Here at Music for All, we recognize that our programming would not be possible without the support of our hard-working and dedicated volunteers. "Spotlight on Volunteering" is an on-going blog post series that highlights one of these superstar volunteers each month.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What's your background with Music for All?
In high school, I played mellophone in and was drum major of the Milford (OH) High School Marching Band. We participated in a few BOA Regional and Grand Nationals events each year. I was also a camper at the Summer Symposium in 2008 and a member of the 2009 BOA Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses parade. Up until my senior year, Music for All was just the organization that organized all of the big competitions that my band went to, but after attending the drum major track at the Summer Symposium and marching in the honor band, I began to see that MFA was so much more than that. Both experiences taught me more about leadership and teamwork than I ever imagined that they would.
Q: When was the first time you volunteered with Music for All? Why did you decide to volunteer?
My first experience volunteering for Music for All was as a SWAG at the Summer Symposium in 2010. I wanted to be a SWAG because I wanted to give back to the wonderful experience that I had as a camper in 2008, and to be honest, I wanted to be back in that environment again. There aren't many places where so much focus is placed on the importance of being your best self, treating others with care and respect, and putting others' needs before your own. The importance of those values makes the Symposium a very safe and positive place. I think that's something that makes the Symposium a place that people want to return to.
Q: You've been a SWAG and a Regional Key Volunteer- which was your favorite volunteer experience and why?
Although I've enjoyed each of those volunteer experiences, being a SWAG is definitely my favorite. I love meeting the campers at the beginning of camp and watching them grow throughout the week. At floor meetings every night, I always ask the girls if they want to share something they learned that day. It's so cool to be able to see their learning experiences deepen as camp draws to a close. After a week of working with incredible instructors and students that share their passion for music and the marching arts, those high schoolers say some pretty profound things. I've been fortunate enough to be a SWAG for a few years now, so I've also be able to see campers grow up from summer to summer, which is just as neat.
I think being a SWAG has also been one of the biggest contributors to my personal growth. I know that I've learned more about leadership and service as a SWAG than I did as a camper. It's always interesting to come back to camp each year and see how I've grown since the last summer, and what growth is still is store for me.
Q: Our Indianapolis Super Regional is a huge event and you got to be right down in the action at Pit/Prop Entrance this past year. What was the coolest thing you got to see while volunteering down in the tunnel at Lucas Oil Stadium?
Working at the Pit/Prop Entrance was definitely an exciting experience! I think the coolest thing about it was to see the dedication of the parents in the pit and prop crews for each of the bands. Although there were some pretty cool and impressive props, they wouldn't have come into being without the help of those parents. Every school had parents that knew exactly what they had to do, and wanted to do it to the best of their abilities so that their kids' could have a great experience on the field. Marching band as we know it couldn't function without the support of parents, and it's so cool to see that in action.
Q: Many of our volunteers are recent alumni of our programming, like you. What was the best part of your band experience with Milford High School?
That is a hard question to answer! I have so many wonderful memories of my experience with the Milford Bands that it's hard to choose the best part! One thing I will never forget from my experience with marching band is the feeling of standing on the field right after finishing a performance, exhausted and fighting for breath, but feeling so excited and proud for my band. You don't often get to experience accomplishing something so beautiful with over a hundred other people who have all been working towards the same goal for months like you can with marching band.
Q: Would you recommend volunteering with us to other Bands of America/Music for All alumni?
Of course! Volunteering at Music for All events has allowed me to give back and stay connected to something that was such an important part of my time in high school. Not only that, but each time I volunteer is a such a positive learning experience. You get to work with great people for a great purpose. MFA really does provide postively life-changing experiences, and as a volunteer you get to help create them and have a positively life-changing experience of your own.
The 2014 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade presented by Honda will step off with another fantastic lineup of colorful floats, top-notch marching bands and majestic equestrian units from across the country and around the world. The annual procession begins at 8:00 AM (Pacific) on Wednesday, January 1.
The Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award annually recognizes the extraordinary commitment, dedication, support and sacrifice of music parents and boosters around the world by shining a spotlight on an individual who exemplifies these qualities.
The award is named in honor of Patrick John Hughes, the father of Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick Henry is a remarkable young man who, despite physical challenges that would seem overwhelming to many, has excelled as a musician and student, singing and playing piano and trumpet with the Louisville Marching and Pep Bands, with the help of his father, who tirelessly maneuvers his son’s wheelchair through the formations with the other 220+ members of the Cardinal Marching Band
On Friday night during Grand Nationals the 2013 Patrick John Hughes Parent Booster award was awarded to Dick Zentner, of Pennsylvania.
Music for All's President and CEO, Eric L. Martin with Dick Zentner, 2013 Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award Recipient
Eric Martin, Dick Zentner, Zentner's daughter Dawn Tatters, grandsons Dylan and Doug Tatters and Zentner's son Ron Zentner
Mr. Richard “Dick” Zentner first became involved with the Norwin Band Boosters in the 1980’s. He began his booster parent journey on the pit crew and when it became known that he had his commercial driver’s license, he was quickly recruited to drive one of the equipment trucks.
As Mr. Zentner’s other children continued their participation in the Norwin band program, so did he, serving on many booster committees and even serving as booster president for several terms. But Mr. Zentner was not just a supporter of the Norwin band program- he often met with other fledgling band parent organizations and shared with them the Norwin booster model and the wisdom of his experience.
Through the years Mr. Zentner played an increasingly important role in planning and coordinating the band’s transportation to and from all local competitions and community events, as well as events like BOA, WGI and band trips to Florida. Whenever the band had somewhere to go, Mr. Zentner made it happen flawlessly.
Through his involvement with the Norwin band program in the 1980’s, Mr. Zentner became a trusted confidant and friend of Norwin Director of Bands, the late L.J. Hancock. Though Mr. Zentner’s youngest son graduated from the Norwin band program in 1994, he continued to coordinate logistics, attended band parent meetings and served as an advisor to L.J. Hancock. In 2000, L.J. Hancock passed away, and while Mr. Zentner was crushed to have lost such a close friend, he worked toward helping to maintain the quality of the band program for the sake of the students. Since L.J. Hancock’s passing, Mr. Zentner has assisted in the transitioning of four band directors into the Norwin band program.
Mr. Zentner with the Norwin band
Former Director of Bands, Ian Morrison, said “As a former student in the Norwin band program, I personally remember “Mr. Z” unloading my Sousaphone from the truck and wishing me good luck. As a former director of bands at Norwin, and one of the band directors that Dick helped to transition into the program, I can say from personal experience that parents like Dick are invaluable to the success of an organization such as ours. In the uncertain times of transition, Dick was a calming and steadying influence on me and the band parents’ organization.”
There is no denying that Mr. Zentner has been a devoted and loyal advocate of the Norwin band program. After more than 25 years of involvement and working with 5 director of bands, Mr. Zentner has truly become an icon of the Norwin band.
“Since I have become the director of bands at Norwin, Dick and I have talked about the history of the program, what it means to him and why he does what he does. Throughout the conversations the words loyalty and tradition come up often. In many ways, Dick is the keeper of this tradition as he has been around longer than any of our current staff and is truly part of what makes the Norwin Band program successful. The guidance that he has provided me during my brief time as the Norwin director makes him almost like a father figure in this regard. Like me, when I was a student, most students don’t know just how much Mr. Zentner does for all of them and how much he shapes their experience, especially on the road. I will always be grateful for what Dick does for this organization.” –Director of Bands, Timothy Daniels
Dick Zentner with the Norwin HS Directors
Mr. Richard “Dick” Zentner has not only been a booster, pit crew dad, equipment truck driver, logistics specialist, prop construction crew member, volunteer coordinator, Vice President of the Norwin Band Aides, President of the Band Aides, Norwin band historian and Director of Operations during his time with the Norwin band, Mr. Zentner has been a true advocate of music education and a champion of every student.
