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Ice Station Valencia News
BILLETING - FLO SIEGEL'S EXPERIENCE AS A VALENCIA FLYERS BILLET MOM

As we approach the second half of the Valencia Flyers Jr. A hockey season, the team is currently looking for additional billet families to provide a home for our players. If you've thought about billeting in the past but have felt unsure about what the experience might bring, please take a moment to read the first hand account from Floriane Siegel, one of our beloved billet mom's who has been part of the program for almost two seasons now. She talks about the highs and the lows, but also the everlasting bonds and new family member she has received through the program. If billeting is something you think you might be interested in, please contact Josh Berge at josh@icestation.net for more information.



     "When I was first approached about being a billet family, I was unsure at best. After all, I was a 24 year old newlywed, about to move into a brand new house and begin a new teaching job (and a new daunting commute). Billeting itself was not unfamiliar to me: I had been steadfastly watching my brother in law rise in the hockey ranks since he was 10 years old. My husband and I knew boys travelled or moved for better hockey opportunities, and we knew they needed places to live during the hockey season.
     If I was unsure, my husband was adamant. “No,” he vehemently told me as I began to research billeting further. This was not the time, the place, the situation; the excuses rolled in. But in the end, of course, we welcomed Zach to our family; our first billet kid. Zach helped us move into our new home and was quickly just another member of the family. Was being a billet mom easy every day? It would be a lie to say it was. It was awkward to ask for billet fees or discuss money with a glorified stranger. It was hard to set rules and boundaries for someone who was only five years my junior. But Zach was easy. He didn’t need much. He liked scary movies and making us watch them, no matter how I protested. He ate “Krave” cereal with whole milk. He preferred pie over cake. He never said no to an ice-cream sandwich. He liked watching hockey with my husband, talking on the phone in his room, and playing Xbox. He didn’t know how to sew buttons back onto his shirts and he didn’t do laundry all that often. We adored him. We loved hanging out with him, cleaning up after him, wondering if he had finally remembered to lock the door behind him on his way out. But more than anything, we loved being there for him at a time when he was, largely, alone.
     So you can imagine the shock and sadness we felt when Zach got traded mid-season to Texas. While we knew this was a possibility when we agreed to billeting, we did not expect the sting when it did. We called and kept in touch through a myriad of technological wonders, but we missed him (and miss him still). We were approached by the team to take in another boy, and we wondered if we could do it again: start all over, risk the heartbreak. We did, of course, and we did it doubly this season with our two new billet kids, Chris and Jake.
     Billeting is not for everyone, and the commitment should not be taken lightly. It is one (or two, or three) new people in your house, not for a weekend, but for seven months out of the year. It is celebrating birthdays and holidays, wins and defeats, homesickness and family reunions together. It is trips to the doctor, the rink, and, mainly, the grocery store. It is allowing extra people into your heart, not for just a season, but forever. When I talk to any of my billet kids, I tell them, “You’re family. Family is forever”. There is no doubt where they stand in our lives.
     Let me be clear: billeting is not a way to pay the bills or start a vacation fund. The billet fees barely cover the grocery bill. Billeting is not the same as running a successful “Airbnb”. Becoming a billet family is incredibly rewarding in ways that go far beyond the financial; you form bonds and become a trusted friend and confidant. You gain a whole new family, connecting with their parents back home to ensure that the transition to the billet house is as seamless as possible.
My coworkers and family laugh at me when I talk about “my boys”. I know April will come and the goodbyes will inevitably come with it, but for right now, I’m savoring every moment with my billet kids. This life isn’t for everyone, but for those who choose to delve into billeting, it’s an amazing experience for all involved."
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