My Annual Shameless Plug for AmeriCorps

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Today, our new AmeriCorps NCCC team is en route to Sound View. They will be arriving Wednesday and we are excited about this. It is wonderful to have a team of young adults in camp. It brings back that summer feeling. Hayley is planning a welcome dinner and we know that they will get right to work on Thursday - and look out! An enthusiastic team of twelve can accomplish so much in just one day, and they will be with us for six weeks!

Back in 1993, I was working at a Y camp in Massachusetts and was invited to a gathering/celebration with Sen. Ted Kennedy concerning the AmeriCorps legislation just signed into law by President Clinton. My camp at the time was the host for the City Year program - particular to Boston - of which, AmeriCorps was partially modeled. The concept behind City Year was that young people had their “high school years”, “college years”, “career years” and could be given an opportunity for a “city year” to give back to their community. This year of service was usually sandwiched between high school and college, or college and career.

 Nancyrose and the spring AmeriCorps NCCC team.

Nancyrose and the spring AmeriCorps NCCC team.

Prior to this, President George H. W. Bush introduced his catch-phrase, Thousand Points of Light, to describe the non-profits, faith communities, municipalities doing great work in their communities yet could use a pool of eager volunteers. He believed that the government should get out of the business of inventing social programs (Peace Corps) and jump instead into supporting the programs that are already being implemented well by others.

So - AmeriCorps came into being. AmeriCorps members are paid poverty wages to volunteer with the promise of a larger (around $5,000) educational award at the end of their service year. AmeriCorps programs come in many flavors to augment the good work being done all around the nation to assist people. The AmeriCorps NCCC “flavor” is reminiscent of the CCC programs that help rebuild and employ America during the Great Depression.

In my camping career I have worked with AmeriCorps individuals and teams in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Upstate New York, and now at Sound View. Each challenge/project has been unique but each time, the work has been cheerfully done by dedicated young adults eager to serve their country. Concurrently, all across the United States, AmeriCorps members are tutoring in schools, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, aiding in disaster relief, and assisting the most vulnerable among us. Just the past weekend, an AmeriCorps group sponsored by the Jesuits, came to Sound View Camp for training. These volunteers will assist in several hospitals in Washington and Oregon.

Every year, some misinformed person in Congress proposes that AmeriCorps should end. Money will be saved (he/she says). If they want to volunteer they should do so on their own (he/she says). If they want to serve their country, they should join the military (he/she says). He/she fails to realize that AmeriCorps was a Republican idea implemented by a Democrat president. Hopefully reasonable minds prevail each year and the program continues to thrive.

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Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for posts on what this fall’s team will be up to at Sound View. And - if you want to send cookies, pies, and other goodies - I’m sure that they will appreciate it.

Joy is Like the Rain

Last night I slept in a little Agape cabin at Sound View. I was cozy and warm looking up at the peaked ceiling and knots in the wood. Outside, for most of the night a storm was raging. The wind was peaking at 30 knots and the rain was falling heavily at times. Overall - nice sleeping weather when you are safe, cozy, and warm.

I woke early - I usually do - rejoicing in the fact that the sun would rise early now that the clocks were set back to end daylight savings time. There is always a folk song (or two) that I am singing and usually one sticks around in my head for hours at a time until I pull out a uke or guitar to get it out into the open where it belongs. Today’s song is Joy is Like the Rain by Miriam Therese Winter.

The first verse …..

I saw rain drops on my window, Joy is like the rain.
Laughter runs across my pane, Slips away and comes again.
Joy is like the rain.

It was 5:30 and I peeked out the window to see what the sky looked out. It looked wet outside and the trees were still moving but the rain had stopped. I slipped on by big, yellow rain-boots and stomped outside with Lucky the Dog. Lucky and I stomped over to where there was a coffee pot and about twenty minutes later, mug in hand, we hiked towards the waterfront to watch the sun rise.

The second verse of the song goes like this …

I saw clouds upon a mountain, Joy is like a cloud.
Sometimes silver, sometimes gray, Always sun not far away.
Joy is like a cloud.

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We got down to the waterfront just as the eastern sky was starting to light up. There were some majestic clouds to the east so I knew that I wouldn’t see a picture-perfect scene but it was still quite pretty. I had to take a picture of the totem pole cross was it was lit up by the sunrise. At the same time, the crescent moon was still in view. How cool was that?

The third verse …

I saw Christ in wind and thunder, Joy is tried by storm.
Christ asleep within my boat, Whipped by wind, yet still afloat,
Joy is tried by storm.

We went down to the beach to make sure that the boats were OK. My little commuter boat (pulled up onto the dock) was still there but the dock, ramp, and the boat on top were still visibly bouncing around due to the storm’s waves still present. I won’t be boating home today. While stomping back across the soggy waterfront field, I noticed a little flower peeking out from amidst fallen leaves.

The final verse ….

I saw rain drops on a river, Joy is like the rain,
Bit by bit the river grows, 'til all at once it overflows.
Joy is like the rain.

Lucky and I hiked up the trail and were met by some of our guests from the Jesuit Volunteer Corps venturing down to where we just were. They too, had smiles on their faces - and maybe songs in their hearts.

#SV404040 - There is nothing so permanent as that which is temporary

We are running a small(ish) capital campaign to transform the platform tents into better cabins that will be dry, warm and welcoming for each season. We are doing this because we believe that our summer campers, outdoor environmental education students, and weekend youth groups can benefit from more “campy” lodging than from staying in a dorm style lodge. We come to camp to experience God’s wonders and nothing beats sleeping in a cabin surrounded by nature.

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I call them "Camperships"

The main point is that we all look forward to saying, "YES - we would love having your child at camp and we can help you if you cannot afford to pay the full fee."  The Sound View Board has directed me, and the staff, to ensure that "no child is turned away for inability to pay," and every spring, we respond to requests for financial assistance with the hope that we have enough funds to serve all.

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