ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA — November 19, 2011
Well it’s over and I wish all volunteers to be rested up and relaxing this Sunday morning.
We did good again and many compliments were thrown in our direction. Our direct event coordinator “Lori” gave us high 5s for a good job with no complaints. I also spoke with another unidentified man apparently high up in the organization who also complimented us for the many years we have helped this event with zero complaints and an exceptional professional job. He was unaware we were volunteers from a radio club. A few of us also were contacted with interest in us assisting their own event(s) so that speaks wonders.
We were mostly paired up all day with a partner at each post location. A few times we were shy and had to share a partner but the operation went on smoothly and we even got fed – a couple times. First, the event was feeding us at the stadium. Traditionally it has been a hamburger and soft drink. That usually hits the spot by itself. This year, we were surprised by a late donation from the Downey HS Band with chips, salsa, sour cream, natcho cheese, grated cheese, and hamburg mix for our natchos. That was a big hit with us and sincerely appreciated. This occurred late into the evening when they were preparing to leave – I think around 1900. When we had all our fill and were ready to depart ourselves, we took the donated leftovers over to the park and left it for the homeless who camp out there. That food from Downey went much farther than they probably ever dreamed. Of course Chef Barry had his spread for us with hot spiced cider and/or hot chocolate as he prepared it right on the spot. Mmmm. Thanks “Bear”. We also cannot overlook the early morning donuts thanks to “Ducky” and I think perhaps Barry but never found out for sure. Thank you to all of you for your contributions to the cause. It really went over well.
Our “Dirt Lot” was opened by using a “master” key from Paul (426). We had permission to use the lot but it was not left open for us that early. How early? Well, before 0600. Yes, some of us were early risers yesterday. I was up at 3:30 to get there by 6. I heard others on the radio while I was making my commute down Cajon Pass so I know I was not alone at that hour. The day lasted until about 2300 when we finally cleared the parking lot of buses and were able to secure the rented lights. We were out of there by 2330. My drive got me home at exactly 0100 this morning making for a very long day for me but well worth it. I have attached an Excel file of the band line up order, times, and bus count if you would like to see just how many you participated in or directly helped. Remember, even a gate that has little bus contact is important. Just one var or truck coming into the lot can screw it all up for us (as has happened in past years sometimes.)
The event did not go without incident. We had one girl with an apparent leg joint problem and another boy who fainted in the parking lot. Neither required EMS and were released to their parents. There was a false report of car break-ins on La Palma at the stadium which was determined to be an inaccurate report. Once the buses were all parked and during the final awards ceremony we patrolled the lot for an potential bus burglary issues as have occurred in the past. No reports of loss were related to us. Perhaps a new positioning of the lights helped in this crime prevention. We’ll remember that for next year.
One thing missing this year were the port-a-potties in the lot. Past years we had about 8 potties but this year we were directed to tell people the rest rooms at the stadium were open for them. Carl’s Jr across the street and down the block was also an option. I know we used both options.
UCLA did not perform this year due to a timing conflict elsewhere (Rose Bowl I think). We were prepared for them but the need never occurred. Still, we parked 102 buses and who knows how many semi-tractor-trailer rigs, U-Haul/rental trucks, vehicles towing trailers, and other support vehicles. All those vehicles in a not-so-big parking lot with only three skinny access gates. Sometimes we were forced to zig-zag or weave the bus between practicing bands, pit equipment, practicing flag bearers, EZ-Ups, etc. etc. This year is the first year we parked some “all-nighter” buses in three rows bumper-to-bumper down the first isle and then also did the same in isle two late in the evening to fit everyone in. We did not have to resort to parking any buses on Swan or Gomer Streets this year. That made for a nice escape plan for alternate parking should we need it.
From a communications standpoint, I think some improvement can be made with our own capabilities with respect to understanding our equipment and being prepared. The being prepared is a wide subject encompassing too much to discuss in this forum so I will simply comment on understanding our own equipment. At some of our events, some members still do not understand how to work their radio. By this I mean 1) program it or have it programmed ready for use, 2) how to make a change if necessary with respect to frequency or tone, 3) having a battery go dead without a spare or coming to the event and say “let’s see, now I need to program my radio to do . . .”/ That should be done at home in the convenience of proper lighting, available manual if necessary, etc. At the even is not the place to program your radio or ask someone to do it for you. Let’s remember this for future events so the members who do come prepared do not need to take away from their job or time to fix a problem you may have dealt with earlier. It’s getting better but let’s see if we can perfect it next year. If you do not understand your radio or its operations ask now and we will try to find someone or a source to help you. It’s like driving a car; know what all the controls are for and do and how to perform them.
Finally, I only have two eyes and ears to make notes and I can use yours to document how we might improve next time whether it is this event or another event. So please, take a moment and drop me a note of your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, critique, etc. and I will store it for next time as I always do with each event. If you have any photos you wish to share please do.
By the way, before I forget, we wish to acknowledge and thank Savanna for their generous donation of $500 to our team. This helps us in our general fund to pay for repeater site rentals, repairs and upkeep to equipment, and other expenses (such as licensing) that we have come up in order to continue as a viable team. THANK YOU SAVANNA.
One more thank you is in order. THANK YOU to all of YOU who volunteered to make this event a success. Without YOU it would not be an event. Thank you for communicating back to Kevin, Mike, or myself with your availability and for bringing your enthusiasm, professionalism, and smile to Savanna. It REALLY makes it all worthwhile and the question of the day is “for whom?” Why, the band kids, our next generation, of course!
Ed Greany, Crest 25