Oh, the drum corps days...

CBCCG Alum Ashley Pittman shares how her Cadets experience led to her new career

AshleyPittman_2008_busride_laugh.pngOn Sunday, I realized that I cannot eat candy like a 19-year-old drum corps kid anymore.

At first I was pretty excited about my big basket full of Easter candy. I remember sometimes on the bus, my seat partner and I would down an entire family-size bag of Sour Patch Kids in one sitting, and we probably lost two pounds the next day.

Oh, the drum corps days.

This time of year, I get nostalgic for my years with The Cadets.

This was usually the time when I was heading to the April camp. I would get to see all of my friends I had not seen since November and meet all of the new members we would soon become like family. What an exciting time for the corps! I am already seeing the current members posting about how excited they are on Facebook.

My favorite post is from Jennifer Sanchez, one of the 2014 color guard captains. Yesterday evening she wrote, “A quick word of motivation for my first timers coming to April camp this weekend: it's okay to be nervous, it is not okay to be scared! Breathe and believe, cannot wait to meet you all!”

It makes me smile to see present members just as enthused as I was just a few years ago.

As one of the captains of The Cadets Color Guard, I used to stress to new members that we are a family. No one should feel alone; no one should be scared. That is one thing I love so much about our color guard: You always have someone looking out for you and caring about you every step of the way. A Cadets Tradition that will always be…

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I barely remember my first April camp in 2005; I cannot believe it was 10 years ago! The lasting impression I will always cherish from that weekend is the veterans jumping to help me learn the flag work. I was so taken aback by the fact that the legends I had watched the summer before were helping me in my first steps to becoming a Cadet.

Fast forward through two world-championship titles, four years of leadership and eight summers full of memories that I thought would never end. It is amazing how quickly that time passed.

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My favorite part about being in The Cadets Color Guard was performing. Whether it was at rehearsal or during a show, performing to my fullest extent brought me such joy.

One of my happiest, hardest days in The Cadets was the last day of my age-out summer.

When you are in drum corps, it is hard. You are pushing your body to the limits both physically and mentally, yet you love doing it.

After eight summers, my body was ready to be done, but I was not ready to leave this place I called home for so long.

Knowing that August 11, 2012 would be my last day to engage an audience as a Cadet was impossible to grasp. We rehearsed, we performed, we sang the corps song one last time, and it was over. I was officially an alumnus, ready or not, starting a next chapter in the adult world.

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Fortunately, my career path has brought me back home to The Cadets. Working at Youth Education in the Arts has connected me to the corps in a new way, by giving me a greater understanding and appreciation for all the programs YEA! has to offer.

As a member, you never fully comprehend what it takes to operate the corps. It is a year-round, full-time job for many people, and I am forever grateful to everyone who made my summers seem magically seamless. I know it was no easy task.

I also now realize how many resources it takes to keep a corps alive. It is staggering how, year after year, YEA! can pull another Cadets season off with flying colors.

Here in The Cadets' office headquarters in Allentown, Pa., I now work as the Associate Director of Donor, Volunteer and Alumni Relations. My Arts Management professors would be so proud! I remember sitting in class, thinking about how I hoped to actually find a job in my field. And I am doing it! I am working in a non-profit arts organization that I am extremely passionate about. That makes all of the summer rehearsals and long hours in the library at College of Charleston so worth it.

One thing I love about working here is the value George Hopkins places on employee advancement. He has actually been sending me to Villanova University every week to continue to study development, and I will be earning a Certificate in Fundraising on May 5. Even as an alum, I am reaping the benefits of being a part of this wonderful organization.callathon

As May rapidly approaches, we are kicking off our Annual Fundraising Campaign. Several current members of The Cadets will be in the office in less than two weeks for the annual Call-a-Thon, a program I participated in for four years as a member.

The Maroon & Gold Club plays a huge role in continuing to create great memories for the members of the corps. When you support The Cadets, you make a deep and immediate impact in someone's life. I am asking you, as a former Cadets Call-a-Thon kid, to please consider giving a gift to the 2014 Maroon & Gold Club this year to support those who follow in our footsteps.

Drum Corps is upon us again, folks! Get excited; The Cadets' 80th Anniversary is sure to be another summer of crowd-pleasing moments, continued tradition, and late-night bus rides with Sour Patch Kids.

Thank you so much for your time and for supporting The Cadets. I hope you will consider giving a gift to support the corps this summer.

 

For Holy Name Shall Always Be…

Ashley Pittman
Associate Director of Donor, Volunteer, and Alumni Relations
The Cadets Color Guard 2005-2012
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