Pi Kappa Phi

Kappa Iota - University of Idaho

Exceptional Leaders. Uncommon Opportunities.

Wonderland Camp

26th-1st

I am having trouble uploading photos, but you can check them out on Flickr. For the pictures that go with this post look for the albums labeled BAM_Day_x_Wonderland_Camp

 https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/abilityexperience/sets/

After visiting some amazing sponsors on the road from North Carolina to Missouri we finally arrived at Wonderland Camp in the evening. We were greeted by Mark, the director of the camp. He took us on a brief tour, showing us what we would be working on throughout the week.

The camp then provided us dinner, and an indoor campfire night began. It was awesome being able to actually interact with campers after Victory Junction where we were more limited. After the campfire we settled into our cabin and headed to bed for a big day of work the next day.

 

The next day we woke up for breakfast with the campers. We actually got to sit with campers during the meal which was pretty fun. We then headed to work. I was assigned to the team that would be striping the rust off of the large pavilion, and painting it. We spent the whole first day striping the paint off of the fence that enclosed the pavilion, it was a lot of work, and we all had sore arms from scrapping rust and paint of the the metal fence.

 

At the end of the day we got some time to hang out with campers. Ryker challenged one of them to a basketball game, which he lost of course, and he had to sing “I’m a little tea pot” for losing. It was pretty funny!

 

The next day was pretty challenging for me. We ended up finishing up the fence, and prepared to paint the pavilion structure the next day. The work was fine, though pretty boring. I found myself struggling with the camper/councilor dynamic. It is a lot harder to get the interaction with campers, because there are so many councilors around already interacting. On Journey of Hope it was so much simpler. Some rest and a new perspective is all I would need though.

 

The following day we made a ton of progress on the pavilion, it was really starting to look like a nice structure again.

 

This was the day of the talent show, and it was a long one. It was great to see the campers get to have fun, and even some of our guys got to participate which was pretty cool. It was pretty long, but worth it.

 

The next day marked our last day of work. We barely had time to finish painting the pavilion, but we did finish! We also were able to participate in the mid-evil festival. I was lucky enough to be in the dragon the camp had built. Of course the good knight defeated us, it was a ton of fun.

 

That night we went to the dance, and it was a blast. The councilor dynamic still made it a little hard, but I just let loose and had a good time!

Camp Victory Junction

19th-23rd 

Our first camp! Camp Victory Junction is perhaps the nicest summer camp I have ever seen, it is like the Disney Land of summer camps! The camp was created by Richard Petty (famous NASCAR driver) after his son passed away at 19 on the track. Every week the camp has a "camper theme" (that's not an official term) this week was Diabetes, so all of the campers had Diabetes. Also, no camper ever pays to attend the camp, it is completely free of charge. 

We arrived at the camp to meet Chad Coletrane (former CEO of the Ability Experiece) who is a Pi Kapp, and also the CEO of the camp. Chad showed us to our lodging, and we got settled in. He took us on a tour of the incredible facility, and showed us the projects we would be working on for the week. 

That's Chad in the red.

That's Chad in the red.

Chad was very emotional, because he has been trying to get the Build America team to Camp Victory Junction for years, but the administrative culture of the camp has not been interested or welcoming. Unfortunately for us this meant that this week would be a little weird, as we were only aloud very very very limited interaction with the campers. The hope is that they will be impressed with us, and next year's team will be able to be more involved. 

Chad cycled Journey of Hope in 1991

Chad cycled Journey of Hope in 1991

We didn't do any work the day we arived, but the next day we started early, clearing goat poop our of the pasture where we would be building one of two horse shelters. Some of the team got started digging 3 foot deep post holes through "North Carolia Clay" and rocks.

Fortunately for me I was tapped along with Marty to start building accessible ramps for the fishing dock. We worked on the ramps for the entire day measuring cutting and planning for the 7 ramps we would be building. 

That evening a group of us went to the Super Dome (an accessible on camp baseball field) to play kickball. It was a ton of fun! 

The next day Marty and I continued to work on assembling the ramps as the team finished up the first horse shelter. About half of the team began the long process of fencing in the 5 acre horse pasture. 

