Arrivals and prep-work

Posted: June 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

As of Saturday afternoon, everyone is finally here. There were some travel problems (Lindsay’s flight got delayed and then cancelled in Atlanta) but for the most part, everyone had a smooth trip. We just relaxed, hung out, and did a WalMart run on Saturday night.  We had to get a griddle because it’d be tough to eat only microwaved foods for the next two months. Sunday we went to church (I sang bass again, my second time ever doing that) and then came back to make lunch. We then took a little trip over to the storage facility where all of the supplies for the summer are located. We found a good amount of arts & crafts fodder, and it looks like some of the guys are coming up with some great ideas. We also found some worksheets and books and plenty of stuff to get the camp going. That’ll definitely be good to start us off. We found some t-shirts from previous years that I think we’re going to try and sell in order to raise some money for more supplies. HOPE ended up not getting a grant that we were planning on, which has thrown a little bit of a wrench into the plans. We’ll make it through- God’s good about taking care of that stuff.

It’s definitely true that the prep work is the hardest and takes the longest of all the work that one has to do. When you’re painting, the taping and covering stuff usually takes as long as the actual painting. We’re in the prep work phase right now, and will probably continue to be doing prep work for a while, throughout the summer as we prepare for future weeks of camp.

I’ll try to have someone take pictures so we can have a record of all that we’re doing. I don’t have a camera. If you have anything to help us out (supplies, $$, a camera), please don’t hesitate to let me know!! :)

Thanks for reading!

Holding pattern

Posted: June 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

I haven’t forgotten about the blog! For the moment, the fine combination of massive free time plus no AmeriCorps here means I’m just chilling, checking out the area and sending e-mails to find places for HYC (HOPE Youth Corps) to volunteer in July. My crew starts arriving on Friday! I’m excited to meet those of them who I don’t know, and to reunite with the ones I do.

As for what I have done: I got to go to Cafe Du Monde yesterday. I love that place. The coffee is great. I get it black and then add a little sugar. The intense & rich darkness of the coffee combines so well with the crusty, savory nature of the beignets. Love it. I might swing by the Spotted Cat later tonight and see if I can find someone to swing dance with. We’ll see.

I’ll keep y’all posted as people start to arrive!

ULTIMATE!!!

Posted: June 4, 2010 in City

Ross (my boss) went home yesterday, leaving me with a week or so before the AmeriCorps arrive. First thing I do? Play ultimate frisbee in a summer league down here!! It was great being able to toss a disc around and get some good running in. Even in the relatively low heat (say high-70s), the humidity was intense. It definitely makes your sweat worthless. I think ultimate is definitely going to be a good release over the summer. Nothing like running around chasing a disc to make things a little better!

Now, it’s time for me to hit the phones and get stuff in order for when the HYC crew arrives in July. It looks like they’ll be staying at Camp Hope, and we’ll be trying to set them up with some combination of Habitat, Make It Right, and the St. Bernard Project. If anyone has any contacts there that could help out, I’d be super thankful. That is going to be a crazy week for me- my 8 AmeriCorps, plus 26 HYC volunteers coming down for two weeks! Fortunately I won’t have to take care of them the whole time, because that would be kinda crazy given the limited resources I have to work with.

Anyways, I’ll keep you guys posted as more stuff comes up. I’m really looking forward to (a) having the AmeriCorps down here, and (b) meeting the kids! I don’t want the most important stuff to get lost in the shuffle of figuring out details- I’m here to serve the kids this summer. That will be good. No sense in letting the little things get in the way of the big stuff. I’m in a great city, I’m about to meet some cool people, and I’ll soon have one of those summers that I’ll remember forever. Thanks for keeping up with the story, and I’ll be sure to keep y’all posted as stuff continues to develop!

PS- I just got in touch with my friend Anna who will be working in Korea over the summer (and potentially longer). I’ll be sure to post a link to her blog once I get it.

First Impressions

Posted: June 3, 2010 in Camp, City

Howdy!

I’m Wayne. I’ll be working in New Orleans this summer at a camp for kids in St. Bernard Parish. I wanted to use this blog as a way to keep track of how things are going, to share stories, and to remind people that there’s still stuff that needs done in New Orleans.

For those of you reading this blog who don’t know me, I’m a guy who grew up in MA, moved to Austin, TX, to do home repair for low-income families with Habitat for Humanity, and now I’m finishing my Master’s in Non-Profit Management at UT Austin. There’s obviously a lot more to it, but that’s the basic outline. This summer I’ll be working for HOPE worldwide running a camp (along with 8 AmeriCorps) for kids over the summer, giving their parents a chance to work and not have to worry so much about childcare. We’ll be focusing on developing strong minds, bodies, and character. It’s going to be a great experience for all involved!!

Now, for my (first) impressions of the city and the job:

The city seems to be doing better, but there’s still a long way to go. I visited in early 2007 for a week to help clean up and rebuild after Katrina. While there are plenty of new houses going up, there are still boats on streets and completely overgrown lots. It’s really sad to see some of the neighborhoods still looking like war zones. It’s been great seeing and hearing the music down here, and I’m sure that will continue to be a good thing going forward. I got to see a great band at the Spotted Cat last night. I’m sure I’ll be visiting that place to check out music quite frequently. I also got signed up for an ultimate team. We meet tonight. That’ll be good.

As for the job… it’s bigger than me. My background is in homes. I started selling mortgages when I was 16, I shifted to home repair with Habitat, and then I did a ton of research of title insurance. I know about housing and green building and home repair. I’m also comfortable managing volunteers, and having done two years of AmeriCorps, I know how that program works. This summer will certainly utilize some of those skills, but a large portion of my job (and our jobs as staff at the camp) is curriculum building. Suffice to say, that is not my background. Can I run around with kids and have a fun time? Absolutely. Can I handle conflicts as they arise and help them out some? Sure. Do I know how to build a curriculum for an 8-hour-a-day summer camp for 5-12 year olds? Nope. I will have to rely on God and my AmeriCorps to make this summer excellent. I think it will be, even if the concept is a tad bit intimidating at the moment. It’s good for me to be out of my comfort zone and to be forced to rely on God. I definitely need that in my life.

I’ll be sure to keep posting about my experiences in the city and the camp, once it starts. The AmeriCorps start getting here a week from tomorrow. Until then, I just drive around and explore the city.

ps- If anyone out there is a teacher and might have some math/reading/etc. worksheets to pass along, I’d be quite grateful :)

ps2- Follow me on twitter! @wager_hope, @HOPEwwNOLA