Saturday, May 30, 2015

Our Last Week!

The mission is now finished and the camp is getting ready for guests to arrive. During the last week we completed many tasks that were on the list. At the end we had completed everything that was on the list to complete.

The lower level of the dining hall has a humidity problem, so we installed dehumidifiers and connected them to hoses so they will drain outside. Don made small tables to mount the units on so they would continue to operate and no one would need to empty the containers.

The entrance to the Leadership Lodge was in bad repair and each day I wondered if someone would fall through the old platform at the door. The old platform was removed and a new deck was built and put in place. This not only improves the appearance of the building,but makes it much safer as well.
The cabins in the "Grove" area will be needed this summer, so one of the tasks was to clean and check each cabin to insure it was ready for guests. The windows were washed, curtains washed, mattresses were sanitized and the building was completely cleaned. Preparing for guests is a large task for the camp each year.
The plumbing in the bath house at the groves was repaired and the facility was completely cleaned. The entire building was power washed and then wiped down. The campers should appreciate this when they need to shower after a day of activities.
 A leak in the drain line under the kitchen was discovered and the Don helped remove the old cast iron pipes and make repairs to the facility.

The last day we were on site, a special lunch was prepared for the group.It was Eunis first chance to prepare a meal in the kitchen after the cleaning and renovation work. We appreciated the wonderful meal and the fellowship with the staff of the facility.
The "Thank You" goes both NOMADS we must thank the camp for accommodating us and allowing us to have the privilege of working and staying in such a wonderful place.

Our Thanks to Grant and his family for accommodating use. I am sure the hours he will spend with his family for the next few months will be limited.

Linda and I were the first to arrive and the last to leave. As we traveled home out thought were about how many children would enjoy the camp and have a life changing experience at the camp. At the same time we were wondering where our next mission will take us! It was great to work at the camp, but is is also great to be home.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Our Last Sunday

This will be the last Sunday our team will be on the Pine Creek Project. Normally we worship at the Pine Village UMC, but we had been invited to attend services at the Oxford UMC (a neighboring town) so the team elected to attend the worship at Oxford. The service was interesting and it worked out that we were able to get a table at the restaurant in Pine Village because the service was later so all the other people had eaten and left the restaurant.

 The team consisted of three couples. There were to be five couples, but two cancelled for various reasons. The team members (from left to right) included Bruce and Beck Peterson (Indiana), Don and Lavonne Carlson (Wisconsin) and Lindell and Linda Whitelock (Wisconsin). Linda and Lindell were the team leaders and coordinators for the project.

The campsite is so much improved over the last two years that words can not describe the changes. The grass is cut, leaves cleaned, restrooms and showers functioning, and a very low mosquito population. This is due to the efforts of the camp manager (Grant Crumbaugh) and two volunteers that do a lot of work on the campsite. They are Don and Marilyn McFatridge. Thanks to all for a wonderful experience.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Lot of Work, and A Little Play!

This week continued with its challenges, but the work continued. The cleaning and organizing the kitchen finally was finished on Wednesday afternoon. Now to the dining hall and preparing it for use.

One of the major projects was to upgrade the kitchen sink from a two basin sink to a three basin sink. This required a lot of work, planning and revising plans, plus a few trips to the plumbing supply house.
Installing this sink was a major challenge to get it to fit into the allotted space and match the existing plumbing drains. Bob did an excellent job of working through this part of the project.

Monday was extremely hot and humid, I wonder why these ladies chose to clean the walk in cooler and walk in freezer that day? At least they were cool in their work that day!
The screen door was in very bad repair, so the installation of a new door was in order. Guess what, the new door was 2" wider than the existing opening. A little engineering and a saw blade made it fit!
Some of the base boards had deteriorated and were water damages, so they had to be removed and the old glue stripped off. A paint job was in order for this part of the project.

A cover for one of the exhaust fans was constructed so the opening could be closed during the winter to protect the interior of the dining hall from some of the elements.

On Tuesday night we gathered, fired up the grill and built a campfire. Following a meal that featured Brats, smores and roasted marshmallows were in order. The team enjoyed an evening of fellowship with the Camp Director and his family. Wonderful day to finish a hard day!

