Green Shirts keep Rhinelander School of Arts running
Among the instructors and students who attend School of the Arts at Rhinelander are a group of teens easily identified by their unique uniforms. These are the Green Shirts.
“They are the smiling ambassadors who get everything in place ‘just in time,’” School of the Arts Director Lynn Tarnoff said. “They have one day to do the physical set-up to convert a middle school into an art school for adults, including assisting staff and instructors in unloading carloads of materials and equipment.
“They assist with check-in and helping participants find their way to classes. They act as runners, getting messages and materials to the people who need them. They are ready for whatever questions and needs come up.”
Since 2006 the Green Shirts program, including recruiting its members, has been the responsibility of James Williams Middle School Eighth Grade English teacher Beth Bloom. She normally manages a staff of from four to eight eager workers who have a demanding task before them. “The needs of the community and participants might not be met without the interactions of the Green Shirts,” she said.
“The building and classrooms alone already are a center of learning, but my team arranges the building to the needs of the students and staff of School of the Arts. We arrange the Commons to accommodate hundreds of people who are there to socialize, network, study and, of course, eat. We set up the gymnasium to display the work of the students and staff so that the community can come in and learn what is possible given this learning opportunity. We do what is necessary to adjust classroom spaces and project lab spaces to make them the right environment for learning according to the needs of the instructors and students.”
Most of the duties performed by the Green Shirts require close interaction and personal contact with the school’s attendees.
“Being available and ready to help anyone who needs the assistance is the most significant role my team plays during the experience,” Bloom said. “Whether that’s helping a staff member find a local windshield replacement company, directing participants to eating establishments in the area, accepting an impromptu request to be a model for a drawing class or simply cleaning up the after-effects of a particularly enthusiastic art class, their smiling, eager willingness to help is a major role in what keeps the program running year after year.”
Bloom and her Green Shirts will be on the job Friday, July 18, through Wednesday, July 23, when the 51st School of the Arts at Rhinelander brings some 60 instructors and 250 students to James Williams Middle School and Rhinelander High School classrooms. Information about School of the Arts at Rhinelander is available at soawisconsin.org or 608-262-2451.
“Our Green Shirts are there to support the program in any way necessary,” Bloom said.