“Year after year, rehearsal after rehearsal, performance after performance, Dick is there doing what needs to be done because he knows the importance of supporting the efforts of the student. Dick Zentner is the epitome of a dedicated band booster.” – Linda Hancock, Norwin Band Staff 1985-2001
Norwin students, directors and fellow boosters supporting Dick Zentner at the Parent/Booster Award Ceremony
Read more about Patrick John Hughes and his family and the Parent/Booster Award at www.musicforall.org, where you can also find out how to nominate the exceptional parent or booster in your music program.
Learn more about the award and how to submit a nomination
Watch the Video of the Award Presentation
As many in the Indianapolis community have heard, a great man and music advocate, Tom Barnett, passed away earlier this month.
In his years of service as a volunteer with the Ben Davis High School Marching Giants, Tom Barnett saw state and national titles, performances in the most prestigious parades in the United States, a performance at the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan and of course, a countless number of BOA appearances.
As Gary Wishmeyer, Supervisor of Music Education Students at Indiana University, said “He loved our days of competing at BOA in Johnson City, as this would give him a few days to visit with other competing band parents and equipment crews from around the nation to share ideas and to build friendships. He was a great good will ambassador for Ben Davis and the bands from the state on Indiana”
In 2011 Tom was the much deserving recipient of the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster award. (Read Tom’s Parent/Booster story here.)
In a recent email, Ben Davis director David Cole told us:
“We would like to thank Music for All for helping us honor Tom as the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award recipient in 2011. Tom always felt so special for being recognized nationally. Tom asked me once, "How the heck did BOA hear about me?" We would just tell him that sometimes a person's actions are just too big to go unnoticed. You really made a hard working, selfless volunteer feel like a million dollars. Thanks!"
When someone like Tom Barnett is nominated for the Patrick John Hughes Parent/Booster Award- it is the LEAST we can do, to help showcase all of what they have been doing to support music education. In 2011 we had many deserving nominations for the Parent/Booster award, but in our opinion, Tom's nomination video was particularly special. One of the elements that stuck out to us were the STUDENTS who we heard on the video, expressing what a huge role Tom played in the success of the Ben Davis Marching Giants. The video ends with several students saying "We love him, we love him, we love you Tom." It truly was a beautiful video and just spoke volumes to what Tom meant to the Ben Davis Marching Giants community.
We want to share that video with you:
Tom’s hard work, selflessness and true love of his time spent with the Ben Davis Marching Giants did NOT go unnoticed. Tom was not only a beloved member of the Ben Davis Band and the Indianapolis community- he was a member of the Music for All/ Bands of America family.
Laura Blake, Events Manager at Music for All has many fond memories of Tom, even before she became an MFA staff member.
"I had the privilege of knowing Tom since I was a little girl. I was a follower of the Ben Davis Band program well before I ever started playing an instrument. I'm convinced that Tom, even at my young age at the time, taught me the best ways to load and pack a truck. I was that little kid who always wanted to help, and the skills I learned from Tom come in handy time and time again with my work for Music for All. But even through high school (and I wasn't a BD Kid by the way), college, and later my work at Music for All; I always looked for Tom at shows and events. I'd find him scoping out the lay of the land, always with a big smile and a hug, wishing everyone participating to have a great show!"
This post is in memory of a great booster, advocate and most importantly, a great human being. Everyone at Music for All feels fortunate to have crossed paths with Tom, and to call him a member of the Music for All family over the years. The Music for All staff, event staff, competing bands, EVERYONE who came across the Ben Davis Band, will all be missing Tom this fall. Our thoughts are with Tom's family and the whole Ben Davis Community, and as the Ben Davis students so eloquently put it in their nomination video two years ago, "We Love You, Tom."
Music for All is proud to share the news that one of our dedicated volunteers, Christopher Protho, has been named the 2013 International Festivals & Events Association Volunteer of the Year!
As the winner of this award, Chris will be the guest of the IFEA and Zambelli Fireworks at the IFEA’s 58th Annual Convention & Expo, September 16-18, 2013 in Pittsburgh, PA where he will be recognized and presented with his award during the IFEA Awards Luncheon on Monday, September 16, 2013.