As the ramp team finished up we began setting the posts for the second horse shelter. Some of the holes were not quite in the right spots so we had a lot of digging to get things right. It was interesting learning how to set up posts so that they are square and in line with each other. We ended up turning in early to get ready for the evening.

We showered and headed to dinner which was followed by NASCARnival. NASCARnival was the one time we were permitted to hang out with campers. Richard Petty and his family was present, as well as a number of other VIPs. There were hot air balloons for the campers, and an actual NASCAR team that was demonstrating pit stops. 

There was also a dunk tank that a number of BAM guys enjoyed, getting dunked by eager campers. Notably Basil Lyberg (CEO of the Ability Experience) got dunked at the (not so gentle) request of the team. This whole event was a blast, it was so fun to let lose and have fun! 

The next day I spent the whole day helping out with the second horse shelter. We were able to get everything done except for half of the roof which we would finish the next day. 

Chad took us bowling that night, which was pretty fun, but we were all very tired. We bowled one frame, and then headed to bed as quickly as possible. 

The final day we woke up at 6:15 am in hopes of finishing all of our projects. By noon the horse shelter was complete, and Ryker and I had cleaned the work site for departure, but the majority of the team was still hard at work fencing the trail to the horse pasture. 

We joined up with them at about 4:00 and there was still a lot of work to do. The posts were up, but all of the wire had to be run still. One of the guys got us started running 3 line of wire at once, and it became a disaster. They got tangled together, and it took over an hour to sort things out. We ended up running out of time to run all of the wire, but we got all of the hard work taken care of, and the camp should be able to finish up in less than a day of work. 

We woke up early the next day, said goodbye to Chad, and hit the road to Cincinnati!

BAM Training

*Disclaimer* To set expectations- I will be updating my blog after every camp rather than every day this summer. I'll do my best to make sure that the posts are comprehensive so you all can follow my journey! I hope you enjoy:

I had an amazing week in Arizona at the Media Sales institute, but being there meant that I missed a few days of Build America training.

My red eye flight from Phoenix to Charlotte was not exactly the most wonderful experience. I had a middle seat so sleep did not come easily, and I couldn't stop thinking about leaving my new MSI friends behind in Arizona. 

I arrived at the Charolotte airport at six in the morning, and I could already tell that it was going to be an exhausting day having basically pulled an all nighter.

Derek, the Build America project manager, picked me up from the airport and took me to the teams lodging for training which was at a church. When we arrived the team was still asleep. One of the first people to get up was my chapter brother Blake who is also doing the trip. It was really nice to see a familiar face! 

As everyone began waking up I put my work clothes on and got ready for a day of tool training. We loaded up into the vans and headed to Chris Shade's (who works for Pi Kapp Headquarters) house. We spent the day learning the basics of tool safety, and helped in building a pagoda! It was a fun and productive day, but by the time we left the house for dinner I was more tired than I think I have ever been. We ate dinner at a fast food place called Cookout, and then we headed to the YMCA to shower. Upon returning to lodging I headed to bed, and was asleep within 2 minutes.

The next morning I awoke with the crew and got ready for a day of CPR training at Headquarters. We drove to HQ and received CPR training over Skype from Ryker's mom. It was a strange format for the training, but still very helpful. Hopefully we don't need to use this new knowledge during the trip.

Following training we had some free time, so I went with one of the vans to Walmart to buy toiletries and other essentials that I wouldn't have been able to bring on my flight.

We headed back to HQ and set up the conference room for our kick-off dinner. After the room was set up we had a quick fundraising talk with Spencer for the few people who had signed up late and still have a little fundraising to do. Following the talk we practiced camp songs!

As dinner was about to start VIPs including Mark Timmes (Pi Kapp CEO), Basill Lyburg (Ability Experience CEO), and William Sigmon (National Chaplain) began arriving. For dinner we had delicious BBQ! All of the VIPs spoke some, and we ended with a camp song! 

Once back at lodging we practiced packing the vans. I am on the inventory team, so we had to go to the storage unit to grab some of the final tools that we didn't have yet. Once we were back at lodging it was back to bed to get some rest for our big day tomorrow! Off to Camp Victory Junction!

Thanks for reading,

-Jacob

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