Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Home at last

Everyone has made it safely home - the plane from Chicago got in on time at 12:41pm Tuesday. Many were weary, sick, and ready for rest, but spirits were still high and reports out of Belmont High School today had UUs grouping together throughout the school like no tomorrow.

Hope to see y'all at our Youth Services on March 25 at 9:00 and 11:00.

Over and out,Dan

Monday, February 26, 2007

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

While the excitement certainly seems to be in Chicago, those of us who made it back home have lots to report on, too. Two of our super-chaperones added a great deal to the parents' experience yesterday: Marilyn put together a slide show of photos on the new kiosk screen in the upper hall, and many parents stood huddled around it at coffee hour, eagerly viewing the scenes from our journey. Then at our parents meeting, Martha told tales from the trip and gave a rundown of what we did and how everything went. Parents were enraptured and enjoyed hearing more about the trip than they ever thought they'd get to hear.

Lanier is in her car, on her way from San Antonio to the Gulf Coast, where she was prior to the trip and will continue to do relief work out there over the next week.

Some members of the "Northwest Six" have been in touch with friends who are still in Chicago and are planning to greet the crew at the airport tomorrow.

Henry returned home safely this afternoon and will make his triumphant return to Belmont Hill tomorrow.

I've been playing liaison between parents and the Chicago bunch, which has been a true joy. I'm so honored to be a part of this community. It's been amazing to see the way that everyone has rallied in this situation and I think it's brought all of us - both here in and Chicago - closer together.

See you at Logan,

An update from Richard

We made plans to stay in 16 rooms at a nearby hotel while simultaneously attempting to get on any last flight out. One group of nine was preparing to get on a shuttle to the hotel when we learned the rooms had already been sold. We had asked about giving them credit card info but "first come, first serve" had beaten out our slow-moving herd to this nearby hotel. We wound up chartering a bus to a new Holiday Inn Express 45 minutes away, stopping at a CVS to pick up meds as we went. The bus driver, Olig, was fabulous on the slushy taxi-weaving highway and it was good to be all safely together and warm. Some of us were still wearing flip-flops and tank tops from San Antonio.

The Holiday Inn Express is in Palatine, Illinois near Countryside Church, UU. Kate busied herself putting together a master list of all immediate requests: boxers, t-shirts, athletic shorts, sweatpants, toothbrushes, and toothpaste (we are without our luggage) and Nancy, a wonderful woman from the Social Action Committee at Countryside, drove Kate to Target for supplies. Meanwhile, Curt organized a cell phone-rechargizing campaign so that we could keep our communication flowing both within our group and to people back home. Conference calls to the "Desolate Nine" who had already returned to their families on the Northwest flight had a calming effect on both sides of the wires.

Bev invoked a little-known clause in our service trip contract that allowed for an extension of good behavior requirements and dubbed this "The Palatine Contract." With the myriad dizzying detail of the trip bearing down on her shoulders, Bev finally succumbed to gravity when trying to take her pants off in her room the first night and keeling over. She and roommate Kate lay on the floor laughing quite a while.

Oscar night was upon us and as we watched in various rooms, the chaperones, now referred to as "Chappies," began to congregate in Bev and Kate's room, drawn by the hope of a foot massage from Richard. It was, as Bev put it, "a little piece of heaven."

Henry left us this morning at 5:00 in an effort to not miss any more school, and phoned midway to say he was making good progress. We had endless amounts of breakfast foods - yogurts, juices, eggs, cereal - in the Gold Room, which had been given to us, free of charge, by the hotel to conduct our large-scale gatherings.

Today we are creating a number of offerings throughout the hotel, much like a conference would operate. It will be a "gym day" and those who know yoga are organizing yoga classes. Haley may do some sort of dance workshop and chaperones will talk about their work experiences in the world. We will put up an easel indicating which activities are going on in which rooms.

