The Great Ice Cream Volunteering Adventure

3 Reasons Why Students at Roger Rowe Elementary are Awesome

“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” -Julius Caesar


About a month ago I received an email for volunteer positions on May 22nd for our kids’ Field Day at Rancho Santa Fe Elementary School. I had been wondering “Where can I volunteer?” ever since I moved to California, so this email really interested me.  One of the positions was running the ice cream machine during a two hour block so I called a friend of mine, who is also a mom at the school, and asked if she would like to volunteer with me. There were only two slots available, and she said yes but only if I would definitely be there. I assured her that it would be a great time, and if anything, I joked, the ice cream machine would malfunction in the best way possible, giving us a few extra ice cream cones. She laughed and agreed; so we both signed up!

I got to school right about 10 o’clock that morning to volunteer, and I parked in the dirt parking lot beside the school, in the last spot available! Well, there were four spots open, but usually in Rancho Santa Fe there are a few people that like to park their Porsche or Range Rover a little crooked, taking up a couple of parking spaces; so the adjacent spots were just a little too tight. Nonetheless, I felt lucky for finding a spot at all, parked, and made my way to the field. What I saw next was complete madness.


The ice cream table had a crowd of kids behind it, and a handful of volunteers. All the kids had their money out wanting to order and pay, and there was one ice cream machine (from Rancho Sandwich, Yum!). Since it was not the warmest day in May, the ice cream machine decided to freeze up every 10 minutes or so, and the kids were all getting very impatient while the volunteers were trying to stay calm. I could tell things could get out of hand at any moment, and I felt like I needed to take action. I jumped-in to “police the line” and pointed to a yellow line on the pavement, telling everyone they needed to be in single file behind that line to get any ice cream. Some people had been waiting for over 20 minutes already, but the ice cream machine was not working correctly (definitely not the malfunction my friend and I were hoping for!) and there was nothing we could do but wait for the ice cream to unfreeze. I tried my hardest to manage expectations of all of the students, and I also learned a LOT about Roger Rowe children. Here are the three biggest things I learned while volunteering during Field Day this year:


1. Roger Rowe students are patient, when you ask them and explain “why”. I counted one minute for each student, and I walked down the line saying, “16 minutes, 17 minutes, 18 minutes,” as I tapped the students on the shoulders. They had so much determination for the ice cream that they didn’t even complain! They would get so excited when I would count again and they would be at 3 or 4 minutes finally!

2. Roger Rowe students are flexible when properly motivated. Every few minutes the menu would change during the ice cream machine meltdown (or should I say non-meltdown?!) First the chocolate would freeze, then the vanilla, so we were constantly running out of options. This did bum some kids out who were waiting for just one certain flavor, but overall most students were extremely flexible and happy just to be getting ice cream! When they finally got their cup or cone, they all had huge smiles on their faces!


3. Roger Rowe students are fair, when they are held accountable. When I told students they couldn’t buy ice cream for a friend who had just walked up next to them, because that would be like cutting the line, they agreed and listened. They respected the fact that there needed to be order and fairness in the ice cream line and that they couldn’t just buy 10 cones for their friends who had just come “out of nowhere” giving them money. One fourth or fifth grader ran up and tried to order quickly, cutting everyone. I explained to him that he needed to go to the back of the line and he protested, saying he had just been there at the front of the line a minute ago. “I just walked away for a minute!! Come on!!” he said. I glanced over at the line, then back and him, and I asked him what he thought I should tell the rest of the line if I let him stay in the front and order right now. I truly wanted to get a perspective of his thinking, and what he said next really surprised me! “Ok, that’s fair,” he agreed! He decided not to wait in line, but he thought it through and honored the rest of his classmates.


It was a somewhat stressful volunteering position, but what I learned last Friday is that students at Roger Rowe Elementary have good hearts, intelligent minds, and determined souls! I am proud to be a mom of a Rancho Santa Fe student, and I would volunteer for the ice cream position again next year…maybe! Go Eagles; keep up the good attitudes!

Have you ever wondered “Where can I volunteer?” Did you volunteer somewhere? Was it stressful or fun? I would love to hear your story!



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Amanda Henry
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Amanda Henry is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, photographer, web designer, mom, and freelance blogger living the luxury and active lifestyle in San Diego.