf cart, and a few pickup trucks pull up – I’m on time. If you see someone with REU Spirit Wear, you’ve found Camp for the day!
DEDICATION: The marching band exits the buses and straight in to getting dressed. They will warm up their instruments and then get into formation when ready. I see some with tired eyes, stretching as they took the last step off the bus, but they are all aligned on what to do. There is much to be said about this determined crew who I did not hear complain at all about being tired. I’m impressed.
It was a bit awkward it being my first-time volunteering because I didn’t know anyone other than my son and a few of his friends. I sort of just stood around and finally asked, “how can I help?” Soon enough, I was helping with whatever was needed. I didn’t exactly know my place, but I was welcomed and felt so needed. When I say needed, this is not just feeling needed by the Boosters but especially needed by your child. Help was needed to pass out plumes, dust off shoes, snap uniform jackets, cuff pants/sleeves, fix flyways, setting make up. Every student I helped said “thank you” for my support. But sadly, there are truly not enough volunteers, yet we get through the parade sounding and looking our best!
I initially volunteered only for hydration but felt the need to truly help wherever and whenever I could. What is HYDRATION? Hydration is where you volunteer to ensure the band has plenty of water and is comfortable before and after the Street/Parade competition. You will have an opportunity to walk with the parade up until the competition starting line. Several squirt bottles are filled with water and as the band is waiting to march, water is offered ensuring water doesn’t spill on uniforms. Uniforms have some weight to them which makes as an added heat source, so imagine it being 80 degrees outside and having to wear a bibber and uniform jacket….really, I put on my sons uniform and it was hot even at 68 degrees in the house. YES, I TRIED ON THE BAND UNIFORM! Heavy and hot, yet very classy!
SPIRITED: After the band marches pass the judges and awaits other bands to march (about ¼ mile march or three blocks at most), the REU salutes the other high schools. I learned it’s a sign of RESPECT and SPORTSMANSHIP, and perhaps extra points from the judges by showing camaraderie too. There is no stink-eye or eyes rolling. Competition is all in good spirit even during the award ceremony to recognize the winners of the parade.
The award ceremony takes place at the football stadium where all the marching bands sit in the bleachers by their high schools. “We got spirit yes we do, we got spirit, how about you?” It’s loud, it’s cheerful, there are chants forever, all bringing school spirit to life! The REU won 3rd Place Division 5A, 4th Place Color Guard Overall, and 1st Place Street Percussion Overall. Woot-woot! Go REU!
Following the awards ceremony, the band gets undressed into REU Spirit Wear. Plumes need to come off shakos and collected to be used again for the field show. Wow! Such a FUN group to hang out with and a productive morning! I had such a great opportunity to see my son in action and celebrate the success of the REU.
If you have not volunteered because of the fear of the unknown like me, please reach out to me or any other seasoned volunteer. I will be happy to walk you through your role on an upcoming Band Review and Field Show as I'm sure so will any other volunteer who knows the ropes. There is nothing that says you need to stay ALL day or need to take on what I did. If you can only support hydrating the band, put plumes on/off of shakos, or even maybe just serving meals, then let us know. The marching band (YOUR STUDENT) needs volunteers. Sign Up Genius is the best way to sign up your volunteer efforts, but please reach out if you are considering volunteering and are still unsure. REU needs YOU!
Please look out for future blogs on the life of an REU volunteer.
Dinah Palaima is a mother of three. Her youngest is a freshman in the REU. She works full time as the HR Director in the wine industry, spends lots of time with her cuddly beagles (Love & Koa), and loves anything Ube. She definitely has a passion for supporting the REU and we hope she will be an inspirational resource to other parents coming into the program. Watch our blog for more in-depth content from her soon.