500 flights were cancelled at O'Hare yesterday, with 1500 people sleeping at the airport over the weekend - in nooks and crannies of the baggage claim areas and the link - which made me think again of homeless people we had spent time with in San Antonio.

I woke to the sound of geese honking across the sky. Many of us are now wistful for home.

-Richard (dictated to Dan over the phone at 12:30pm Monday)

Youth Group Trip: Part 2 (by Nina...or one of her roommies?)

It all started as we were preparing to exit the plane and heard the announcement regarding the storm. Nothing makes the group of 55 kids more excited than the prospect of being stuck in an airport for several days. The feeling soon subsided, however, when the realization that a massive amount of schoolwork would have to be made up. It was with bittersweet emotion that our group left the plane. On the bright side, our whole group now had an extra three days to bond EVEN MORE.

-Nina (??) via Richard over the phone

Reply from Belmont High administration

Dear Ms. Oaklander,

We have sent the list of students’ names out to all the teachers. They will be Absent Excused for Monday, 2/26 and Tuesday 2/27. You do not need to call them into the attendance office.

Thanks you for informing us. Please let us know if there are any complications.


Dan Richards

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Letter to Belmont High administration

The following letter was written by Sara Oaklander and emailed to BHS administration:

Dear Mr. Harvey, Mr. Millington, and Mr. Richards:

I am contacting you on behalf of a group of parents of BHS students. Here is the story.

Last week, nearly 60 members of the First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist youth group – along with ten chaperones – traveled to San Antonio, Texas for a week of community service. They were scheduled to return home on Saturday. A small group of kids and chaperones were on a flight through Detroit Boston on Saturday night. The rest arrived in Chicago only to find that their flight to Boston had been cancelled. To make a (very) long story short, the group is still stuck in Chicago and they are not scheduled to return to Boston until Tuesday midday. I am attaching a list of the BHS students – by grade – who were on this trip. Six of them are noted as having returned. It is possible that there are a couple of students included on this list who do not attend BHS and I apologize for any confusion that may cause. As parents, we are tremendously appreciative of the rich and expansive experience our kids had while in San Antonio, and proud of the community service they performed while there. We are also tremendously relieved to know our kids are safe in Chicago with their chaperones, continuing their adventure in unexpected ways! We also eagerly anticipate their arrival home on Tuesday. In the meantime, we are concerned that they will be missing two days of school. The purpose of this message is to:

1) Inform you that these students will be absent on Monday and Tuesday. While most of the parents will likely call their kids in as absent on Monday and Tuesday, it is possible that some may overlook the need to do this. By sending you this list we hope to avoid any unexcused absences appearing on these students’ records.

2) Seek your assistance with ensuring that all teachers at BHS are informed that 43 of your students are in this predicament. We hope and trust that we can count on the cooperation and assistance of all of the teachers involved with regard to catching these students up on assignments, exams, and anything else they miss as a result of being absent on Monday and Tuesday.

3) Make sure that you are aware that a number of students involved in this adventure are also part of the cast and crew of Chess. Although they will have to miss school on Tuesday, I imagine most – if not all – of them will be attending Tuesday’s dress rehearsal. They will already have missed rehearsals on Sunday and Monday and with the show opening on Thursday, we know they will be anxious to catch up with the rest of the cast and crew with regard to preparations for the show and we trust they will not be prevented from doing so.

On behalf of all of the parents, please accept my appreciation for your responsiveness to this unusual situation. If you require confirmation of any of this from the church, please contact Dan Glenn, Acting Director of Religious Education, or on his cell phone # is 617-875-1402.

Many thanks,

Sara Oaklander
(Michael Allen’s mother)

617-504-3369 (best daytime number)

Sunday afternoon update (4:00pm)

After looking into the possibility of taking a Greyhound back, the group has determined that the best course of action is to stay in Chicago until Tuesday morning. They will depart on United flight 528, leaving Chicago O'Hare at 9:30am and arriving at Logan airport at 12:41pm.

Until then, the group is staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Palatine, IL. The phone # is 847-934-4900.

