Their day starts bright and early, often as early as 5:30 AM. They do most of the running around, finding the needed items and doing the odd jobs at the National Conference. They work 12 to 18 hour days. They arrived long before the rest of the staff and will leave long after the participants go home.
They are the members of Nischia Chuppecat Lodge #212, the service lodge for the 2002 NOAC.
So what does the service lodge actually do?
Just about everything.
In their office, there is a large, white status board that tracks the service lodge’s daily tasks, and the tasks are many.Some of the service lodge members are runners who carry papers and other items to trainers to help them in their presentations. Others help set up and take down the booths and other facilities scattered across the conference. Some members provide water and supplies to areas all over NOAC. Their responsibilities help to make a better conference.
The typical workday starts before sunup when Nathan, the lodge chief, and other key lodge members arrive at their office in the Georgian Room in the IMU. Since the staffers received their assignments the night before, everyone knows what they have to do.
There are basic duties that need to be taken care of everyday, such as delivering the newspaper. After the basic jobs are done, the service lodge has a list of jobs it needs to accomplish. This list can run 12 pages long, but the tasks usually are completed before lunch. After that, the service lodge does other jobs, such as helping to set up the stage for the evening shows.
As if these jobs aren’t enough, calls come in hourly requiring Nischia Chuppecat's help. More than half of these calls are requests for things that must be located and transported. These calls are handled in the order they are received.
On one typical day, the service lodge will find mouse traps for the camping and high adventure committee, paper cups for administrative services, cotton twine for competition and recreation, a bulletin board for American Indian events, and paper for the communications committee.
The service lodge does all the small things that need to get done to make NOAC possible. It may be a big job, but Nischia Chuppecat Lodge is up to it.