Volunteers in the Spotlight:
September's Reel People
Can you imagine sitting down to view more than 1,000 film shorts? Connie Peterson can and has. The project took about a year and a half, meeting with Iris Newson and Craig Fraiser once a week for three hours. This project was bravely undertaken to determine which films should be transferred to DVD and kept as part of the Film Societys lending library. I can't even begin to share the sights we saw on some of these tapes, nor the sights you would have witnessed watching us! It was lots of fun and a great experience, says Connie.
Connie resides in Lewes and has been volunteering with the Film Society since 2005. She says, I have no idea how many hours I volunteer annually. Wendi calls and I show up! I'm only too happy to help in any way I can because I truly believe in and support the Film Society and I don't ever want it to disappear.
Besides Connies private shorts-athon with Iris and Craig, her behind the scenes volunteering includes: Folding Machine Mechanic, Newsletter Mailer, Festival T-Shirt Folder, Inventory Counter, Film Society Office Mover, Poster Distributor, and Tent Breaker-Downer J.
But you may have actually met Connie volunteering as the Information Booth Coordinator at the Festival (in this important role, she ensures the Film Society makes a good first impression on people who walk into the tent), as a speaker on behalf of the Film Society Outreach Committee, as an event Bartender, or Ticket Distributor.
When she is not watching films or volunteering with the Film Society, Connie also serves Read Aloud Delaware, delivers for Meals on Wheels, is active with her Homeowners Association, belongs to several book clubs, plays canasta and lots and lots of bridge and travels as often as she can. Connie says, I love retirement, Lewes, the beach, and of course, movies.
Retirement?? This all sounds like several full-time jobs. Thank you, Connie, for including Rehoboth Beach Film Society in your amazing, fun and philanthropic retirement!
All it took was one event with the infamous John Waters for super volunteer/past board executive, James Gardner, to be hooked. James started volunteering with the Film Society in 1999.
Like many of our 500+ volunteers, James is a local, residing in Rehoboth Beach, DE, after defecting from Lewes several years ago.
James says he volunteers just a few hours a year during setup at the Festival. That would be James being modest. In reality, he is The Phone Guy, The Power Guy and in a pinch, The Busboy. But his contribution is far greater than that. As the Phone and Power Guy, he ensures that the thousands of people who attend the Festival each year are able to enjoy themselves in The Big Tent, buy tickets with their credit cards, and eat delicious hot meals from our exclusive food vendors. The versatile James has also been known to walk softly while carrying a big clipboard as a Line Captain for Ticket Sales at the Festival. Everyone who has attended the Festival knows how critical that position is, and how lost we would be without people of James caliber to manage sales. You may have also seen James at the Membership table, bartending, or, muttering quietly to himself after too many hours performing any of these jobs.
Executive Director, Sue Early says, James is a behind the scenes type of volunteer who will assist wherever needed. With an engineering background, he is a great problem-solver with very creative solutions. His theme -painted cans filled with stones to serve as line dividers will long be remembered, especially by those who had to clean up those stones every time they fell over! James is a very resourceful person. If we need something, he finds a way to get it, and of course, we don't ask any questions.
James has many stories to tell about working with all of the interesting Film Society members, board members and general public who have come to the Festival over the years. James says everyone hes met has taught him something: Rob Rector, who taught me how to be a Board of Directors member, Sue Early, who taught me how to volunteer, Glen Bowman who taught me how to appreciate film and Sara McCraw, my partner in volunteering and in life, who coordinates the Childrens Cinema Corner during the Festival. But there were many others too: Barry, Mariah, Joe, Katie.. Okay, James, we get the picture. It takes a village, but this is about you! So mostly, James says he would like the community of film lovers to hold on to the Festival energy year-round. We couldnt agree more James!
In his non-Film Society life, James is the Chief Engineer and Manager of Distribution Automation at Delaware Electric Cooperative. As an almost 20 year veteran with the organization, James has served on an international electrical engineering committee that is responsible for writing standards and guidelines for electrical transformers.
James is also a rabid Clemson fan, traveling to several football and basketball games each year. Besides runs to South Carolina to feed his sports addiction, James also manages to find time to travel elsewhere including a six-day Grand Canyon rafting trip with Sara last spring, which he says everyone should do once!
So when you are in The Big Tent at the Festival with lights, food, heaters and holding tickets to films you cant wait to see, think of James, and the other hundreds of Film Society volunteers without whom, none of us would be enjoying evocative, independent film in such a welcoming, community atmosphere.