Chris' name might sound familiar to you because Chris has been in the Music for All family for 23 years, you've probably seen him at a Music for All event! Chris was nominated for this award because of his incredible dedication to Music for All's mission. His Music for All story is truly incredible, and we would like to share that with you:
Chris’s journey with Music for All began in 1990 when he was a freshman at West Virginia University. A member of their acclaimed Marching Band, Chris was required to volunteer at Music for All’s Bands of America Eastern Regional Marching Band Competition for high school students. He was a parking lot attendant. Despite the lackluster volunteer assignment, this first exposure to Music for All made a lasting impression on the young man who grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA. So impressionable, that he continued to volunteer for Music for All for the next 23 years. Following his debut as a parking lot attendant, Chris traveled the following summer to Wisconsin to be a camp counselor for Bands of America’s Summer Camp for high school marching band students. By then, he was hooked.
Within those 23 years, Chris experienced nearly every volunteer opportunity available at Music for All, from a parking lot attendant in 1990 to the Contest Director for the Grand National Marching Band Championships in 2009, Chris’s progression is a result of his commitment to the organization at all levels. This is no small feat as Music for All is a multifaceted organization that: provides music education for middle and high school students in marching bands, concert bands, orchestras, music ensembles or as individuals; offers professional development for instrumental music teachers; organizes a series of regional and national performance events that are culminating experiences for schools and student musicians; and serves as an advocate for scholastic music programs across the country.
During his tenure with Music for All, Chris provided logistics support and event management at: 81 Bands of America Regional Marching Band Championships; 20 Grand National Championships; four Summer Symposiums; three Music for All National Festivals; and one Regional Concert Band Festival, which occurred during his honeymoon. His volunteer assignments at these events have included (but not limited to): event management, field manager, field operations, announcer, parking manager, ticketing, concessions, tabulator, timing and penalties judge, loading dock monitor and shuttle driver. Chris has logged 39,000 miles in personal vehicles to these events, and dedicated more than 7,000 services hours to Music for All. After 23 years of volunteering, working a full-time job, earning a Master's Degree, getting married, having children and pursuing a doctorate degree, Chris’s dedication to Music for All has not waned.
Chris’s expertise in events management has evolved with the organization, and he has more institutional knowledge than many of the paid staff. Chris’s hands-on experience is greatly enhanced by his academic and career pursuits. Chris holds a Bachelor of Music from West Virginia University, a Master of Education from California University of Pennsylvania, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Instructional Management and Leadership from Robert Morris University. Since 1999 he has been a Music Teacher and the Band Director at Mars Area Middle School. In addition, Chris is deeply involved with scholastic music programs in his home state, most recently serving on Pennsylvania’s Department of Education’s Standards and Practices Commission, a position appointed by the governor.
Chris’s extraordinary dedication to working on the front-lines at the many Music for All events earned him the distinguished role of Contest Director for Grand National Championships three years in a row from 2009 to 2011. This is the highest volunteer position available at Music for All, responsible for delivering an event that is consistent with Music for All’s mission, vision and core values. A demanding, complex and highly specialized volunteer position, the Contest Director makes the event—held in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium—an unforgettable experience for 75,000 people, including the students, teachers, band directors and spectators.
Chris considers Music for All a part of his family. This deep commitment, coupled with Chris’s positive attitude, is a rare asset to any organization. To Chris, scouting locations for Music for All events while on his honeymoon in Florida was part of life. Driving to various cities for events after Friday night football games was commonplace for Chris. To Chris, this is an adventure, a dream come true, a chance to travel the country doing what he loves—supporting and recognizing students for their outstanding accomplishments in music. Chris is inspired by Music for All’s mission to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experience through music for all.
