In the spring of 2008, the Madison Scouts continued to face an uphill battle to recruit and retain high-quality male color guard members in a area dominated by females and in an activity where most units are now co-ed.
“The evolution of color guard in drum corps was really very evident in the late 70s and into the 80s,” said Chris Komnick, Scouts Executive Director. “For a male guard member, the options were limited to only a few corps. The Madison Scouts had developed a premier color guard program and even won the color guard title in 1983. But since that time, more and more corps began welcoming male color guard members into their units, effectively thinning the ranks of available male guard talent.”
Recognizing the need to strengthen the guard program, Scouts guard alumnus Mike Anello (82-83) conceived the idea of the Color Guard Fellowship. Recruiting fellow guard alums Chuck Henson (81-84) and Rich Rodes (85-88), the Fellowship set forth to re-engage guard alumni from all eras and raise scholarship funds for incoming guard members.
“The Fellowship has been a very powerful recruiting tool,” stated Dann Petersen, corps director. “We have been able to effectively capture more talent into our program and attract some highly skilled instructors in the process. Since the start of the Fellowship, our guard program has steadily increased in its competitive placement.”
Since its inception, the Fellowship has raised and awarded over $40,000 in tuition scholarships for color guard members. But the support has gone well beyond the scholarship program alone.
“Recently alumnus Kurt Wouters (85, 87, 88), a United Airlines employee, helped obtain discounted flight passes for three new recruits flying in from Florida,” says Petersen. “Then when their flights got cancelled on the way home, Kurt then got them booked into the airport hotel and reschedule for a morning flight. Kurt single-handedly turned a parent’s nightmare into a representation of how Madison Scouts take care of their own.”
Alumnus and former caption head Chad Duggan (86-89) continues to provide his support to the color guard and the Fellowship. Each year his company, Dance Sophisticates, designs and produces the color guard costume. “Chad donates his design time and helps keep productions costs to a minimum,” stated Komnick. “His contributions each year are significant.”
At the recent 2012 WGI Championships, the Madison Scouts held an alumni reception at the Dayton Marriott. “It was a chance to celebrate our past success and support our future,” says Komnick. “Dozens of guard members and instructors from several decades gather to reunite and share stories well into the night. It was quite a sight to see so many of the most influential players in the color guard activity all gathered in one place. Everyone had a great time and we will definitely do this again next year.”
The Madison Scouts Color Guard Fellowship is a program that offers scholarships to new and returning guard members in an effort to grow the program and help those most deserving of financial assistance. This past week, 10 new scholarship were awarded to recently contracted color guard members.
We ask for your continued support by contributing to the Fellowship. Donations can be made securely online at www.MadisonGear.com
Or by sending a check to:
Attn: Color Guard Fellowship
2935 S. Fish Hatchery Rd #401
Madison, WI 53711