To sum it up, it was awesome! For those of you who didn't read my blog about how I got asked to go, click here.
Saturday, the 2nd of August, Jeff dropped me off at the First United Methodist Church. We loaded the van up, and headed down I-75 to Port Huron. We crossed into Canada without much ado, but when we crossed back in to the US in New York, they grilled us! They wanted to know everything, and questioned the girls if they wanted to be there or not? It's understandable, but it was highly annoying especially when they said we should have had our permission forms notarized!
We arrived in Chestertown about 4/4:30 PM on Sunday. I, having no idea what to expect really, went along with the flow. We were the 2nd group to arrive and the smallest. We set our luggage in the luggage room and then set up our air mattresses in the sleeping room. I felt unorganized all week, just because I had stuff in two rooms. Way too inefficient for me! But, I managed.
Our showers were in the fire house, about 100 yards away from the church we were staying in. So, everyday when we loaded up for our work sites, we had to take our shower bags because we would be dropped off at the showers right after working. I needed a bigger shower bag, but again, I managed.
The work we did for others was great! It's such a good feeling to do something for someone else, expecting nothing in return.
Each day we'd work from 9 AM to about 2:30 PM, depending if we had dinner set up or dinner clean up. We got to leave a little earlier if we had either of those.
Monday and Tuesday, we scraped, sanded, stained and painted (touch up work) for this elderly woman whose husband recently passed away, and she was taking care of her son, who has a broken neck. Our crew also cleaned out metal, glass and brush from the woods around her house.
Our crew consisted of Paul and I, our girls, Hannah, Kyrie and Megan, Travis from Massachusetts (an adult leader), two girls from Connecticut and 4 boys also from Massachusetts.
Wednesday, we stayed at the church facility because the brakes had gone out in the church van, and painted the dining room and office. That was fun!
Thursday, we got to go out on this amazing trail and make water bars. Then we hiked up to a nearby lake (13th Lake is the official name of the lake) and had lunch. We hung out for a few minutes after eating then hiked all the way back, which was roughly 2 miles.
Each evening there were activities for us too. Monday was a 4 mile hike to Palmer Pond! And hike it was! It was no easy, schmeezy hike! It was hilly and rocky! Fun but what a work out!!!
Tuesday evening we got to go on this amazing train ride along the Hudson River. Beautiful!
Wednesday was a campfire at Ray's house. Ray let Youth Works store the paint in his shed needed for all the projects; he played music for us on the train ride and we had our campfire there. We played volley ball and sang songs. It was amazing!
Thursday was the community cook out at the church facility. We invited all the community to come for the cookout. Several people showed up including Ray and others that projects were done for by other crews during the week.
Friday morning, we got up, packed up, cleaned up and loaded up and were on the road by 9 AMish. (The van was done Thursday afternoon.) We had dinner in Niagara Falls at the Hard Rock Cafe and got to see the Falls a bit. We hit Port Huron right about midnight, stayed the night there and headed home after sleeping in on Saturday. We got home about 5 PM Saturday evening.
The whole trip was amazing. Our digital camera died, but Paul bought us all disposable cameras, so as soon as I get the photos developed, I will post some pics. Also, I hope to get some from the other girls on the trip as well.
It was a great bonding experience, especially between the girls and I. They will now be a regular part of our game nights, as will Paul and Lisa. I learned 3 new games while on the trip; Speed Uno, Speed Scrabble and Egyptian Rat Screw (which we call Egyptian War for obvious reasons). So far, Speed Scrabble is the favorite new game amongst the family members.
This is definitely a trip I would do again. I'm thinking about checking it out for our youth group for next year.
Other awesome things gained from the trip are: "Wicked ___________!" (Fill in the blank with awesome, sweet or other descriptive word.) Thanks to the boys from Mass. for that one.
"Across the Universe" is a must see movie.
Joe (from Mass.) knows all the words to "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood and sings it with passion.
The boys from Mass. are all musically talented and break out in song randomly; something we have in common!