We held an impromptu parents meeting at the church today at 12:30, after seeing how many parents from the youth group were in attendance at the 11:00 service. Apologies to parents who didn't know about the meeting - it was a very spontaneous decision. Parents who were at this meeting arranged to call all parents who were not at this meeting to relay information. Also, this entry here will contain everything you need to know.

The chaperones are charging hotel (roughly $20 per person per night), food, and clothing expenses to their credit cards, and these expenses will all be figured out when the group returns. At the meeting today, parents committed to reimbursing chaperones for all of these expenses and will likely just divide up the costs evenly once it is all figured out. We recognize that there are some families for whom the additional cost is a financial burden, and anyone who needs assistance will be covered by the Youth Group fundraising budget. A number of parents at today's meeting also generously offered to have their children get cash from the ATM and share it with anyone who has run out. These kids will keep track of reimbursements as necessary. Of course, as I said above, chaperones are charging meals etc to their credit cards, but some parents felt that kids having at least few dollars cash on hand would be nice.

The report from Bev, Richard, and Kate, all of whom I talked with on the phone today multiple times, is that the kids are in good spirits, better-rested after sleeping in comfortable hotel beds last night, and are being well-fed. Thanks to help from Rev. Edmund and Susan Gonzalez (Ben Bauer’s wife), the group connected with the UU church in Chicago who is helping them to arrange for caterers for future meals. A clothing run to TJ Maxx or Marshalls is imminent, and the plan is to get underwear, t-shirts, and socks for all who need them, as well as fabric pens to decorate the new shirts! Also, anyone who needs long pants or warmer shirts will have the opportunity to get those items, and those who want bathing suits for the hotel pool can purchase inexpensive ones as well. A CVS run has already been made and $300 worth of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other toiletry necessities have been purchased for the group. Bev has said that the hotel has been "fabulous" in assisting the group with any needs and being very accomodating "without blinking an eye."

Because no one has winter coats, the plan is not to venture into the city at all, but essentially to spend the rest of the time until their flight at the hotel. The chaperones have drawn up a new "Palatine Contract," a combination of the YG behavior contract that all the kids agree to at the beginning of the year and hotel rules.

Parents are asked to create new carpool groups because the ones previously arranged may no longer be feasible for this new midday pickup for people who work. A number of parents have offered to pick up, so if your child needs a ride, please call Roger Christopher, Jeanne Mooney, Sara Oaklander, Martha Gallagher, or Rubin Cassanova. Their #s are listed on the phone tree.

Last but not least, if you have questions about detail or want to relay any information to Bev and the chaperones, the best thing is to touch base with your child through cell phone, or call or email me. My email address is and I will be checking it regularly, and my cell phone # is 617-875-1402. Please relay any questions to me, unless it's an emergency, rather than calling the chaperones, because their cell phone batteries are dying and most of them don't have their chargers on them. I will touch base regularly with the chaperones, so it's just easier if I relay multiple questions rather than them receiving multiple phone calls.

The final piece of news is that the Unitarian Universalist Association has officially decided to name the first six saints in the history of the tradition: St. Bev Gillette, St. Ben Bauer, St. Richard Waring, St. Will Smith, St. Kate Gillette-Hesel, and St. John Keller.

Thanks to all the parents for all of your many offers to assist in whatever way is needed, and for the hard work you have done with communication and organization.


Saturday, February 24, 2007


Hi parents, families, friends of First Church YGers: Dan here, writing from home, to give out a bit of info on what's going on in hopes that it will ease any worried minds out there. Most of you have probably already heard some or all of this information.

The Northwest group of Carly, Tori, Sophie M, Melanie, Mark, Isaac, Martha, Marilyn and I arrived safely in Boston tonight at a little after 7:00 after surviving a blizzard scare in Minneapolis. We sat for 2+ hours on the runway but did make it out and home safely.

