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How do you keep people happy in bad conditions?

I am in the marching band at my school. We practice for 6 months in hot South Florida and sometimes people decide to just give up. As a section leader and leader in the band I have a responsibility to keep spirits high when we spend hours outside running around in 100+ degree weather. How do you keep people happy in bad conditions?
#inspiration
#mentoring
#happy


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Kim’s Answer

Mia,

This is a most insightful question!

Over-simplifying Maslow's hierarchy, basically, you need to see to people's physical/survival needs before addressing their emotional needs. Sometimes people are grouchy without realizing why. Perhaps they are uncomfortable!! You may need to take the role of advocate, speaking up to the teachers on behalf of the group. If so, try speaking with them in private. Some people resist anything that is presented in public. However, if that does not work, you can always have the group publicly present the same idea later. Ideas?

  1. Hydration! Make sure they have access to plenty of chilled water and other nourishing drinks, such as sports drinks. Not soda! They may need to carry water bottles while practicing, depending on the frequency of breaks.
  2. Shade! at least on the breaks. If there is a covered area where you can practice, that would be even nicer. Look around for awnings, such as down the main walkway of the campus. Probably won't be allowed, but it never hurts to try!
  3. Comfortable practice clothes. Within reason, of course!
  4. Shoes - regardless what they might want to wear, a good support shoe is essential to overall physical comfort. They might be too young to realize this. However, they should be required to wear sneakers.
  5. Outdoor electric fans. People use them for outdoor gatherings. Having a fan or two in the break areas would provide the breeze that is probably otherwise lacking.
  6. Breaks - make sure your people get enough breaks!
  7. Restrooms - should be in fairly close proximity, and well-maintained.
  8. A break area - not necessarily indoors, but it should at least have comfortable seating.


Beyond these, you want to find ways to try to make it fun. Ideas? A free-style band competition. Karaoke. water balloons (if that is not considered too violent these days???) Door prizes? (would need to get donations of things you could give away, this would be work. . . ) You can't do fun things every day, but at least if you do something fun or silly every now and then, it would help!


Best of luck!

Kim






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Kimmie’s Answer

Hi Mia! Being a section leader and eventually becoming Drum Major provided the key learnings and leadership skills I still use today! I think the best advice I can give is to be a "Servant Leader". You are there to serve your peers. Developing strong relationships with each person will help you to figure out exactly what makes them "tick" or in case of your question, makes them happy! Maybe you could do spirit days and dress in themes? (Favorite Sports teams, Disney characters, 80's fashion). Gather ideas on how your squad can inspire and create happiness for the entire band! Lead by example and stay hydrated, positive and engaging. Share tips/tricks on how you practice, memorize drills, etc. Using my personality and never trying to change that always helped me. This way, those that are following you trust you.

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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Mia:

Thank you for your question. I grew up in South Florida and I identify completely with your question. Here's my personal experience that I'd like to share with you.

When I was in high school (back in the day) I was on the cheerleading squad several years. Whenever we went to cheer camp we made sure to wear comfortable uniform clothing and shoes that were already selected by the coach. We maintained hydration and practiced at early hours and hours in the evening when the sunset. Breaks were scheduled throughout the day and we had leisure time sprinkled to relax as well.

I'd say to find ways to make practicing fun and enjoyable such as have an "ice cream bar" to end the evening. Your local Ice Cream Parlors may even donate to the cause; all you need to do is "just check with them".

I wish you much success on your endeavor. You can do this! Just think creatively. :)

Best of luck to you!

~ Sheila

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Deb’s Answer

From personal experience, keep them focused and entertained. What works for one will not work for others so it can be difficult to do because everyone is motivated by different aspects. Main key is to keep it fun and laugh a lot.

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Karen’s Answer

If you haven't yet, ask your band members for their ideas.  Try to surprise them with little treats like popsicles every once in awhile.  Most of all, continuously praise them for all they are doing.  People who feel appreciated will walk miles for you. 


And remember, you're a great leader!


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