Larry Rodman: Doing Well by Doing Good
Wednesday, April 18th 2012
taken from the internal Monster.com newsletter
Larry Rodman: Doing Well by Doing Good
Title: Associate Manager, Help Desk
Location: Maynard, Mass.
April 18, 2012
This August, Larry Rodman will volunteer at Manitou Experience, a one-week summer camp for boys who have experienced a significant death-loss. The goal is to normalize the grief process and facilitate healthy integration of loss through peer support in a safe and nurturing environment. In this Q&A, Larry shares with us more about what he does there and what it means to him and the boys at the camp.
First, can you tell us a little about your role at Monster?
As associate manager, Help Desk, I help manage the relationships with our internal partners, such as Global Customer Service, Development, and Product. I also maintain a close relationship with the team in Milwaukee as I help with the annual password change process to make certain that Monster is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. The Product Help Desk is a very small team so we all work closely together to recreate issues and ensure that Development has the information needed to resolve issues. When Jennifer Anderson, the senior director of information systems, is out of the office I am her back-up.
Turning to your work with Manitou Experience, can you tell us what first prompted you to get involved and how you went about it?
One thing I have learned from working with Manitou Experience is that people are almost always willing to help with a cause, if they are asked. I went to summer camp at Camp Manitou in Oakland, Me. The current owners are former campers, and they decided to start Manitou Experience on the grounds of Camp Manitou to provide an opportunity for boys who have experienced a significant loss to meet, share and learn from others who are going through the same experience. Camp Manitou has a strong, closely connected alumni network, and when the alumni director asked me to participate, I said yes.
How many years have you been working with the Manitou Experience?
This summer will be my third year being at Manitou Experience.
What specifically do you do while you’re there?
My specialty is cooking the final banquet. I compete in Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) contests, and I use my skills to create a BBQ meal for the kids. The first year, I made pulled pork, slaw, and sweet beans. Last year, I added brisket and burnt ends to the mix. This year, I am planning on adding smoked sausage to the mix. When not cooking the final banquet (48 hours from prep beginning to serving), I assist the other volunteer chefs with their meals. I also keep the kids entertained with my singing of the classic song “My Name Is Larry” by Larry “Wildman” Fisher and by trying to set the distance record on the pudding slide. (This is a very long slide that is made slick with 400-plus pounds of pudding.) I also help out wherever and whenever I am needed.
What one memory stands out most for you regarding your work with this organization?
There are two memories that come to the forefront when I think about Manitou Experience. My first year, I was talking to one of the campers, and he said “I used to have a lot of friends. Then my Dad died, and no one could relate to me or understand what I was going through. Then I came here, and everyone understood. I no longer felt alone. I have friends again.”
The other memory occurred last summer. It was the morning after the final banquet, and the kids were getting ready to leave. One of the mothers was early so she and I sat on a couple of chairs, and she talked about what the camp meant to her. For her, it was a lifeline. It was something that her son could look forward to each year. Since her husband passed away she had struggled with having male role models for her son. He had them at camp. She said that after her husband died, her son never shared with her. He never opened up with her about his feelings. She had been worried about him. Now he shared. He talked about losing his father and what he goes through. They had gotten closer than ever before. The camp also created something called Jeff’s Place, which is an extension of the Manitou Experience year round. Through this, her son is able to continue through his grieving process. Needless to say, it was an emotional and rewarding conversation. Getting to spend time with these boys inspires me and makes me a better parent to my sons.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with employees about your involvement?
When someone dies, the grieving process does not end at the funeral. Kids going through the process often feel isolated and alone, and they often think that life will never be happy again. The fact that I can have an impact on these boys’ lives with my meager contribution is humbling. My life is far richer for getting to know them and to simply be there for them. The joy I see on their faces, knowing the adversity they have gone through, is simply overwhelming. The truly incredible thing is that I get to experience this simply because someone asked, and I said yes. Do not wait to be asked. Go out and find your own experience. It is well worth it.