Week Two

Week two has come and gone and we’re expecting our next group of volunteers to show up within the next two hours.  This week, we’ve got a group coming from North Carolina (again) and a group flying in from California. It’s also the week that I’m flying home for the weekend to see my family and my girlfriend.

It's been that kind of a week.
It’s been that kind of a week.

Before getting into week three, though, I wanted to reflect a little bit on week two.

It was great. I loved week two. I had a group of volunteers that I knew from last summer, when they were in Tazewell. The other group was an ASP powerhouse from the coast of NC. Both were awesome to get to know and spend time with.

But more on that in a minute. I figure I should start with the painted nails and finger brace.

I had a bottle jack (think a car jack, but bigger, and used to hold up houses) accidentally thrown on my hand on Tuesday, and I spent a few hours thinking that my hand was either broken or fractured or something like that.

It wasn’t, thankfully. Just severely bruised and still sore when I put pressure on it. So I’m still wearing the finger brace, occasionally. A group leader who is a nurse practitioner advised me to wean myself off the brace (keep it on when loading and lifting, take it off for sleeping and office work, that sort of thing), so we’re working on it.

My fingernails were painted because of fundraising. To encourage fundraising (because we want to do more work, and ASP has a limited budget as a nonprofit), we set challenges for ourselves as staff. When volunteers hit a certain level, we do the challenge. My “lowest” challenge was getting my fingernails painted. So. Yup.

_DSC0108We had an awesome picnic this week. Every week, ASP centers host a picnic so that all the volunteers and all the families that we’re serving can come together to eat and spend time with each other.

Usually, you get a few families to come, especially if they have kids. This week, though, we had all eight of the families that we were serving show up.

_DSC0109 It was awesome. The volunteers hung out with families that they weren’t serving each day, the families hung out with each other, and nobody got a surprise pie in the face, like I did last week.

Last year on staff, I never had all the families show up for a picnic. Kate said that she had never seen it happen, either.

It was a really cool experience. Seeing the bonds that ASP makes when it comes into a community is awesome, and having everyone at the picnic together was a tangible way to see that. I can’t wait to see what ASP can continue to do in this community, especially acting in partnership with other community groups.

And of course, last week was incredible because I got to get even closer with some old friends from last summer. A few group leaders and youth volunteers that I knew from last summer came back (I don’t think they’re following me, but it’s possible, I guess…)

One of the work crews from the church I had last year. I love these guys.

They’re a group all the way from northern Illinois. I think it’s awesome that groups come from that far away (which is why this California group has me so excited) to work in the mountains. It was really great getting to spend more time with them and form relationships with some of the people I missed out on from last year.

A few of the youth from that church want to try and be on staff next year. “Recruiting” people like that is one of the coolest parts about staff.

Anyway. The volunteers are getting here soon. This week is going to be exciting — we’ve got a reporter coming to hang out with us on Tuesday, I get to travel at the end of the week, and we have twelve work crews. Twice as many as we started with. It’s going to be hectic and crazy and incredible and I can’t wait to see how it goes.

_DSC0040And, of course, I can’t not talk about the dogs. There were dogs this week. They were cute. Look at this dog right here. Look at him He’s adorable. Like. Seriously adorable. He nips on my hand when he sees me and gets excited to hang out with volunteers. He’s just the best.

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