Chris’s impact extends far beyond a single event or series of events. Chris has been the bridge to Music for All’s future. He began volunteering when Music for All had a staff of nine, and now that staff has doubled. In many cases, he has helped train and orient new staff for Music for All events. His institutional knowledge is unmatched. Chris believed in the organization from the beginning. When it was a fledging organization striving to evolve and professionalize scholastic marching band events—Chris believed in the mission. When Bands of America and Music for All Foundation merged in 2006 resulting in many organizational pains—Chris believed in the mission. When Music for All faced devastating budget cuts in 2009 exacerbated by the recession, staff morale was low and Music for All considered closing its doors forever—Chris believed in the mission. Simply put, Chris was at his best, when the organization was not at its best. He has been an energizing force throughout Music for All’s evolution.
Today, Music for All is stronger and more stable than it has ever been, thanks to the dedication and commitment from Christopher Protho.
Please join us in congratulating Chris on this well deserved award. We are all truly lucky to have Chris as a part of the Music for All family. We thank you Chris, for your friendship, your guidance throughout the years and for your dedication to music education.
Come be a part of America's Camp this summer! Music for All is looking for two nurses to be a part of the Summer Symposium medical team. You would need to be in Muncie, Indiana from June 21st through June 30th.
What does a camp nurse do?
• Administer medication
• Ensure safety of the campers
• Asses injuries and make recommendations on course of action
Our head nurse, Erin, is looking for 2 more nurses to round out her team for summer 2013. Erin has been coming back to camp in this role for the last 11 years.
"The camp medical team consists of nurses – RN or LPN, Paramedics and/or EMTs that are available on campus during the entire camp to ensure the safety and health of the students during their camp experience. The team is available to campers 24 hours a day. It is a week full of fun and developing friendships along with ensuring safety of students. The energy of the staff and students is rejuvenating and something to be experienced as it is nearly indescribable. That is what has kept me coming back to camp for the last 11 years." - Head Nurse Erin
Transportation, a stipend, housing in the on-campus dorms and meals are all provided.
Do you want to be a part of this positively life-changing experience this summer?
Welcome to the 2012 Music for All Summer Symposium! My name is Kristin Conrad, and I’m the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Music for All. I will be blogging throughout the week to keep you informed about the activities students will be participating in at Summer Symposium. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be in two places at once, although I wish I could since I would enjoy seeing everything happening at camp. But, I'll do my best to keep you in the loop throughout the week and help provide an insider’s look at the Symposium experience. You'll also see posts from other MFA staff members this week as they attend sessions and experience camp.
If you followed the Summer Symposium blog last year, you may remember that last year was my third year at camp as an MFA staff member. This is my fourth camp, and it’s so nice to be back on campus at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. This is the second year Summer Symposium has been held on the campus of Ball State University.
The MFA staff moved into our headquarters this past Wednesday, and we've been hard at work setting up and prepping for the week. The SWAG Team is also on site, working hard already to help make sure your children have a great experience. The SWAG Team plays a major role in the Summer Symposium, serving as counselors, staff assistants and role models to the 1,000+ student participants.
Even though I’ve been to camp before, I’m still always amazed that this is an all-volunteer group! Dedicated band directors, college students, graduate students, directors and others interested in music education volunteer their time – over a week out of their busy lives – to provide a positively life-changing experience for each and every student participant. But, it extends even beyond this. Every time I have encountered a SWAG this week, he or she has either offered to help me with something I was working on, asked how my day is going, or simply smiled and told me they’re here if I need anything. It’s that compassion, dedication, responsive attitude and friendliness that truly sets this amazing group apart from the crowd.
The Leadership Weekend Experience is now under way, and I spent most of my morning over at registration in Park Hall. SWAGs helped students register, passed out their notebooks with materials for the week and provided them with a namebadge. They also chatted with them about what they can expect this weekend. I snapped a few photos while milling around registration, and you can find them here.
After registration, it was time for the Leadership Weekend Experience Opening Session in Pruis Hall. All participants attended this session, and they heard from Norm Ruebling, Camp Director of the Music for All Summer Symposium; Eric Martin, Music for All's President and CEO; and the Camp Medical Team. Then Leadership Division Coordinator Fran Kick presented a session that provided helpful tips for the weekend (or week ahead for full week campers).
