The Spinnaker Award

Spinnakeer Award

This is off topic for a blog that focuses on bankruptcy, but it’s something I would like to share anyway. A spinnaker is an extra sail that is hung off the front of a sailing vessel to give it an extra boost, extra speed. It’s easy to understand why the Minnetonka School District has used that as the name for their award for outstanding volunteers.

I was surprised a couple of months ago when I received a notice by email that I was about to receive an award – complete with an actual trophy – for doing volunteer work for the Minnetonka School District. I almost deleted the email, thinking that it was just another scam. I get lots of spam email telling me that I have won an award or some kind of certification, but they almost always want me to pay a few hundred dollars for the honor.

Once it dawned on me that the email was real, I couldn’t think of what volunteer work they were talking about. Up until then, I wasn’t thinking of anything I do as being volunteer work for a school district. My daughter is a music teacher at one of the elementary schools in Minnetonka. About 15 years ago she asked if I would bring my video camera and record one of her school programs. After that I started, at her request, showing up and recording all of them for her. After she became director of one of the school district choirs, I started recording the choir programs too. The kids love to watch a video of themselves. It’s also a teaching tool.

Here’s a short clip of the virtual award ceremony:

I have always had a fairly nice video camera. Fiddling with video has been a hobby of mine. For one thing I needed a decent video camera to make clips for my Youtube channel. I never thought of videoing the school programs and concerts as volunteer work. It was just something I enjoyed doing and something that helped my daughter. She had started off by trying to obtain video which had been taken by some of the parents, but those turned out always to be overly focused on their own child. My daughter knew that I was capable of taking a fairly good video, because when she was a kid I was always there with a camera for her gymnastics events. Taking videos of the school events now that she was a teacher just seemed like a continuation of what I had always done.

My advice for anybody who wants to take a good video of a children’s event: get lots of close up shots of the faces. The kids always love to see themselves. Find a camera that has a good zoom lens and make plenty use of it.