The United group containing everyone else got stuck in Chicago due to the weather conditions and won't be arriving home tonight. The first flight they have been able to book has been for - yes - Tuesday at 9am. The group has found a hotel and has booked 16 rooms for the next three nights. This is obviously a very difficult situation and a logistical nightmare in a lot of ways, but I am happy to report that both the kids and chaperones are doing well. Everyone is safe at the airport and they will soon head to the hotel. An immeasurable wealth of appreciation goes out to the six chaperones who are with the group (Lanier drove on her own): Bev, Ben, Will, Richard, Kate, and John - who are bleary-eyed but maintaining their sense of humor about the situation.

Of course, there is always the possibility that flight plans will change and we will luck out and the group can get on an earlier flight. In addition to the emergency phone tree, this blog will continue to be a way you can get updates on information until the kids get back. I'll be in regular contact with them and will update this as frequently as necessary.

Last night, the one sentiment that everyone kept repeating was, "I don't want the trip to be over." Looks like we've got our wish...and I know that despite the difficulty of this situation, this amazing group will rise to the occasion and make the most of the experience. Believe it or not, the "Lucky Six" from the Northwest flight were actually quite envious of the others!

I'll be at church tomorrow and will be happy to give everyone in-person accounts of our wonderful trip.

Stay tuned....

Friday, February 23, 2007

Headin' home

We've had an enjoyable day today cleaning up the church, packing up, and doing some sightseeing around San Antonio: we went to the Alamo and Market Square (the Mexican Market). Tonight we will get dressed up for dinner, celebrate Haley and Amy's birthdays with pinatas, have an open mic/coffeehouse, and our final worship service of the trip.

It's been a wonderful trip and we look forward to continuing to process it and sharing our experiences with the congregation at the Youth Service on Sunday, March 25 at 9:00 and 11:00.

We'll leave you with a few short reflections/quotes from members of the youth group about various experiences from the week.


"The people in San Antonio are remarkably more friendly and outgoing than Bostonians. It's probably the warm weather."

"Everyone is so hospitable and welcoming, it was easy to feel right at home in the church."

"I think our positive attitudes letu s take in the beauty of San Antonio and the people who are so welcoming and life-changing."

"Between our huddle with a 1-2-3, FOOD BANK, seeing Inspector Gillette with her clipboard, and the dive for the bag of donuts, I think we all enjoyed our time at the San Antonio Food Bank. But not only did we have fun, we accomplished something quanifiable: 1700 people will be fed for a week. "

"I'm beginning to think we are in Mexico. There is a huge Hispanic population and Spanish is spoken and written everywhere."

"The similarities to Mexico are numerous but it is fun to adapt to this different culture."

"The first thing I noticed when I got here was how open-minded the people are."

"While building a ramp for a wheelchair-bound woman, a next door neighbor came over. He said, "It's great to see young people being so productive."

"The Catholic Worker House is certainly the site with the most personality. I feel like I have been thrown into the middle of a movie or a novel. All of the people here are such interesting individuals, they should all be commemorated."

"I was shocked at how appreciative the family we helped was."

Some reflections from Will

My experience with the Youth Group kids and chaperones, but especially with my team, has been incredibly energizing. Each one of them not only arrived with an eagerness and excitement about what the week would bring, but also were able to maintain a willingness and positive attitude regardless of what was being asked of them. And some of these tasks seemed boring and somewhat unproductive.

The first night after a long, long day of travel, my team, although not complete, squeezed into a little booth at the Tacaria rstaurant and got to know each other a little bit better. I realized after dinner that we had an amazing group; they were gregarious, sensative, caring, silly, funny, and insightful.

When Talene arrived Monday night and we met as a group to go over our Tuesday schedule, our group was whole. Since our group was one of the groups that was split up on Monday, Tuesday would be our first chance to be all together. We also would be the only group going to this one site, the Catholic Workers House, which made the experience more ideal.

