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Hosting a corps this summer!

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Greg,

Good advice, obviously, but to be fair to the intent of the original post, he's also looking for ideas of going above and beyond for the corps. :blink:

Mike

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I wouldn't worry too much about your band kids having access to the corps' rehearsals. I've seen corps have closed rehearsals a few times when only parents were allowed in order to keep distractions to a minimum, but it doesn't happen that often. After all, corps have nothing to gain by not advertizing themselves. :blink:

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5. Here's a longshot, but worth it: if you have a strong parent booster club, try to arrange for a home cooked meal for the corps. It can be as easy as breakfast taco bar or something like that. If not that big, aim for a fresh fruit snack break. If you do wind up doing something like this, check with the corps ahead of time about the timing of meals as well as dietary restrictions and special needs. All corps will have something for those on special diets, but giving the food truck a complete break is absolutely worth it. (I did a fundraiser to provide a bbq dinner for Troopers last year and I also made sure I got something for the vegetarians as well as a gluten-free member. It was great to see Mom Gilbert sitting in a chair reading a book during dinner!)

If you can't make that work, try serving ice cream after a long night rehearsal block. Thanks, Leroy, NY!

And what many others have said - be there, but don't get in the way.

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Here are a few suggestions.......drawn from more than twenty years experience marching in, driving, and arranging housing for DI corps -

1) Kudos to the person who suggested ISOLATING the sleep areas for drivers and corps staff. Drivers especially. A staff member waked up when he/she should be sleeping can be incredibly rude. A bus driver waked up too early (and sometimes unable to get back to sleep) endangers the lives of up to a third of the members of one of your favorite corps.

2) It would be awesome to have a couple of volunteers with transportation available to help shuttle anyone from the corps who doesn't know the greater Poca area about on errands. Examples of these could include (but are not limited to) running a corps member to a clinic for medical attention, running a member of the food crew out to buy ice cream for treating the members, running an instructor to a package place for shipping something.......or to Western Union for cash being wired in.....etc., etc. Yes, corps are self-sufficient BUT sometimes they appreciate having someone who KNOWS the area and is willing to take them there.

3) If not doing a meal, most corps would appreciate food donations. Ask the food crew first BUT being willing to round up fresh vegetables or fruit for a couple hundred people from a local Farmer's Market might be unbelievably appreciated. Make sure to hang around (but out of the way of the food crew) the serving line so you can enjoy seeing these incredibly motivated young people react to some unexpected treat.

4) Among the 'things you know about the local area', be prepared to direct folks from the corps to laundramats (3 or 4 of them if the entire corps is getting laundry time), Wal-Mart, a good diesel mechanic who can perform miracles on old trucks and/or buses, a music store where the instructor who is also arranging for the HS band back home can find extra staff paper in a pinch, etc. etc.

5) Know ahead of time where the food truck is going to be parked. Communicate to anyone working with you who MIGHT be the first person the food truck driver sees so that they can direct the truck to the right spot even if you're somewhere else showing an instructor where the staff will be sleeping at that same moment. The truck will need a place to plug in it's extension cord and a water source for the hose. Know where practice fields are located and have someone from your school prepared to walk a staff member to them......even at 4:00am or whatever time the corps comes in.

6) Likewise, know where the buses and other vehicles will be parked. Will they drop members right at the gym door and then move someplace further away like out by the stadium? It should be a lot where the big vehicles can get in and out easily after sunrise even when civilian vehicles belonging to your principals, superintendent, teachers etc. show up to figure out what in the world is going on. Frankly, a big drum corps coming to a small town is as exciting as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus rolling in. (and this is not intended as an insult - my hometown is probably smaller than Poca and I would love someday to pull in with a DI corps in tow for a couple of days.)

7) Communicate the plan ahead of time to your other volunteers because you can't be everywhere at once and when that corps rolls in you're going to have at least five different people wanting to know something at the same time.

8) If you have time, hang some large, legible SIGNS up identifying things like 'MEMBERS SLEEP HERE', 'STAFF SLEEPS HERE', 'DRIVERS SLEEP ROOM (Do not disturb)', 'FOOD CREW SLEEPING AREA', 'MEN'S SHOWER ROOM', 'WOMEN'S SHOWER ROOM'. 'POCA WELCOMES THE COLTS.....or whichever corps you have.' Place these signs in key areas where the corps will be entering. Have directional signs with arrows pointing in the right direction where neccessary. I know this sounds like overkill BUT remember, you have close to 200 hundred people who have never been to your school about to descend on you. Chances are it will be in the middle of the night when they arrive and they will mostly be groggy trying to get in, get down, and maximize sleep time. These little extras will make a big difference to tired corps members and these are the extra touches corps management remembers and wants to go back to.....or recommend to other corps......when planning future tours. It's what opens the door to having corps back in the future.