More work on the way, but a little excursion is planned for the weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Update on Pine Creek Camp Project

The weekend was very rainy, so much so we thought about trying to contact Noah to see if we should start pairing up the animals for the ark!

The pool was last week and was filled with water this weekend. It should be filtered and treated this week so it will be ready for the campers.

The final step of cleaning the pool was to power wash the liner to remove the last of the debris and grit from the surface. Once the power washing was done, the filling began.

Finishing touches on cleaning the kitchen and painting the areas that had been missed with the previous painting were finished. Now the task of putting everything back in place is next on the list.

One of the projects was to build some "A" frames to be used in team building activities for the campers this summer. The frames will be tied to ropes and then the person standing on the beam will need to maintain balance as the frame moves about.

Before we finished the week, one of the team members had a birthday, so we celebrated her birthday. Fellowship and building relationships is a very important part of NOMADS.

Over the weekend, we made an excursion to Fair Oaks Farms were we toured the swine and dairy facility. Following the tour, we enjoyed a cheese sandwich lunch at the gift shop.

The entire team enjoyed the day very much and recharged their batteries so they can start with the next weeks activities.

Friday, May 15, 2015

First Week at Pine Creek Finished

The first week at Pine Creek is finished and the team has made some accomplishments. There is so much to getting a camp ready for the youth, but we work hard and have a lot of fun along the way.
 Pine Creek is a relatively short distance from Janesville, we were only on the road about 4 hours before arriving at the camp. It was a nice day and we had a smooth trip southeast.  Once we arrived, we started to work on the pool.
Not only was the pool filled with stagnant water and winter debris, the deck area of the pool had to be cleaned as well. The pine needles and pine cones were cleaned away from the pool and the process of starting to pump out the stagnant water began. It took three days to pump the pool then another day to scoop up the leaves and debris before filling the pool. The pool is filling now and and should be filled in three days.

Soon this pool will be filled with smiling childrens faces and not the muck and stagnant water we had to remove.

The kitchen area was also a major project for the first week. Everything was removed from the cabinets, a thorough cleaning and inventory was conducted. The ladies did a great job or cleaning and preparing the kitchen for the upcoming camp season. The Health Department has insisted the 2 basin sink be replaced with a 3 basin sink, so that was accomplished this week as well.

Several small projects such as leveling the steps on some of the cabins, building some recreational equipment, and other small tasks were completed so the work has progressed as well.

The camp does not have golf carts, but has invested in a Gator. It sure makes getting around the 300 acres site, picking up supplies and chasing parts much easier and quicker than in the past. No I have not had the opportunity (or desire) to go "four wheeling" or "mud buggying" with it

Monday, May 11, 2015

Back To Work!

The team all arrived safely this weekend and we are working with people we have  not been on a project with before. One of the couples is on their first mission project, so we are doing all we can to make life a little more enjoyable for them. I has rained all weekend and throughout today. The campsite is more like a mud bog than a campsite! For Mother's Day we attended Pine Village United Methodist Church and followed the service with lunch at the Windy Mill Cafe on main street in Pine Village....nothing fancy but good food!

Our plan was to finish cleaning the pool and start filling it, but things changed with the heavy rainstorms that rolled through. Instead we all convened in the dining hall and began work there. Everything was removed from the kitchen area and the cleaning started. The health department required a 3 basin sink in the kitchen area, but there was a two basin sink so out came the old sink and assembly of the new sink began. Many other small projects were started during the day.

I will  start posting pictures tomorrow, and yes hopefully it will be nicer weather and there will not be rain!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Our Mission....Pine Creek Camp, Pine Village, IN

Our NOMADS mission for the spring of 2015 is Pine Creek Camp located near Pine Village Indiana. As we prepared to leave Wisconsin, I was able to hook and load the trailer with out getting wet, however just as we started to leave  town, the rain started. By the time we were to Beloit the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. We had a very smooth and uneventful ride south on I-39 to El Paso, Il, and traveling east on Illinois State Rout 24 to Gilman, Illinois where we stopped for lunch. Following lunch, we were back on the road and headed to Kentland, Indiana. From there we took US 41 south to Pine Village. We arrived and checked in with Grant Crumbaugh about mid afternoon.

