What to expect while volunteering for a weekend camp

Thank you for volunteering (or considering it) to help us create a successful camp experience for our auditioning and returning members!

Volunteering is work, but it is also fun.  We have a lot of laughs and share our experiences.  This is a great opportunity for parents of a first time auditioner/member – even out-of-state ones that wish to come along and learn more about what their child is venturing into.  What follows is an overview of what to expect if you come out to help us.

Sign Up to Volunteer
We have online signups to let you choose what roles you would be willing to fill as a volunteer.  We post these on our website HERE and Facebook pages about a month prior to the event.  Drop in volunteers are welcome but we need to fill up the signups to know we have things covered.   You must let us know when you sign up if you will be housing with us as a volunteer (more below on that).

Volunteer Badges
Early in the week of camp your name will be sent in to have a badge and lanyard made for you. This should be worn while on school premises.  It’s a security item that helps let members, students, and staff know you are expected to be there. Pick up a badge and lanyard at the badge table during check-in or from the camp volunteer coordinator.  When done for the weekend you can drop the badge off for use at the next camp.

Volunteer T-Shirts
We hope to give every volunteer a volunteer t-shirt to keep.  We may sometimes run out of popular sizes but are constantly ordering more.  If you did not get one from a previous stint, please ask the volunteer coordinator or head cook for one.

Staying Over at Camp
Volunteers – especially parents of out of town members – are welcome to stay over at camp.  It’s a great way for you to fully experience the activity and drum corps environment.  A separate classroom is set aside for volunteers to bunk down.  Bring what ever you want to sleep on and in/under to stay warm and cozy.  The school locker rooms are available for showering so bring a towel and other toiletries.  Please make a note in the volunteer sign up if you plan to use our housing.  We can even provide airport shuttle service for you – just send us your travel details.

Younger Siblings
Not that we don’t like smaller kids, but we need our volunteers focused on the tasks at hand.  We don’t have anyone to supervise the well being of younger kids while you are working as a volunteer.  However, we can allow youth ages 14 and older the opportunity to volunteer with you.  No permission slip is necessary for them if you are also there volunteering.

Use of School Equipment
This is primarily aimed at food service personnel, but consider ALL of the school’s equipment (bowls, cutting boards, knives, towels, soap, sanitizer, pans, trays, ladders, …) as off-limits.  Sinks, counters, outlets, mops/brooms, and usually refrigeration/freezer are OK to use.  Please use the equipment and supplies that we bring along.  Ask the head cook if unsure about an item.

Clean Up
On Friday before we move into the kitchen area, someone (typically Mark Arnold or the head cook) will go through and take “before” pictures.  Sunday around lunchtime and certainly before we leave we will wipe down all surfaces and mop the floors and move everything back into its Friday location.  WE WILL leave the kitchen in the same configuration in which we found it AND CLEANER.  The “before” photos will be brought up to compare and make sure there will be no reason for complaints from the school about how we treated their facilities and equipment.

Free Time
Keeping to the schedule to keep the program flowing and the members fed takes priority.  However, there is often time available to go watch activities, take a shower, or just zone out for a bit.  Please make sure you don’t stay away too long and it’s probably best to check with the head cook to see when you should be back.

Time Commitment
There will be some people (and the more the merrier) that will spend the entire weekend volunteering.  For those that can help but not for that extended duration, most shifts are about 4-hours long.  Sign up for one, two in row, one a day, or any combination that you are capable of.

Food Prep Position
We will usually have a set menu from camp to camp.  Washing, chopping, mixing, pouring, slicing, heating, boiling, serving, cleaning, …  Some meals we can prep ahead but it’s usually just following the lead and plan of the head cook for the camp.

Head Cook Position
The person responsible for coming up with the menu and shopping list.  Likely the one doing the pre-camp shopping and bringing supplies from corps hall.  Keep everyone on track with meal prep.

Van Driver Position
Make runs to/from the airport as needed.  These can happen anytime during the day or night, but mostly during Friday afternoon and evening and Sunday morning and afternoon. No CDL or special license is required.  Only a standard valid automobile drivers license.  We usually have a 15 passenger van (or vans) available.  Occasionally we may ask if you can use your personal car.

Check-in/Registration Position
You will help with getting attendees checked-in and registered and paid.  This does require at least half the crew to supply a laptop.  You will help attendees use a web browser to pay at an online site (and may collect non-credit card payments) and you will use a Google spreadsheet to indicate they are at camp.  Some of you will also help issue name badges and just help point attendees in the right direction.

Medical Staff Position
If you have ability to help with treating of altitude or other sickness, paper cuts, jammed fingers and the like – please indicate that when you sign up and let us know what certifications you have if any.