OK....that's more than enough - You get the idea and I hope that hosting a corps turns out to be a fantastic experience for both the folks you teach and work with and the corps that is fortunate enough to have you guys as their host.

David

Edited by notelvis

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8) If you have time, hang some large, legible SIGNS up identifying things like 'MEMBERS SLEEP HERE', 'STAFF SLEEPS HERE', 'DRIVERS SLEEP ROOM (Do not disturb)', 'FOOD CREW SLEEPING AREA', 'MEN'S SHOWER ROOM', 'WOMEN'S SHOWER ROOM'. 'POCA WELCOMES THE COLTS.....or whichever corps you have.' Place these signs in key areas where the corps will be entering. Have directional signs with arrows pointing in the right direction where neccessary. I know this sounds like overkill BUT remember, you have close to 200 hundred people who have never been to your school about to descend on you. Chances are it will be in the middle of the night when they arrive and they will mostly be groggy trying to get in, get down, and maximize sleep time. These little extras will make a big difference to tired corps members and these are the extra touches corps management remembers and wants to go back to.....or recommend to other corps......when planning future tours. It's what opens the door to having corps back in the future.

:blink: :blink: :tongue: :tongue: :tongue: :tongue: :tongue::blink::worthy: :worthy:

BEST IDEA EVER! i can't tell you how much it sucks to get your sleeping bag down, get your toiletries, and then go wander the halls of a school looking for the bathroom at o'dark thirty.

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Question for those with experience in this matter (which is to say not me):

Is there anything the hosts can do before or after to help make a repeat visit possible? For instance, would it be worthwhile to organize a cleanup detail to mop floors or put chairs in place? Or maybe pre-empt issues by having that team go in in advance and move furniture?

I realize corps usually try to police their sites before they leave. Still, given that some sites still find reasons to object after the fact, maybe there is something for local volunteers to do to help?

HH

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someone already mentioned this... but it deserves another mention:

LOTS OF TOILET PAPER

if it's possible, the more access to bathrooms, the better. Most of the kids will use the bathroom during meal breaks, so that is 100-150 people, generally in a shot period of time. More options = better.

if the corps has access to cleaning supplies from the school, they will use them to clean up when they leave.

the directional signs are a good idea... my corps brought their own, and they were already hung when we got to the site, presumably by a volunteer vehicle that got there sooner.

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Question for those with experience in this matter (which is to say not me):

Is there anything the hosts can do before or after to help make a repeat visit possible? For instance, would it be worthwhile to organize a cleanup detail to mop floors or put chairs in place? Or maybe pre-empt issues by having that team go in in advance and move furniture?

I realize corps usually try to police their sites before they leave. Still, given that some sites still find reasons to object after the fact, maybe there is something for local volunteers to do to help?

HH

Most corps do a fantastic job cleaning up after themselves .....remember, they have a checklist that a representative of the corps will go through with you right before they leave to insure things are all good. Still it wouldn't hurt to have some volunteers doublecheck behind them before school administration finds something inadvertantly forgotten.

As for insuring a corps in the future......you never know what the DCI tour will look like from year to year or where corps en route will need housing. You make friends, you do the right things, and the opportunities arise. For instance, a school near me housed the Florida Wave back around 1990 and it went well.........but this area doesn't have much drum corps activity in terms of close by shows. That school would have liked to have had another corps in....the band director then is now the principal..... but the opportunity didn't present itself again until this past summer when the Colts needed a place between Louisville, KY and Columbia, SC. It went well again and the Colts, or some other corps, may be back again at some point.....depending on the next time we're a good stopping point between some corps' point A and point B.

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Oh, here's another one that's actually a relatively new development: if your school has wireless internet, get a temporary username/password for the corps staff and/or tour director. They'll likely have their own way of doing this via iPhones and whatnot, but being able to park in your band hall office and use some free wireless for a time can be very helpful.

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Maybe check with the tour director or corps director to see if they would be interested in having any local media come check out the rehearsals and other activities to do a story. The media could put a plug in for whatever show the corps is perfoming at in that area to help ticket sales perhaps.

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