A Man and His Bucket

As I mentioned the other day, my family and I are volunteering at our club’s first speed skating meet at the new rink. There is plenty of volunteer positions that were available. We had so many volunteers sign up, that a few positions were being shadowed as well. Which is all sorts of amazing.

My position kept me busy all day. After every race I had to give out two buckets of water to the track stewards. This happened about once a minute. I even had to refill my large bucket a few times. I had no idea how busy I would be. I thought I would just be sitting around for most of the meet. I was hoping for just a fun name tag and hanging out for free food.

I actually enjoyed my position rinkside. The kids who we’re volunteering on the ice were my bosses for the day. I took guidance from them about what they would need besides buckets of water. I had a bucket of snow, a fire extinguisher and a trowel at the ready in order to repair any chunks that occurred periodically when a skater fell.

Even though our son wasn’t skating, it was a great experience being a part of the meet. This club is run far different from our previous club. Even though the club was fairly organized ahead of time, we still had a few hurdles to overcome before the races began. But it was in all intents and purposes a great competition.

Pre-Volunteer Evening Planning

Tonight was a regular speed skating practice session at Theory’s club in Poco. He went there to skate and work out as usual. But the parents were there to discuss the upcoming Saturday meet.

There was plenty of talk about how to organize the meet. Like where people need to be, when they need to be there, where the coaches need to stand, etc… We also moved our club’s mats from one rink to another. (Mats are used along the outside as padding because the skaters can go pretty fast and if they slip- they need that padding to prevent injury.) The reason we moved them to another rink is because this one has stadium seating for the spectators!

Even though our son isn’t skating at our club’s meet- he is volunteering as a track steward. My wife and our middle are also volunteering in their own ways. But me? I wasn’t going to volunteer originally. But I decided that I needed to be a part of this club and as much as I support my son when he is on the ice- I also need to support him off the ice (as well as the rest of his teammates).

My role this Saturday is “Water Bucket”. Super glamorous I know. My wife finds it very humorous. I wanted to be called “Water Boy” but alas- “Water Bucket” is my official title. I promise to be the best Water Bucketer around! Now it is mostly because I am excited about the food that the volunteers are getting. And it’s not donuts and pizza this time around. I have heard the menu! Not gonna lie- there’s a bit of selfish reasoning behind my volunteering.

In all seriousness- there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that many kids don’t see. They are there to skate and do their best. And the parents in the crowd are there to cheer them on. Hosting a skating meet has a lot of background activity that keeps everything flowing. Even my job as a water bucket helps to keep the ice slick. Which is kind of a big deal.

If is wasn’t for my role- those kids could wipe out pretty gnarly. No one wants that. Good thing I’m the water bucket!

Stepping Up

My family and I have been volunteering at our Speed Skating club since September 2010. As the years have gone on, volunteer work at other events has also happened. As I mentioned yesterday, we had our First Meet of 2021. My wife, myself, and our seventeen year old volunteered for the entire day. Our fifteen year old son competed in the morning, then volunteered for the afternoon.

Our son went above and beyond in his role. Originally he was going to be on the ice as a Track Steward. That meant he would check the ice after each race, adjust the markers, and assist as needed. Instead, at lunch he was asked if he could coach on the sidelines to a new skater from out of town. That skater came down with his father, but did not have a coach there. Because our children have done assistant coaching and coaching over the last few years, Theory stepped up to help without hesitation.

Because this meet was on our home ice, our son knew where to be to offer encouragement and support to a skater he met just moments prior. Watching my son on the sidelines calling out advice and coaching was one of the proudest moments in parenting that I have had. Theory is a great person and offers plenty of encouragement as it is already.

It feels as though our family has made a name for themselves in the local Speed Skating community. I hope it continues on for years to come. I know I’ll be volunteering still and I know our teenagers are enjoying it as well.

What makes my kids wonderful?

I almost hate to do this as my second post, but I have some parental bragging to do.

I’m not here to talk about grades, or trophies, or accomplishments, but rather something that has surprised even myself.  My two youngest children have put themselves into a volunteer group at their school on their own accord.

Personally, I have a tough time letting go of my hard earned money.  I also find it difficult to want to give up my time for various causes.  So, at the start of the school year when our children came to us and said they wanted to join a volunteer group at their new school, it surprised me.  But being supportive parents, we told them to go ahead and we would make it work into our already busy schedule.

The volunteering the kids do at the school is for “Pa-Moja”- basically helping the neediest children in Kenya get the chance for an education. Here’s a quick link from our school’s website from a few years ago: LFAS Pa-Moja The school has been working on this project for many years now, and it seems to be quite successful.  I am all about education.  I think it is extremely important in today’s society.  Remember when I said that I find it difficult to give up my time to volunteer?  The school PAC and volunteering at the school is my one exception and has been for over nine years now since my first child entered school.

The reason I bring this up today is because of my daughter.  Over the past few weeks, the teacher running the volunteering has asked the students to create something of their own that they can then sell to others.  The proceeds would all go to the Pa-Moja Club and benefit other children.  Yesterday afternoon, my daughter still didn’t have any viable ideas and needed it for today.  After some discussion with my wife and I, she came up with making origami.

I love to make origami.  I used to do it all the time.  For my wedding fifteen years ago, I made origami napkin rings for our guests in our wedding colors.  I have books and papers throughout the house on how to make origami art.  I was happy to give her paper and show her how to make something.  I asked her when she would be selling their art- February- what do you think of in February?  Hearts.  It was an easy project to get her into her first taste of how to make origami art.

So much love to share

So much love to share

Before dinner yesterday, the two of us sat down, and I taught her how to make an origami heart.  Soon, we had made about a half dozen or so, and that’s when my other two children joined us.  So, I taught them how to make hearts.  What my daughter had done, unsuspectingly, was got others to volunteer their time and efforts.  And it was fun!  Over dinner, their was an air of excitement as my middle daughter gushed about Pa-Moja and how she was going to bring the origami to the school and teach others how to make a heart just in case they didn’t have a craft of their own.

As a parent, I’m always proud of my children.  But last night, something else happened.  I could sense the passion and excitement that volunteering had brought to my children.  My parenting style has always been to instruct my children to be respectful and kind to others.  Compassion, caring, and a willingness to help- that’s behavior that you can’t teach.  My children have impressed me and they have become pretty awesome human beings.  Being proud is an understatement.