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October 30, 2020

Student Parent Orientation Program

7 min read

Music – It was all Worthwhile
Schmood – Lovstalgic

You know…. It’s been a very very very long time since I’ve entered anything in this little bloggity-blog of mine.  I can say, with confidence, that my paltry reader base of about 3 people has probably been reduced to a big fat zero.  I mean, you can’t really blame them can you?  You can only read the same boring posts so many times before you just stop reading.

Well, will a little luck, maybe I can win my reader base back… and add another one or two… heh.

So, this past month has been such a big blur.  I’m talking about 180 miles an hour, blink and you miss it blur.  The thing is, so much has happened… I feel so tired.  That doesn’t mean none of it was worth it… it was ALL worthwhile… heh heh.   SPROM, Umbrella Council Retreat, Board Meetings, SPOP3, SPOP Closing, P2 Picnic, NorCal trip, Board kick-its… sheer madness.  And the whole time, I still haven’t found a job!!!  Gosh why am I such a moron! Whatever… the job search goes on.

Geez…my breath hellecka smells like garlic.

Anyway… so I mentioned SPOP closing… yes it’s true… my time on staff has come to a close…*sigh*   I can’t believe that it’s really, really done.  I know there’s still a chance that I may be able to staff again next year, but… it’s more than likely not going to happen.  I mean, I’m gonna try out fo sho, but for a returner, there are only a few, coveted, hard-to-get spots.  It’s kinda like this: say there are about 100 spots open on staff.  About 70 go to the first year staffers, about 30 to returners.  Now, I assume they try to keep the girl/guy ratio pretty much even, so that makes it 15 spots for a guy returner.  Now, if you consider that there about five or six 3rd year returners, that brings it down to about 12 spots for a male, 2nd year-returner.  Yeck!!!   I dunno.  I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it… but u know it’s kinda hard to not worry about it.

Live in the present, Earl.

I must say though that this has been the BEST summer I have had the pleasure to experience.  It’s been one of those summers where you can’t really remember being bored for too long u know?  There has always been something to do.  And trust me, that’s 10 times better than sitting in front of the boob-tube for hours on end, slowing turning into Idaho’s finest. The best part of it is though, that it’s being busy doing something productive.  PUSO and SPOP have been running me thin over this summer, and I can’t say that’s a bad thing.  U know, I really wasn’t sure before why people always wanted to come back to SPOP.  Why did spoppers want to become staffers, and why did staffers want to become returners?  It never hit me before, maybe because I’ve never had the privilege to come through or work with this program.  Now that I have, I know why for sure.  No matter how much we say that SPOP is all about the kids, which it is, at some level it’s totally for the staffers too.  Over the course of those 5 or so months of training, staffing, and SPOPticulars, you become a family.  That, and you get to watch a group of 17 and 18-year-olds grow so much in 48 short hours.  And if you’re lucky, you get to see that growth in their parents… very rewarding experience.  Now, if I could only do this for a living somehow… not possible, is it?  *sigh*

I guess that naturally brings us to: “What’s Earl gonna do after college?”

Answer: Only God knows.

And let me tell you, I think Earl would appreciate it very much if he were let in on the secret.

Well, I want to say something about SPOP3.  So I got a chance to work a parent hall: “Cumbre Construction Workers.”  Not only did I get to work a parent hall, but I got to staff the hall where my college career started… crazy ass Cumbre.  That in itself was a trip.  I was really weird for me to walk into that hall, because as soon as I did, my mind was flooded with memories… The first time I met my old roommates, late night mafia, Hallowe’en night Ouija boarding, noodle parties, Superbowl Barbecues, and the first time I truly fell.  It made me a bit sad as all those memories of a time long past assaulted my senses and filled my mind with so many emotions that I seemed to be laughing and crying all at once.  It made me sad because it was… well, the happiest year of my life… and I do miss it sooo much.  What I wouldn’t give to go back to those days.  I learned and grew so much in those 10 short months.  So attached was I to the four walls of the hall that moving out was altogether painful… not real physical pain, but the pain of separation.  It’s like going to school for the first time ever and having to leave behind your security blanket, or dolly, or something like that.  It was like… losing that feeling of wholeness, of completion.  But hey… smile because it happened right?

Anyway, back to SPOP3.  I seriously never knew parents could get that crazy.  Hehehe… it was pretty insane, we had ish going w/ two other halls, one by virtue of our name (poor jealous, jealous, Puente Power Tools), and the other courtesy of one of our parents stealing a cape from another hall and defacing it in honor of the all-powerful Construction Workers.  You know, so many staffers have raved about staffing a parent hall… and I totally know why.  It’s not really BETTER than staffing a kid hall, nor is it worse, but it’s something totally different.  I mean, it’s cool in that you get to sleep more and all that… but also, the parents tend to be more open from the beginning than most of the students.  They are usually more than willing to share themselves and their lives with you, and without and type of prodding.  All you need do is ask.  And they are soooo appreciative of everything… you know, because they tell you.  It touches you to the core when they say they that they see their kids in you… and they see in you the person they want their kids to become.  I think it was best said by one of the parents who published a webpage commenting on the program and the staff.  I seriously doubt that I could ever put it so concisely and poignantly.

“But I did catch a glimpse of what will make the future in the form of a SPOP, and it gave me a confidence that I didn’t even know I was missing.”

“80 SPOPers have turned me into a believer. If they represent any portion of our future, count me in.”
(http://www.kevinhoffberg.com/spop.htm)… Give him a read.

It’s nice to know that something you love doing impacts someone for the better… that it gives them hope and strikes a chord in their hearts.

Oh and there’s more… because this whole impacting/hope/striking chords thing doesn’t follow one way signs… it’s reciprocal.  As our weekend drew to a close, we went through the same exercise we go through with the kids, plus an extra session called, “Proud to be a Parent.”  When you see how much those parents love their children… why they sacrifice so much… you finally understand (at least I did) the profoundness of the love that your parents have for you.  I don’t think I had ever been so thankful in my life.

As for all the wonderful people I got to share this with.  I love you all… all 90+ of you.  Know that in some way all of you have touched me… because I know I’ve shared a moment with you that means something to me.  I’ve tried to write a song all my life… and never before has it come true.  I’m sure Jon feels the same way.  You’ve all inspired us to write that song.  And I know I mean every single part of it.  I hope to God that we keep it all going, cuz I know the feeling that we might not kick it anymore tears me up inside.  I hope we never pass each other on campus like two ships passing in the night… I hope green year lives on… You’ve all taught me to value my friends and all that I have 10 times more than I already do. I miss you even as I’m typing this… and the boundaries don’t end with spop. That means you too.. all my friends I feel I’ve been neglecting this summer… Take care everyone… I’ve got so much more to say… I know I’m missing something… but, thanks.

I think I’ve said enough.

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