Article Contributor: Dinah Palaima
(Based on my volunteer experience at the Del Oro HS Spectacular in Loomis, CA -
The RHSEU Editor has added some extra notes in italics)
#1 REU SPIRIT WEAR
If you have REU spirit swag, wear it. It is helpful for the REU to identify you as part of the crew. Don’t have spirit swag? Consider wearing black and Mustang green? If your son/daughter has a few RHS wearables to borrow, that will work too.
The REU Spirit Wear Shop opens once a year at the beginning of Fall Season. Watch for it and don't miss out!
#2 RODRIGUEZ MUSIC BOOSTERS
This is a group of parents and non-parent supporters of the REU. Teamwork is vital and this group works hard for your children to ensure coordination of events go smoothly. They are DEDICATED! They don’t wear a shirt that says “BOOSTER” but if you volunteer you will find that every person in this group goes above and beyond to make you feel welcome and show you the ropes.
We love new faces! Take some time to volunteer even if it's for part of the day. We want to share with you how it's done and welcome you to be a part of it.
#3 COMFORTABLE SHOES
If you sign up to volunteer for hydration wear comfortable shoes because you walk with the band to the starting line and walk back to Camp. There are some risk-takers that wear flip-flops, but I like my pedi (just sayin’)! Some high schools can be as big as a college campus so track your steps and beat those goals.
This is no joke. Not only is the walk long, the terrain is not always friendly. Add rain into that mix and you will cry in your flip flops.
I once said (or twice) to all of my sons, “if I have to buy you another hoodie….”. Hoodies are actually great for layering for unpredictable weather. It can be chilly in the early mornings and in the evening where the Field Show performances are held. No need to dress to impress, but wear REU spirit swag if you can.
Hats, sunblock, umbrellas, ponchos, layers, be prepared!
A foldable camp chair is nice to have. Find a chair with a cup holder and store it in your trunk. Or maybe bring a picnic blanket or two.
At Del Oro we had a nice grassy area at our Camp. The students know and even bring a hammock or a tiny tent.
If you volunteer during a competition, a lunch and or dinner meal is provided but also hungry are 100+ marching band students so you can never be too prepared. I had a “me time” break so I ate on my own, but also packed a healthy chicken salad and not-so-healthy potato chips just in case. (Okay, the Twix was yummy too!) There are circumstances where eating on the bus is part of the plan.
Meals, depending on the schedule, are always provided for the students. We even try to accommodate for allergies and dietary needs. Be sure to let us know in advance if there is a need. We try to plan to have enough to cover the volunteers as well however the students come first. You may have to get your own.
When you volunteer and drive on your own it’s best to park in the spectator parking areas. Only buses and equipment vehicles can park in the assigned Camp area of the school campus. Parking is usually free at the events.
Usually free, but sometimes some schools will have paid parking as an option. It never hurts to bring some cash to a competition because also see #8...
#8 FIELD SHOW ENTRY
Entry fee to watch the field show is around $10 pp. Some school stadiums will accept payment by credit card. If you volunteer for REU PIT CREW, no need to pay for entry, although you might not get to watch the entire show. Think about bringing some cash for the snack bar (sadly missed out on the cotton candy last Saturday!)
As a Pit Crew Volunteer you DO get to watch the whole show you just have a different view as you will be watching from the field. Fortunately for us we have an Alumni parent who has been video recording our shows from the stands. Find the videos at Yee Visuals on YouTube!
Many REU parents like me work a 40-hour week. In some cases, my job can demand my attention up to 60 hours per week and I still have my “home job” to focus on. Volunteering makes for a better day knowing that I’m there for a job I truly enjoy – being there for my child and yours. I encourage and challenge you to at least volunteer at one competition to experience what I have.
She's right! There's nothing more rewarding than helping your own child and others. You'll find that you suddenly have 130+ other children when you become a band volunteer. Don't be surprised if you hear them call you mom or dad.
#10 Recovery Day
I’m no spring chicken, so an all-day event would knock me out for a week. But I respect that my son needs to sleep in the Sunday after a competition. I never let him sleep in all day (if I can't!) so around mid-morning, a shower and a meal is a MUST. He also MUST wipe down his shako, remove turf out of his shoes then polish them, straighten the bibber, and ensure the uniform jacket has attention in preparation for the next competition.
Uniforms are costly! So we asked that you help take good care of them. However, please do not machine wash the jackets. If you have any questions about cleaning them, contact us. At the end of the season all uniforms are sent to the dry cleaners.
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