The day at the Catholic Workers House working with these kids, Jim, and the other volunteers was amazing. Interacting with the guests/clients by handing out some clothing and toiletry items and serving them a full multicourse lunch that a number of the kids prepared, with some guidance from a couple of the regular volunteers, felt so rewarding. There was a sense that we were able to make a difference in these people's lives even if it was just for a day. And we were ablet o really see the people who we were helping. Being able to sit on the porch and have conversations with a number of them made the whole experience that much richer.

I was a little nervous about the trip and intimidated by the sheer size of the group, but after five days of being together these feelings have long disappeared. I've been very fortunate to really get to know the kids in my group and so many others, I've had the opportunity to show the kids how to do some things as well. My favorite was being able to show some kids how to use a chalk line and circular saw at a RAMP site.

The greatest experience for me has been watching these kids grow, as individuals, and as a group. The bubble that they all live in, and that many of us adults live in, was broken down at least for a week. They will return to Belmont enriched, exhausted, and with memories that will last a lifetime as well as experiences that they will process over time as individuals and a group.

Thank you Dan and Bev for asking me to come!

Thank you to my amazing group: Liam, Cobby, Isaac, Sarah, Bekah, and Talene

-Will Smith, chaperone of Team 10/"Team Will Smith"/"The Salsa 7" [Friday 6:45am]

A chaperone speaks

Being a chaperone is a spiritual discipline. Like anything else, the more you put into it, the more you get out. Sometimes you float between being and non-being; one moment a fly on the wall and the next, leader of the pack. Into the river of youth you dip your paddle, put in your two cents worth, and if the current isn't too strong you may affect the direction. But the river is never the same twice and outcomes can never be planned ahead. Most of the time you go with the flow - trust the process - and everything turns out just fine. Your children have seen through the eyes of poverty, offered a helping hand to those who are vastly less priveleged than they've ever seen. They have seen how the gears of society can grind a person down and also how those with impossible burdens can still crack jokes and praise life's small blessings. They have felt what it's like to combine their solitudes into a communion of struggle against the unfair hands some people have been dealt, how to build ramps, pack food, serve meals, find the right size pants and be the beam of love that makes a person's day.

-Richard Waring

Martha's group goes to St. Vincent de Paul

A retroactive entry from Monday:

We started off our first day of service bright and early. We left at 5:50am for the St. VDP Soup Kitchen. When we arrived, we met with Sylvia, the amazing woman who ran the kitchen, who quickly assigned us tasks. Breakfast started promptly at 7:00, and we had many different jobs, such as pouring coffee, serving oatmeal, and helping the elderly/handicapped to their seats. After breakfast was finished, we cleaned up and started preparing food for lunch. Some of us got to go outside to help with handing out clothing. We organized the linen shelves and put hte clothes out for people to choose from. We were ablet o interact with the people choosing clothes by helping them find specific itmes or sizes. We even met a man who was born in Newton. The people working iwth us were very friendly, especially one man who was continually telling us jokes.

Around 12:30, lunch was served, and again we gave food to hundreds of hungry people from many different walks of life. We left around 1:30, utterly exhausted, but with a sense of accomplishment.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Spunkitudes go to the Food Bank

"Food! Bank! Food! Bank! 1-2-3, FOOD BANK!" That was our cheer as we sorted over 180 boxes of cans, cereal, juice, and...glow-sticks? In addition to just sorting through the variety boxes that we shipped into the bank, we put together boxes of well-balanced food, each one ablet o feed a family for a month. Not only did we accomplish a ton and get to sign our names on the wall of the bank, but also laughed throughout the entire process.

Thursday with group 10

Today we went to SaMMinistries. The group split into two and half of us went to SAMM's Furniture for a Cause, a furniture store where proceeds go to SAMM. There we built to bunkbeds to be shown in the store, while the other group stayed at SAMM and cleaned the children's after school room. After a relaxing lunch, the groups switched jobs. They were very grateful for our help.

da end, foo.