Music for All recently adopted a new vision, and President and CEO Eric Martin talked about this at the beginning of the Opening Session. Music for All’s vision is to be a catalyst to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music making in his or her scholastic environment. MFA will use our resources to provide national programs that recognize and support music students' performance and success, offer music educator training and professional development, and deliver tools and resources to participants and their communities that will assist them in supporting music education by promoting awareness of music’s impact on student growth and achievement.
Martin discussed how student campers here at Symposium can help advance Music for All’s mission and vision by simply passing along the message that music education is important and telling their story. Tying in to Leadership Weekend, students can be effective leaders and help by acting as “foot soldiers” for music education by telling others about their own positive, musical experiences.
“I believe in music education. I believe in Music for All. I believe in you,” Martin said to close his speech. Powerful words. If you’re interested in learning more about Music for All’s “I Believe” advocacy awareness campaign, you can read more on our website. And, check out this video in which music educators, student musicians, conductors and composers share why they believe music education is so important.
Fran Kick began his session with the students by discussing the concept of rules versus expectations.
“We need to make sure that one of the expectations, in fact, traditions of Music for All, is an attitude of gratitude,” Kick said.
Kick encouraged students to “thank everyone you see” and tune in and pay attention to the clinicians and faculty they’ll hear throughout the week. He also encouraged students to “pay attention, respond appropriately and be involved in what’s going on.”
These are serious and important lessons, but Kick delivered this message in a way that was fun and engaging for the students, joking here and there and incorporating team-building exercises. He had the students laughing, listening and also paying close attention to these important leadership lessons.
I left thinking about the concept of “actions speaking louder than words.” Kick told a story about students in a college lecture hall. Picture your typical college lecture hall, and then also picture it littered with trash left over from a class. Papers on the floor, empty soda cans, etc. As students attending the next class in the hall file in, most simply take their seats and go about their own personal business. But, one person begins picking up trash in his area and then sits back down. Immediately, others follow suit and do the same, cleaning up near their respective areas. Were any verbal instructions given? No. Actions speak louder than words. A simple, easy gesture from one student led to action from several others. Interesting.
Attitude really is everything, and I was reminded of that as well. As Kick discussed that “you get what you give,” I was reminded of a quote from John Horn that I truly love. “Anyone can be cranky or unkind or mediocre. Being positive and kind and excellent takes a lot more discipline and power."
At times when I’m feeling tired and unwilling to give any more of myself, I try to remind myself of this quote. I’m, admittedly, not perfect and sometimes forget this. But, it’s a quote that has stuck with me, and Kick’s session reminded me of this concept.
Leadership Weekend continues tomorrow, and I look forward to seeing what happens next!
Super Bowl week in Indianapolis, Indiana was an exciting time for the Music for All (MFA) staff. The MFA office is headquartered in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, placing staff just a block away from the Super Bowl festivities. Music for All is proud to be headquartered in Indianapolis, alongside our partners Drum Corps International and the Percussive Arts Society.
Indianapolis is no stranger to national and world championships. Lucas Oil Stadium has hosted many championship events, including MFA’s Bands of America Grand National Championships and Indianapolis Super Regional Championship as well as several other musical events, including the Indiana State Marching Band Finals and the Drum Corps International World Championships. Lucas Oil Stadium is the only professional stadium designed specifically with marching performance events, like Grand National Championships and DCI’s World Championships, in mind.
Music for All staff are always looking for ways to improve our patrons’ experience at events, and with an event as large and complex as the Super Bowl right in town, the opportunities for brainstorming and idea gathering were endless.
Music for All staff members not only observed Super Bowl festivities, but a couple had the chance to experience the Super Bowl from a behind-the-scenes, volunteer perspective. We're proud of our own staff volunteers. Music for All's own Natalie Mince and Laura Blake were official volunteers during the event.
