Camp Victory Junction
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.
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.
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!