We were very surprised to see the condition of the RV camping area.  Our memories of the previous stay were in our mind, but up on arrival we found the campground clean, the restrooms working, the grass cut and not  mosquetos! It was such a change from what we had experienced in the past we were totally surpirsed and happy the grounds wer in such good shape.

After dinner we simply relaxed and enjoyed the quiteness of the country!

On Thursday I met with Grant and we developed a plan for the balance of the week. Linda and I were to pump the rain water that had collected in the swimming pool over the winter. The pumping was slow and it took two days to get all the water out. While the pumps were running we did some cleaning around the pool area and did some repair work as well. The round table that is used meetings in the Leadership Center was I built some legs so the table could be used.

The only excitement for the first two days on site was the fact that I broke a tooth. My first thought was finding a dentist in a farming community that would be able to get me in would be almost impossible, but as luck would have it a dentist was able to take care of the problem...and in relatively short time after I called.

By Friday afternoon the pool was pumped out, the table repaired, my tooth in good shape, shopping for the week was done and we were waiting for the rest of the crew. However we did have excitement on Friday night. There was a competition on the camp that was similar to an iron man contest, however this one involved walking and completing tasks in the woods, creeks and pond. The competition lasted for 4 hours and certainly created some excitement for Greta.

This weekend will center around greeting the new NOMADS team members, helping them set up, preparing for next week and attending worship services in Pine Village.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Home At Last!

We left  Fort Myers and headed North after completing our project. The first day the back of our RV was clipped by a tractor trailer as we fueled but damage was minimal, so we traveled on to Cecil, GA were we stopped for the night. We stayed in the Cecil Bay RV park and to our surprise we were invited to a fish fry. Even though I had to set up the trailer in rain, the fish was good and there was a great assortment of food...the hush puppies were great. The next morning we took off and had a good driving day with no incidents. We made it to Smyrna, Tennessee were we spent the night at the I-24 RV park. Greta had a great time since the park had a fenced area where dogs could run. She was in competition with a English Bull Dog to chase the ball, but it wore her out so she slept good for the night. All went well until we arrived in Paduach, Ky. We arrived in a torrential rain and setting up was not so much fun, but we did get the chance to visit with my parents. The weather was getting colder as we headed North on Monday. All went well until we reached Bloomington, IL. At that point it was snowing and as we arrived at Rockford the snow had turned to freezing rain, but we made it home without incident. We are now cleaning out the trailer and hoping for warmer weather to arrive soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Week Two Completed

The second week of work at ECHO has been completed and we are now headed into the home stretch. I am still working on the cabinet project and hopefully it will be completed this week. Linda has been doing some painting and some window washing. The team has been working on several tasks and some are now coming to completion.

With the arrival of the "weekend" Linda and I were not only busy with the shopping, laundry, and other house cleaning activities, we hosted the team for a "Wisconsin Night" celebration complete with Wisconsin Cheese and Brats! I also took Greta and walked in the Harry Chapin Hunger walk to raise money for the local food banks. The NOMADS team did not think I would walk, however I did get them to pledge $200 if I made the walk. I did complete the walk, and the team did pay up. We supported the Tice United Methodist Pantry and that church had 40 walkers that raised over $8000 for their pantry.

We are now starting to think of our trek home, but will blog more later this weekend.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

In the Sunshine State!

We are now on the NOMADS project at ECHO and have finished the first week. The weather has been wonderful even though a couple of days the natives were complaining... the morning temperature was 55 which was like summer time to us! We are in a wonderful campground and Linda has been enjoying the swimming pool.
Our site is level and has a nice "patio" where we can relax at the end of the day. We are also located near the laundry facilities and the swimming pool so that makes it even nicer. We are surrounded by campers from Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana, sort of the Midwest Gang. The campground company has a wonderful $3.00 breakfast every Saturday morning which makes it nice!

ECHO is the acronym for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization. This organization is a non profit organization that has developed many ways to provide food for people who are in need. This includes issues relating to sustainable farming in tropical countries as well as urban gardening ideas that can be used by city dwellers every place. The organization has several missionaries in training that will use what they have learned to help people live just a little better in many parts of the world. ECHO has locations in Florida, East Africa, West Africa, and Southeast Asia, the areas where hunger is the greatest problem.