Natalie Mince, Music for All’s Director of Events, was a member of the Super Bowl Equipment, Logistics and Warehousing Committee, a committee she has been involved with since January 2011. The purpose of this committee was to determine the need for storage and warehousing facilities for the large number of items being brought into town for the Super Bowl. This committee did not have responsibilities on site, but Mince wanted to be actively involved in the Super Bowl events so she also became a “Fans First” Supervisor.
“Fans First” was a new program implemented by the NFL, and the Super Bowl in Indianapolis was the pilot event for this program. Mince says “Fans First” volunteers were stationed on busy streets downtown and surrounding the Stadium to help answer questions, direct guests to the appropriate gates and keep an eye on crowd levels. As a Supervisor, Mince managed a team of volunteers and was in communication with a manager stationed inside the Stadium, to ensure things outside the building were running smoothly.
“I really enjoyed being a part of an event that showcased the entire city, not just the event itself,” Mince says. “The Host Committee did a fantastic job of building excitement for the local crowd in addition to the visitors. Seeing the Super Bowl transform our entire city was exciting, and the wide-range of activities was really phenomenal.”
Through her volunteer experience, Mince had a chance to interact with both the local community and out-of-town visitors as they experienced the event.
“Downtown felt alive, and the number of locals who visited the Super Bowl Village and other downtown activities prior to most of the visitors arriving to Indianapolis was really amazing,” Mince says. “There was a sense of pride in our community, and everyone I spoke with was so happy and complimentary of Indianapolis. I enjoyed just being a part of the Super Bowl experience, and having a hand in contributing to something on such a large scale.”
As Director of Events for Music for All, Mince was also observing and thinking about the Super Bowl from an event production and volunteer coordination perspective. She was impressed with the use of technology in order to keep volunteers informed throughout their shifts. Mince received multiple text messages throughout the weekend alerting her of the weather, road closures, crowd sizes in Super Bowl Village and other important tips. Visitors could also sign up for text message alerts as well.
“The texts were very helpful and allowed me to be ‘in the know’ even when I was not on shift,” Mince says.
Mince also observed the Host Committee very closely; studying their processes and thinking about ways MFA could improve its volunteer management program.
“I thought the Host Committee did an excellent job of making tweaks throughout the week to improve the visitor experience,” Mince says. “When Friday was jam packed in Super Bowl Village, changes were quickly implemented on Saturday to improve foot traffic and prevent bottlenecking. The Super Service online training that was required by every volunteer was a really great tool that got everyone on the same page about basic customer service and extending Hoosier Hospitality to everyone we come in contact with. The fact that 8,000+ people were trained in customer service prior to an event was pretty impressive.”
Mince also took away ideas about volunteer uniforms and other volunteer perks, the usage of signage and banners, and ways to use Georgia Street as an auxiliary event area during Music for All events.
Laura Blake, Music for All’s Senior Event Coordinator, volunteered as well and worked Low and Medium Intensity volunteer positions at the NFL Experience at the Indiana Convention Center. Low Intensity work involved having patrons sign liability waivers and giving them wristbands that allowed them to play games. Blake also answered patrons’ questions.
“Medium Intensity was amazing!” Blake says. “I worked in the kid zone area. I worked a game where kids could hike or throw a ball through NFL player cut outs. I've never been so tired and had so much fun…watching tiny kids throw the ball and get so excited when they made it!”
Similar to Mince, Blake was very impressed with the production and volunteer coordination aspects she witnessed while volunteering. She felt volunteer uniform and credential pick up were exceptionally smooth.
“Thousands of people were coming through, and they had minor snags, but the stations they had made sense,” Blake says. “I enjoyed the daily newsletter, which I thought was a unique thing that sort of helped keep the event on your mind even if you weren't working that day.”
Blake was impressed with the online volunteer training, the perks provided to volunteers and the logistics on site. She also gained ideas that apply well to her work at Music for All.
“Getting to see a world class event in our city was amazing. It also made me feel good about what we do. We aren't so far off the mark with our [MFA’s] volunteer program,” Blake says. “I learned a lot and had a great time.”
“I am really honored to have been a part of the Super Bowl, and I'm so proud of Indianapolis and the Host Committee,” Mince says.