Some random thoughts in summary:
We decided even before we got back home that we'd definitely like to go back again next year. Even if the Synod doesn't arrange a trip, we can just reserve spots for ourselves at Camp Victor. Or perhaps some of our friends from Trinity will want to go along next winter.
In fact, I was thinking as we were leaving there that I could have easily just stayed to continue working (except for the small matter of having to get back to running a business). During the week, I had a good many ideas from a data and logistical standpoint, that I wouldn't mind working with the folks on. Things like the way information on each project is passed along to the crews, especially since the crews always change each week. We really felt like we wasted a lot of time in the first few mornings, not knowing exactly what needed done and what tools and equipment to gather. I think it wouldn't be too difficult to set something up on the computer to give the projects more continuity with changing crews.
We actually liked that we didn't know anyone else on the trip. It meant that we were able to make some good new friends. We noticed with groups like the people from Sarver who rode the bus with us, that they were all on the same work crew all week, and rode together in a van all week, and rode down and back together. While I'm sure there's something to be said for all that bonding, we decided that we liked our situation better, and even if next time we go down with a group from Trinity, we'll suggest that we split up for the work days at least. That way we can meet new people, but then we can also do things with our friends and all have different experiences to discuss with each other.
Having said that, and since we didn't know anyone, we liked the way the teams were formed early in the week, and stayed together throughout the week. We talked about that at the Mocha Moose with Frank and Duane, how on Tuesday at Leslie's house, none of us knew each other's names or backgrounds, but by the end of the week we were pretty close friends. Now we're looking forward to the "reunion dinner" on March 4, so we can see each other again.
Other than the logistical problems I mentioned above, the only negative comment I have is that I was disappointed that the camp was using all disposable plastic, paper, and styrofoam "dishes" and "silverware". It could be that someone had already analyzed that previously and determined that the kitchen volunteers couldn't be expected to put dishes through a dishwasher in addition to their cooking and serving duties. Also I presume these supplies have been donated, and that's hard to turn away. But still, the amount of garbage created by 200 people every day is pretty amazing, and I think it could easily be reduced. It seems to me this would be especially important in an area which is generating mountains of garbage just cleaning out all the houses and debris. It bothered me a lot to contribute to it.
BUT overall, we had a very positive experience, and we would (and do every chance we get) recommend it to everyone.
One thought on “Let me sum up…”
I am from about an hour north of the coast and spent a good deal of last year providing crisis counseling to victims of Katrina. I just wanted to say a heart felt thank you for your willingness to volunteer on the coast. Its going to take a lot of time for the coast to rebuild and heal as well as a lot of people with hearts as big as yours. So, thanks!!