April 23-29 marks National Volunteer Week. DCI.org takes a look this week at just a few of the many personalities that spend their time volunteering with drum corps. Contact any of the many drum corps out there to find out how you can become a volunteer. Name, hometown: Judy Luongo, Ipswich, Mass. Which corps do you volunteer with, how did you get started and how long have you been at it? Since May of 2000, I have been volunteering with the Spartans. Prior to the Spartans, I helped out with Citations where I learned to love drum corps. This is my 10th season of drum corps addiction. What kind of work do you do with the corps? "Mom", uniform work, cook staff, coffee queen, volunteer coordinator, chaperone, home show coordinator, whatever! What is your favorite part of being a volunteer? There are so many favorites that I have in being a volunteer that it is hard to put to words. The kids. My own kid. My best friends. Touring the country with my kids and best friends. The hard work and feelings of total exhaustion at the end of the day. Watching a rookie grow and mature into a "Spartan." Watching the pride in a rookie parents' eyes the first time they see their kid take the field. The thank you hugs. The feeling of making a difference in the life of a child. What is the most difficult part of being a volunteer? September, October, November and December! Do you have any favorite memories from your years as a volunteer? Every year of drum corps has created so many memories that after a while the years and places all roll together. I guess my most vivid and favorite memories are from 1999 in Madison, Wis. That was my "rookie touring" year. Prior to actually going on tour, I used to fly out and meet the team at finals. Going on tour and being part of the support staff is quite different than meeting up with the corps. I quickly found the true meaning of exhaustion: The endless supply of necessary energy that is only fueled by "the kids." To watch them mature, to see their commitment and respect of each other, their staff, drivers and us support staff is the ultimate reward. The intensity of everyone's commitment to the team is indescribable. I can't wait to return to Madison in 2006. What are you most looking forward to during the 2006 season? Every single hug of friendship and thanks, every single tear cried of happiness and the pride of being a part of the Spartans! What advice do you have for those who would like to get involved as a volunteer with a corps? The only advice I can give is, "Just ask." Don't doubt yourself about being capable of doing this. Don't doubt that the corps needs you. Just do it. Prior to 1997 I had never even heard of drum corps. Never in a million years would I ever think that some of the best years of my life, the best friendships and memories would be made in corps. The experiences are amazing! The rewards immeasurable!
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