A retired elementary and middle school administrator, Candy Spurzem brings years of experience in organizing to her USA IBC role. Spurzem said the volunteer organizers will be utilizing new technology that will help make volunteering easy, efficient and fun.
“We are excited to be utilizing technology that four years ago didn’t even exist to help achieve these goals,” Spurzem said.
“It’s very simple,” she said. “Text USAIBC to 22828 then reply with one’s email address or go to https://www.usaibc.com/support/volunteers/ and sign up. USA IBC is a gem for Mississippi. It makes me proud to live here,” said Spurzem, a Midwest native. “I enjoy getting to meet and know people from all over the world.”
Mary Schiele Scanlon, who is leading the volunteer effort with Spurzem, said there will be a group of capable and experienced USA IBC volunteers assisting as area volunteer coordinators. The coordinators – also Northsiders – and their responsibilities are:
Dorothy Hawkins: Competitor Hospitality, VIP Welcome Baskets, Jury, Coaches Lounge, Jurors Lounge, Faculty Lounge, City Beautification, and Ambassadors (formerly Host Families); Kinshasa Watson: Grand Prix Ball, Pre-Opening Party, Opening Night Party, Sponsors Party, Plaza Activities, Pre-Performance Toast, and Artist’s Reception;
Angie Noble: Production, House, Media, Merchandise, Security, Vendor Fair, and Concessions;
Janet Shearer: Dance School, Medical, Translators, Transportation, Job Fair, Information Desks, and Arts, Lecture and Film Series;
Stacie Sharp: Manager of a new committee focused on the procurement of supplies needed for all volunteer committees;
Scanlon and Spurzem make the perfect team for the massive volunteer effort. “Mary Schiele’s focus is on people and the recruitment of volunteers, while mine is logistics. I love problem solving,” Spurzem said.
Both, of course, love dance. A Mississippi Delta native, Scanlon – who has served as president of Friends of USA IBC – grew up dancing and currently is enrolled in adult ballet classes at Ballet Mississippi. Spurzem says she fell in love with dance when she attended her first USA IBC competition in 2006. She has attended every competition since then.
Besides enjoying the beauty, artistry and athleticism of the competitors, there is another benefit to watching performances, Spurzem said.
“My posture improves every time I go,” she said.
The volunteers are critical to making the USA IBC a success.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the USA IBC,” said Mona Nicholas, executive director. “We invite and value the support of friends and neighbors far and wide who want the USA IBC to succeed.”
Nicholas said Jackson holds high prestige in the international dance community because of the USA IBC’s artistic excellence, integrity in judging and unparalleled hospitality to visitors. “At this year’s competition we will have jurors who once competed here,” Nicholas said. “They have fond memories of their experiences here and want to come back. I think a lot of that is due to our volunteers and the hospitality they show the dancers and patrons who come from all over the world.”
The USA IBC carries on an important cultural tradition that is passed along to a new generation of those who love dance. That role honors those visionaries who brought the first USA IBC to Jackson in June 1979.
“In bringing the USA IBC to the next generations, we want to honor those who founded and led this organization,” Scanlon said.
For more information visit www.usaibc.com.
(photo) Volunteer coordinators include (from left) Dorothy Hawkins, Mary Schiele Scanlon, Candy Spurzem, Janet Shearer, Kinshasa Watson and Stacie Sharp. Not pictured: Angie Noble.