Thinks on Things

A gathering of ponderings…

New Hobbies, Jobs, and Volunteering

Long introduction made short: My sister helped the local high school put on a production of Peter Pan about 6 years ago. Her involvement paved the way for my recent rock climbing adventures this summer. She purchased quite a bit of equipment needed for the pirates to rapel from the catwalks into the aisles of the auditorium. They screamed and “Arrg”-ed the whole way down, effectively freaking out the audience and scaring a bunch of kids (some actually cried)! After the musical had run its course, the climbing equipment got stashed away in a plastic bin and forgotten…

New hobby: So this spring I was looking for some good deals on gear and thought of the high school drama department as they hadn’t used the stuff in 6 years and seemed a waste. The director actually gave me a complete set of the gear as thanks for my sister’s involvement and I purchased the rest at a fraction of the original cost. My interest in the stuff sparked his interest in my interest. That got a brainstorming ball rolling and he decided to hire my services for the coming musical, Beauty and the Beast this fall.

I spent the summer enjoying use of my newly acquired equipment. I led climbing expeditions for my friends and family and had a blast learning and teaching some new skills. Around September, Mr. Director called me up and asked if I was still interested and I accepted the new job.

New job: From September through November I worked many evenings with the drama department and the students at rehearsals. My part was primarily giving a frightening and dramatic entrance for the Beast when he appears a couple of times. My job was to accomplish this in an OSHA safe manner that also put Mr. Director at peace. I assured him that it was a safe process providing that the Beast could follow specific directions and have a lot of trust/guts…

Beast lived up to and exceeded expectations in playing his character. Our two entrances were in pretty cool and terrifying; big hairy-scary beast climbing around on the outside of the catwalks and then leaping to the stage 30 feet below! We got a number of screams from the younger members of the audience (I was so proud of my little prodigy)!

On “crew night” all of the backstage cast are recognized for their efforts during the intermission. My brother and I decided to rapel down to the line-up with style. Of course I was dressed as a ninja should be, mask and all… It was great!

Whenever the cast receives a standing ovation, whether deservedly or by way of parents and friends and generally courteous and supportive small town, tradition calls for what is known as “The Boogaloo”. All the cast members (after greeting all the audience after the show) rush back onto the stage and begin to chant for Mr. Director. When he arrives he leads them in a crazy dance which ends with everyone falling on their behinds.

After one particular performance the chanting began as usual, but Mr. Director was slow in appearing. The chanting continued… And then from up in the catwalks, using the gear the Beast had used, he descended to the stage gaining cheers from everyone! At his request, I held him at 3 feet above the stage and he led the Boogaloo dance suspended. With the final move I dropped him onto his butt to join the others laughing and smiling. It is important to note that this guy is not exactly a young man and is getting close to retirement. He’s also deathly afraid of heights and has only done this sort of thing one other time (my sister pulled the same stunt). It was a musical experience to remember!

New volunteering: Getting involved with the high school musical was a double bonus for me. It was an added source of some income and also enabled me to connect with some of the kids from our youth group. Contact work is important in anyone’s life but especially during high school years. Teenagers need to know that there are people (besides family and peers) involved in their lives that care about them. Our goals to offer leadership, guidance, and friendship to these kids is key in them developing skills and confidence of their own to carry into their futures.

Being around all of these youngsters triggered a confirmation that this is a calling I have. I decided that it was time to really begin and step up to that call. I jumped through the necessary bureaucratic hoops to get myself a photo ID pass to give me access to all the public schools in our district. Now I can come and go without worry of being forced to play 20-questions with the hallway security. I even have legitimate cover stories and training on how to avoid getting trapped and kicked out. It’s almost as bad as missionaries having to jump hoops and play into other roles in order to get into some countries with the Gospel. The difference is that I don’t run as high a risk of being shot if my cover is blown… Thank God for that!

In addition to “helping patrol lunches and hallways”, I “run errands for teachers” and “tutor and monitor after-school study sessions”. All of this is helpful for the school of course, but the main reason is simply to get myself involved in these kids’ lives and be available when they need help or advice or just a friend to talk to about junk.


November 24, 2007 - Posted by | All My Thinks

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