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Volunteering at the RHSEU Winter Review - a freshman parent perspective

Article Contributor: Dinah Palaima

Get your popcorn! Get your fresh popcorn!

Call time for the REU is 6 AM and so my first experience of an REU Winter Review begins…

As I review my SUG (Sign Up Genius) confirmations, I pack my crockpot, carefully load the car with wine (donations for the REU Crab Feed looming only two weeks away!), and put on comfortable winter boots. I’m ready now to participate in the 17th Annual RHSEU Winter Review.

I signed up to volunteer for several things so I decided to get up with my son, drop him off, and circle back to the student parking lot for FREE parking as a volunteer. I still had to figure out where to go, but I do know the RHS campus all too well, after all I have one other son finishing his senior year and another that graduated almost four years ago from the same school. I definitely got my steps in.

RHSEU Hospitality Lounge provides a variety of hot and cold meals and snacks for visiting directors and instructors

1st Stop: Hospitality Lounge. What is this? This is THE spot, the OASIS, for band directors and instructors ONLY. It’s their place to have a nice quiet zone to enjoy snacks and nice meals throughout the day. The REU Hospitality is highly rated throughout the circuit as being the best director’s lounge of Winter Seasons past. REU Booster members and volunteer parents coordinate to provide and serve delicious meals in a quiet haven for band directors and instructors. Most items are homemade. I dropped off my dessert which I think went over well.

2nd Stop: Concessions. Not exactly standing in the stadium concession stands as my original thoughts, but waaaay better. Definitely comfortable in the concession area that’s part of the school gym. Very warm (thank you to whomever turned up the heat before volunteers arrived)! This is where I loaned my crockpot for the yummy nacho cheese. There are many volunteer opportunities in concessions: cashier, grill chef, hot food preparer, beverage runner, cotton candy handler, barista (for coffee and Swiss Miss hot cocoa), restocker. No need to sign up for anything specific and no experience required (haha)! There are always seasoned volunteers on hand to train you up. As 10:30 AM came around I waited for the next shift to arrive and went over the flow of concessions.

3rd Stop: First Aid. I know what you’re thinking, I got injured or someone was injured. Nope, this is what should’ve been my first stop. This volunteer station is where we have one or two volunteers handy that can help with minor injuries. They are stocked with basic medical supplies and are just volunteers who are compassionate. Anyone can help with this station. Most of the time all is needed is a comforting word and perhaps an ice pack or a couple band-aids. However, this stop was also known as “Check-in” for volunteers.

Mr. Laxa announcing the schools in the gym, Mr. Jones helping with door/floor security.

Final Stop: Gym. There you will find parents, family, and friends happy to watch their band student perform. I made my way slowly up a few bleacher rows with my fresh popcorn in hand to grab a good seat and watched several schools perform, patiently waiting for the REU to make an appearance. Finally, as the announcer calls out the REU you can see bow ties on straight, drumline wearing black vest with silver bowties and malletline wearing silver vests with black bow ties, each student with white collared shirts their sleeves rolled up in the same manner….it was nice and refreshing and reminded me of how much I’m proud to have volunteered for Winter Review. The REU had such a wonderful performance of their full show that included all three movements.

…and that's what I know as a Freshman Parent! (mic drop!)

When you receive Remind text messages asking you to volunteer but maybe you don’t exactly know what to expect, please feel free to reply to the text message and ask for more information. The Communications Officer is always happy to answer any questions or point you in the right direction. For me, it’s a matter of contributing my time and or efforts because I see the great interest and passion in my son’s eyes that he has for being part of the REU. I never feel like I’m going to miss out on watching any show when I volunteer - - haven’t missed one yet and don’t intend to. If you haven’t volunteered but thinking about doing so, start off by signing up to donate food, prep, or clean up. You decide how much time to volunteer based on your comfort level. Lookout for future sign ups. The students need your support!

Dinah Palaima is a mother of three. Her youngest is a freshman in the REU. She works full time as an 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.

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