When we arrived we were met by a couple that had worked with us on other projects as well. It is always great to see a familiar face after a long journey!

The NOMADS team consists of 14 members. The team members are from New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Our daily routine is to start each day with a devotion, then proceed to work on our assigned projects. Breaks are taken as a group so we are able to enjoy some fellowship...the spiritual growth opportunities and the fellowship opportunities are just as important as the work we do!

So what are we doing you may ask. Linda has been assigned to do power washing of the facilities. This includes washing buildings, sidewalks and other structures. I am glad she is getting this experience so she can wash our house this summer and not be on me to do it!

One of the houses where the interns live while on site needed more cabinet space in the kitchen, so the first idea was to just add a "lazy Susan" in the corner cabinet. The problem is there was no corner cabinet but a counter top over an open space so the project evolved into building new cabinets for the kitchen. The space was such that standard cabinets would not work and the budget did not allow for the purchase of cabinets from Loews or Home Depot, so I was given material int he shop and told to build something, including making the counter top. This is certainly not going to be a one week activity, I am sure I will be at least another week building the base cabinets for the kitchen.

During our fist weekend we did relax! I took Greta for a couple of long walks in the local forest preserve and she really enjoyed the outdoors. We managed to see the movie Selma, visit a flea market, and observe the matinees, Tonight we will attend a meatloaf dinner at the Tice United Methodist Church.

So far this has been a wonderful trip...lower gas prices, dry pavement, warm weather, we are just hoping the weather up north changes before we have to start back!

Linda:  So far I went swimming 2x even though I am wet most of the day power washing sidewalks and buildings-the green and black mold of Florida is very difficult to remove.  On our days off, we like to go on nature walks and do some exploring.  we did see the movie, SELMA.  Very moving.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Our Georgia Adventure!

New Years Eve was spend in Georgia with friends that Linda knew from the day she taught school in Latin America. Our trusty GPS got us to our trailer park in Cumming, Ga, but the route was very scenic and challenging. At one point our GPS took us in a circle, and we knew that since we saw some of the same sights more than one time. Finally we did arrive at Twin Lakes RV park. It was a nice park with full hookups, but we did have to unhitch so we could go to Steve and Sally Campbell for dinner and the New Years Eve events. We had a very nice dinner with the family and played games afterwards. We did retire early since we would need to make an early start the next morning to complete the next leg of our trip. We knew when midnight came because it sounded like a war zone and Greta really let us know something was going on. The next morning we left early and I am sure everyone was still sleeping in! As luck would have it our trusty GPS took us directly through downtown Atlanta. Glad there was not any traffic. Ironically we did not see any road construction on I-75 certainly a rare event. The evening of New Year's Day we arrived at Ocala North RV Park. We set up the trailer and met some other NOMADS for dinner. We made the decision to spend Friday just relaxing before making the last run to ECHO.

On Our Way!

It is Monday Morning and the weather is cold. The roads are dry and at 5:00 am the trailer is hooked to the truck, everything is loaded. We are off on another adventure. The day was very uneventful and the driving was good. Linda and I managed to make it to Metropolis and visit with my folks before heading across the bridge into Kentucky. It was just turning dark when we arrived at Duck Creek RV Park in Paduach. They had a pull through site and I hooked up the electricity, filled the water tank, and we were in for the night. This was a very nice park so Greta had the chance to go to the dog park and get her exercise. It was very soon after we were able to get into the trailer, it hit! I had the flu and spent most of the night in the bathroom on the porcelain throne!  I was so glad we had a sewer hook up. The next morning getting read to travel on was not very easy.

Tuesday I felt weak and sick all the way, but we did not have a long drive. We traveled from Paduach, KY to Chattanooga, TN. I was really glad to see sign directing us to Mack Smith Drive and the Holiday RV park. Set up the trailer and finally had the courage to eat a meal. Seemed the flu was gone and I was on the road to recovery. After spending the night in Chattanooga, we were on the road again.