Other Jobs
Food prep and van driver are our primary needs, but there may be other miscellaneous jobs like supply loaders posted as needed.

Want to learn more? Check out our Support page!

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Ken Adams


Mark Arnold is one of the longest-serving Directors in Drum Corps International, serving as Executive Director of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps since 1985 and as CEO of Ascend Performing Arts since 2010.

Under his leadership the Blue Knights organization has developed into one of the premier Drum and Bugle Corps in the history of the activity, recognized Internationally for excellence and innovation in the performing arts. Through the years the Blue Knights has expanded its programing and now serves thousands of young musicians and performers annually in multiple performing ensembles, events and educational programs under the umbrella of the Ascend Performing Arts.

In addition to shaping the course of Ascend Performing Arts, Mark also has played an integral role in the ongoing development and successes of Drum Corps International as a collective. He served as chairman of the DCI Board of Directors in 1994 and again from 2008 to 2013. Mark was honored as Corps Director of the Year in 2004, and was the inaugural recipient of the George Bonfiglio Chairman’s Award at the 2012 DCI World Championships, which is given to an individual each year who demonstrates extraordinary leadership and service on behalf of DCI and its performing drum corps.  Mark was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Blue Knights Hall of Fame in 2019.

Prior to his position with the Blue Knights, Mark was the Assistant Director of the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from 1978 through 1983, serving alongside Director Jim Jones, one of the founders of Drum Corps International and an inaugural member of the DCI Hall of Fame.  Mr. Arnold has a degree in Music Education from the University of Wyoming and taught High School Music in Wyoming and Nebraska from 1979 through 1985.
Mark Arnold


Scott Factor has served on the Ascend Performing Arts Board from 2012 to 2018 as a voting member in various positions including Vice-Chairman. Since 2019 my role has been in an Advisory position.

Outside of Ascend Performing Arts i am Senior Account Executive for Baxter HealthCare.
Scott Factor


I am currently an Ascend Board Member-at-Large.  I have been a volunteer with the Blue Knights since 2013.  I have been serving on the BoD since 2019.  I retired from the United States Postal Service in 2010.  Although I have never marched drum corps I am an avid fan of the activity and thoroughly support our members in any way that I can.  “We Go On”!!! 

Neil Corvino


Board member Kathy Black is an attorney in New Mexico practicing as a full-time litigator focused on employment and civil rights defense. She came to the law as a second career after twenty-five years in high tech with NCR Corporation, doing everything from operating systems programming to Vice President positions in engineering, customer services, and sales. She earned her JD from Lewis & Clark Law School and her BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ms. Black is active as a percussionist in the Albuquerque area. Way back in 1978 she marched with the Guardsmen, including at DCI Finals in Denver.  After many years of being just a drum corps fan, she was elected to the Drum Corps International Board of Directors in January 2016 and served on that board until January 2022, including three years as chair. 

Kathy Black


Bryant’s path to the Ascend Board of Directors, which began in 2021 as a member-at-large, traces back to his childhood. Watching the Reading Buccaneers senior drum corps practice near his grandparents’ home ignited a lifelong passion, and a student of all thing’s percussion.

Years later a family move to Colorado provided Bryant with a platform to display his passion, both on the stage with the nationally acclaimed Green Earth Percussion Ensemble and on the field as a snare drummer with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps until his age-out year in 1984.

In his professional career as the Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Yokohama Tire Co., Bryant credits the principles instilled by the marching arts and years on tour for his success. On a personal level, the arts played an even larger role, where Bryant met his wife, Stephanie. The Rankin’s currently make their home in South Carolina, enjoying time with their grown children, two incredible grandchildren, and their beloved brown lab, Zoey.
Bryant Rankin


Retired, Director, Office of Research and Analysis, Colorado Department of Revenue Ms. Archibeque served 26 years in the area of statistical analysis for the Colorado Department of Revenue and Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Her skills in this area assist the board in developing a strategy for statistical analysis in the area of program evaluation. She has also been a significant volunteer managing and working with volunteers for the organization and will assist the board in understanding the complex nature of the organization. Her personal experiences as a minority and female can inform and promote a more inclusive environment and agenda for the projects that the board supports.

Janet Archibeque


Rob Batchelder was appointed to the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors in May 2023, and currently serves as Vice Chair. As a member of the Senior Foreign Service, Rob has represented the United States overseas in India, Poland, Germany, Argentina, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and Namibia during a diplomatic career spanning nearly 30 years. He currently serves as Managing Director for Visa Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, DC. Rob marched in the Blue Knights hornline in 1987 and 1988, and he was Drum Major in 1989. He and his family live in Alexandria, Virginia, but his heart still yearns for Colorado.

Rob Batchelder