We have been back a couple days and have had some time to process our trip and think back to everything we experienced. Gathering a group of college students, providing them with food and transportation, chauffeuring them down to Oregon and then making sure they have a great volunteer experience building a house for Habitat was quite the adventure.
The group of students who accompanied us down to Sisters OR was very diverse. Over the past three months students joined the team and several of them left the team. The Friday before we left we actually had to call and add two final members to the roster. With all this, the group of students we took with us on the trip turned out to be a wonderful team. They all got along, and most of them had the same interests. When they had free time they hung around together playing games, watching movies, and enjoying each other. They were on time for all the events and represented the college very well.
The experience of volunteering to build a Habitat House was very rewarding. We worked very hard and each night I was pooped. Mornings came very early and my old muscles ached. But the work was challenging and the people we worked with were top notch. We grew to respect each of the individuals who give of their time to help build these houses. They built with pride and without complaint and they were so patient with our students. They treated our students like royalty and provided dinners, lunches, break snacks and even bicycles to ride while we were there. It was an experience beyond our greatest expectations.
Would I do it again? Yes, with a little caveat. I would work on a Habitat House as a volunteer in a heartbeat. In fact when we retire Linda and I will probably start volunteering on Habitat houses. I would prefer to not have the responsibility of gathering the group, transporting them and making sure they had everything they need. If I could separate the two jobs, that would work best. Take a group and not work on the house, or work on the house and not take a big group, which would be my preference. It was just too much to do both; it has taken two days to get back to almost normal.
We worried about how the students would view the experience. We regret that we didn’t have time for the students to process the experience as a group. It seemed that whenever we were going to talk about the journals or the days experience then we had something that interfered. Our only feedback has been a few comments from the group, a couple posts on facebook and their home made thank you note. From all that we think they all had a great experience. This made us feel real good and was a great conclusion to our adventure.