Volunteer drivers and food service help needed

A personal letter from Cadets Assistant Director Justin Heimbecker

Dear Parents, Volunteers and Friends of The Cadets, 

Good afternoon! My name is Justin “Rudy” Heimbecker, and I serve as the Assistant Director of The Cadets. I also have the privilege of managing the full summer tour, living the full 90-day experience on the road, with the team. I marched with the corps from 2003-05, and I now work with Melissa Babalonis (94-98 alum) in the Allentown office. We have the unique opportunity to give back just a little bit of what was given to us during our time with the corps...an unparalleled, life-changing experience... 

We try to convey to the members of the corps throughout the season, it’s so important to strive for excellence in all that we do, both on and off the field. We’re not just interested in developing marching, playing, spinning machines this summer…our goal is to send the members of The Cadets home with concepts and applications that will set them up for success in life – teamwork, hard work, persistence, hard work, self-awareness, hard work, conflict management, did I mention hard work? 

These are the things that really MATTER, because they transcend the football field and the marching music activity. The reason we're able to devote such a great deal of time and energy to these ideals, philosophies and discussions, is through an incredible support system within the organization. 

The reason I’m writing today, is to ask for your consideration in a very, very crucial area for this support system - volunteering with THE CADETS! 


As you may or may not know, we have an 11-vehicle convoy (2 tractor trailers, 4 buses, 3 rvs, box truck, & van); one of our many projects through the spring is to ensure that there is a driver in every one of these seats for every night beginning around June 10th…and ending on August 16th 

Now, we do charter buses, and they do come with drivers, so this leaves us with seven vehicles to fill for almost 10 weeks – that’s about 70 weeks worth of drivers! 

The corps does travel through the night, the drivers are required to get at least eight hours of rest during the day, and…there are some fun personalities to meet on the radios each night! 

And if you have a CDL Class A license, please let us know if you’d be interested in driving one of the tractor trailers. We are ALWAYS looking to add to our team of truck drivers. 


And you might wonder, how do they feed all of these hungry people for three months straight? Well, the food truck, of course! One of our 48-foot tractor trailers is actually a kitchen on wheels, and is led by a head cook and an assistant; however, we need a team of 6-8 assistants at ALL TIMES to feed four fantastic meals to 200 people every single day.  

This begins with spring training in Johnstown, Pa.,bwhen the corps stays in university dorms for the first 3-4 weeks of the season (great for those who prefer not to travel so much). 

As we hit the road, there is an RV dedicated to the foodservice volunteers who wake up early, stay up late, and work hard in between to provide the sustenance that keep the corps moving faster than anyone else in the world.  

I should clarify - you need absolutely ZERO kitchen/food experience to contribute to the team here at The Cadets! We need dishwashers, drink mixers, garbage tossers, table setters, ice fetchers and yes, quite a bit of mixing, chopping, baking, slicing, and cooking will take place, as well.

So as you can see, myself and Melissa have our work cut out for us this spring. Seventy weeks of drivers and 105 weeks of foodservice volunteers. Yikes! 

 As we’ve spoken with the members, we have a theory that if each of the 150 Cadets has a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, band director, neighbor, etc., to sign up for just one week of volunteering during the course of a summer, then we’re pretty close to our goal of 175 already! Add in the folks who take on 2, 3, 6, or even 8 weeks - alumni, fans, and other folks - and this thing will run like a well-oiled machine. The kids will eat well, no one will be overworked (maybe tan and skinny, though) and the summer will become successful and memorable on so many levels before it begins.

As is the saying around here…

A corps who eats and travels well, performs well. And we all know that The Cadets love to perform at the highest levels! 

So, if you would, please consider a stretch of time with the corps this summer. We’ll get you to and from the airport, you’ll get to eat this fabulous food, I promise that you won’t cramp your son/daughter’s style (and vice-versa), you’ll get to witness some of the finest young adults in the world excelling at an unbelievable level, and above all else, there truly is no other place in the world quite like this. It’s difficult to explain, but when you experience it for yourself, you’ll understand in no time. 

Simply write an email of interest to myself at justin@yea.org and/or Melissa@yea.org with questions, dates, considerations, or anything else!  

To check out the Cadets 2010 calendar as it looks right now, click here. 

To see our list of recommended dates, airports, and volunteer timeframes at this juncture, click here.

One last note…

We do tend to struggle for the necessary assistance to get things going EARLY in the season. Please don’t hesitate to sign up for May/June dates, if they are an option for you.

Best Regards,

Justin Heimbecker

Assistant Director, The Cadets


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