Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment Marching Band
Blue Springs, MO
Parent volunteers are highly critical to our program’s success. With functional areas like props, trucks, fundraising, sewing, marching festivals, and meals; we have a lot of opportunities for parents to put their personal skill sets into work.
The primary objective is to offer parents an opportunity to see all of the possibilities for volunteering with the Golden Regiment. The volunteer fair is set-up prior to the start of the first parent meeting. This gives parents a chance to meet other parents and to learn about what is involved in each functional area. Sign-up lists are collected and for each “conversation” a parent has with another volunteer committee head, they are given a raffle ticket for a chance to win gift certificates for the Golden Regiment’s fireworks tent. The second objective is to showcase the professionalism of our organization to incoming freshman parents. When they see the work that other parents have put into the design of this first meeting, they immediately recognize the pride we have for our program and they want to be a bigger part of it.
This event focuses on parents of the program. While the majority of parents that attend this are freshman parents, we do see additional returning parents that didn’t realize what opportunities they might have missed in their first year or two. This is a great opportunity for them to make connections and find ways to be involved.
The planning for the volunteer fair takes about four weeks. Each functional committee head is notified of the event so they can plan their “table” needs and what they want to display. The committee head for the volunteer fair then secures all of the equipment (tables, pipe and drape, balloons, and snacks). The event is announced via social media and email blasts. On the day of the event, the set-up time typically takes about three hours to make sure the presentation in each area is clean and professional looking.
Overview of Planning and Execution
We utilize committee heads for our parent activities. The committee head is responsible for communicating the details of the event, preparing any promotional details, setting up the display and tables, and in providing snacks and drinks for the event. This person usually commits to about 15 hours of work (over 4 weeks) in preparation of the event.
Tools and Resources
We have a complete set of purple and gold pipe and drape that was donated to the program by Meyer Music. We have Golden Regiment branded table drapes that we use for the set-up. We typically provide a cookie sampler tray and some cold water for refreshments. We get purple and gold balloons to create a fair like atmosphere. And using the projector in the band room, we play video loops of past shows to create an excitement to the kick-off of a new season.
Marketing and Promotion
We promote this event through social media and email blasts. Because the parent portion of the meeting isn’t optional and it is where the costs and plans for the season are detailed, we have very strong attendance.
The expenses are minimal between balloons and refreshments. We typically pay ~ $200 for this event.
The biggest challenge is in getting parent information. The first year we did this event, we attempted to use computers with online forms for sign-up. The internet connection was slow and it became difficult to get details recorded. For the second year, we switched to a paper form. The drawback is that the handwriting was often difficult to read. But we were able to record a lot more contact information for parents that were willing to volunteer.
Our effectiveness is measured by our ability to fill volunteer roles. This was the second year we held this volunteer fair and it is helping us to build bigger networks of parents and we’re seeing that other sign-up needs (like our marching festival) are being filled quicker.
Parent volunteering is critical to filling the needs of the program. But further, it makes the students perform better. When parents are committed to the program giving their own time and energy, they become better examples for their kids and they share more interests in their success.
Advice for others?
Think about the location for this event. The first year we did this it was outside the doors to the performing art center where the parent meeting would be held. Many parents walked in and went straight to their seats bypassing the fair. This year, we moved it to the band room.