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Rock the Red Kettle

In one iconic scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" James Stewart is downtrodden as he walks through the snow but he takes the time to nod his cap at the bell ringer and put a coin in the red kettle. Most people know that the red kettle is raising money for charity and according to The Salvation Army, "millions of dollars are donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless, in keeping with the spirit of the season." Although the kettle may be its most noticeable symbol, The Salvation Army has a long and interesting history.

In 1852, William Booth began his evangelistic preaching in the streets of London. Quickly losing favor with the established church fathers, he withdrew from the church, and joining with his wife, Catherine, set up a tent in a Quaker graveyard to convert the poor in the East End of London. Since many of Booth's converts were former thieves, gamblers and prostitutes they were not exactly welcome in the churches of London, even when as converts they were seeking further spiritual guidance. So Booth, basically challenged his followers to save others like he had saved them. By 1874 his organization had 1000 volunteers and 42 evangelists and Booth assumed the title of general superintendent with his followers calling him "General." The "Hallelujah Army," as his group was dubbed, spread out all over London and then to other cities. In 1878 a printer wrote about the group saying, "The Christian Mission is a volunteer army." Booth scratched the word volunteer and wrote "Salvation" and the name was born.

Today, The Salvation Army has operations in virtually every corner of the world and serves over 30 million people annually. In addition to the Christmas services that are so well known, the organization seems to touch almost every need around the globe, whether it be youth and recreation centers, working with communities after a natural disaster, helping people with drug and alcohol problems rebuild their lives in addition to offering many services for the elderly.

Needless to say, The Salvation Army cannot do its charitable work without fund raising and the iconic red kettles cannot bring in enough. The organization has a host of ways you can help, so visit their website to see how you might help. But in meantime, in the next few days when you walk by a red kettle, remember all the good work that the organization has done for 160 years and drop in as much as you can spare.

Competitive Drill/The Psychology of Drill Series
Part 1 Competitive Psychology: Yerkes-Dodson Law

The graph above displays Yerkes-Dodson Law, which is a model of arousal and its relationship to performance on a difficult or complex task. Arousal, in this case, refers to energy levels and levels of emotion (angry, happy, ecstatic, sad, embarrassed, worried, etc.). Performance refers to how well someone does at a particular difficult task. In this entry, the difficult task is exhibition drill.

The graph shows that low arousal leads to low performance. If you're really drowsy, you're probably not going to be a very sharp driller at that moment. At the other end of the spectrum, the graph shows that really high arousal ALSO leads to low performance. If your mind is off worrying about the next bill you have to pay, or the next test you have to take, you're not likely to be fully engaged, and your performance will subsequently decline. So, according to this graph, mid-range energy and mid-range emotional involvement is best for a performance.

When teaching a drill team, it's your job to monitor each individual's level of arousal if you want them to perform better. If someone isn't performing well, find out whether it's a practice issue, or an arousal issue.

If you know the person can perform well, and believe it's an arousal issue, you can work with that. If their arousal is too low (they're drowsy and disengaged), send them on a quick run. A higher heart rate may just wake them up. If their arousal level is too high, you can do things to help. First assess why their arousal levels are so high. Arousal levels spike when someone yells at you, when an audience is watching (performance anxiety), when you're worried about disappointing someone (like the coach or your team), or when you learn a new and dangerous trick. The problem with their arousal level might be related to an increase of pressure, especially if they're performing a trick they haven't mastered. Instead of yelling at a cadet if they mess up during practice, try to manipulate their arousal.

When creating sequences, be sure to challenge each individual at an appropriate level. As the team gets better, difficult moves will induce less arousal, which may mean decreased performance. If you're good, you can time this curve to happen just before competition. The extra pressure and audience will up their arousal to the appropriate level to maximize their performance. In layman's terms, practice hard enough to undershoot the teams actual skill level just before competition so that they nail their performance because of the extra pressure.

As always with psychology, there will be exceptions. The most important thing is to know your team. You can't always assess why a person isn't performing at their peak (the issue may be very private to them), so it's important to know your team well and move forward with a reasonable amount of caution.

Adam Jeup has been an active driller for 8 years. Most recently, he's competed 4 times at IWDC. Adam Jeup currently owns and operates Independent Drill, a learning resource for drillers of all skill levels. Stay tuned to the Bugler for more exclusive articles from Adam on competitive drill!

Happy Holidays to All!

To our troops serving and protecting us here at home and overseas, we wish you peace, a safe and successful stay, and a return home soon to the families who wait for you and from your fellow Americans who are profoundly grateful for all you do.

We thank you all for another great year at Glendale ParadeStore.com! We truly enjoy working with the nicest and most dedicated customers who inspire us to do our best to serve you! We look forward to connecting with you in 2013.

All of us at Glendale Paradestore.com - Joe, Marilyn, Michele, Paula, Barb, Irene, Pauline, Lynne, Mark, Cheryl, Rich, Michelle, Shaji, Joel, Ed, and Chris - send all of you our warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season and a healthy new year.

Glendale and ParadeStore.com

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