Through gusting wind, spring downpours, and occasional bursts of brilliant sunshine, the Americorp team is helping spiff up Camp Hope for the 2017 camping season. The team of 14 is staying at the camp for six weeks while they work on various projects throughout the community. Once a week, they work at the camp for a full day; on the other days, they plant trees, clean brush, and do a variety of other projects that help strengthen communities and develop their leadership skills.
This team has come together from all over the country. They have already worked in disaster efforts, education opportunities, and environmental services within several communities in the United States. Some of the team members see this as a time to sharpen their skills and learn about other communities, while deciding on their own future path. While Sadie had only been camping one time before this venture, she is reveling in the experience of communing with nature at Camp Hope. The primitive camping cabins took awhile for her to appreciate, but her eyes sparkled as she described her newfound love of living and working outdoors.
Team leader Kirk has been an inspiration to all. It is exciting to watch these young people step into leadership roles and problem solve together. Kirk says his experience at Camp Hope has been excellent, relaxing, and a great time overall. He appreciates that Camp Hope is right on the Lewis River, with the surrounding forest—but still close to town. Working with the kids at the day camp was also a great experience for Kirk. The Americorp team was able to teach the day-campers a few outdoor living skills such as fire building and some survival lessons. They also facilitated stations, such as archery, painting, and interacted with the kids on the Oregon Trail Challenge Course.
Working in teams allows this Americorp team to build a wide range of leadership skills from conflict resolution, trustworthiness, team-building abilities, and taking initiative—or following directions—as the projects dictate. This opportunity is fully funded by the government, and provides a living stipend; however, they hungrily appreciate gifts of pizza provided at some of the camp workdays. They work hard, have fun together, and enjoy relaxing around the campfires at Camp Hope.
Mary Ellen values the adventure of traveling and working with others around the country. She says that working with the kids at the day camp was fun and the Oregon Trail Challenge was a hit with everyone. Mary Ellen was reminded of learning about the Oregon Trail as a child herself and appreciated the opportunity to teach and learn from the kids as they engaged in the challenge course together.
We wish this team well and we are grateful for their efforts at the camp; we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and working alongside them. Best wishes to this wonderful team! Happy trails!