-Sarah F

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


1000 miles from home, today we helped one woman leave her house to tend her flowers. This is what RAMP does by building handicap access ramps for those who need wheelchair access in and out of their homes. Finishing our 9 foot ramp in one day was incredibly satisfying and rewarding, especially after meeting the woman who was planning on using the ramp. She was extremely appreciative of our hard work and was very kind to all of us. Sam even wrestled a thorny rose bush to build the ramp. But it was worth it in the end. Ani was awesome on the circular saw and router, too.

-The Spunkitudes

PS - Our ramp has very smooth handrails, courtesy of Sam, Elissa, and Chris.

Two Germans

There are two young German men working here at the Catholic Worker House. They're volunteers and will be here for the next year. Part of the reason for their services is a German program which allows them to skip military service by serving in this voluntary compacity. They felt as many as 40% of Germans fulfil their service requirements in this manner.

-Ben B


John came to the Catholic Worker House by bike, and brought a stack of self-types articles with him. His articles address human nature, global woarming, and the connection between humans and the globe. John was vegan, and did everything to prevent waste, including taking a large portion of salad that was going to be thrown out. John submitted his articles to Assumption College in Worcester, but they were rejected because the college did not think they academic.

-Chris and Sam

"Banana Man"

During our lunch on the porch of the Catholic House, we had the opportunity to talk with "Banana Man," a recovering alcoholic. He told us of his new attitude and lifestyle without alcohol as he stopped by for a meal before going to his new job. He spoke of his relationship with God, the improved communication with his girlfriend, and his altogether clearer frame of mind. He shared his pride for his preferred form of prevention, food, for as he said, "I can save my meal and enjoy it bit by bit, and that person drinking is just worried about where the next one is coming from." He definitely gave us words to live by.

-Elissa and Ani

The Spunkitudes (Ben B's group) go to Catholic Worker House

The trip down was smooth - everyone made it ot the airport in Boston ok - except Anna and Talene, who were sick. The church is comfortable with lots of space - it was nice to arrive here after an hour long bus ride across town from the airport. But it's warm!

Earlier in the week we went to the Catholic Worker House. People we met:


Eva is a homeless woman who has been coming to the Catholic Worker House for 5 years. Everyone who entered the house seemed to know her while she seemed to know their stories. She is an incredibly gregarious persiome who was quick to open up to us. She told us about her difficult childhood, struggles with drugs and depression, and about helping out at the Catholic Worker House. Her spunky attitude (spunkitude) created an uplifting atmosphere that set the tone for a motivating week.

PS - we're not leaving Texas ever.

Nina and Lila

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Our accomodations

The San Antonio Mennonite Church upon first appearances pleased everyone. In the front yard there was plenty of space to play frisbee, listen to those playing guitar, or just space to relax in the sunshine (temps were in the 70s both Mon and Tues). On the inside of the church we spread ourselves out on comfortable but somewhat noisy air mattresses. The girls all slept cozily on the floor upstairs while the boys took over the sanctuary. Between the two is a large common room, which we have wonderfuil worships, meals, and games in. Very close to the church are some very fun restaurants and thift shops. Our first night, our hunger was satisfied with delicious "Taco Haven." The next night, 80's night, we all dressed up in 80's attire end enjoyed a nice taco dinner prepared by a group of us, followed by ice cream sundaes. The church has been very relaxing and enjoyable and I am very excited for the rest of the week!

-Hannah C

San Antonio Food Bank

We (Bev's, Dan's, and Richard's groups) all reached the food bank at 9am and we were greeted by Sean who talked to us about what we would be doing. He greatly motivated all of us with his loud army voice due to the fact that he had come from an army family. We were all arranged in our spots and some of us did packing of cans into boxes with other items. Then other people were sorting items into specific boxes. Some "strong" people (Tim) were designateed to weigh the boxes. At about 12 we all washed the can juices off of our hands and took an hour lunch break, which most of us thought was needed. We all got back to work and ended at 2:30, where we swept and mopped the area. There was a huge wall signed by all the people who had worked/participated there and so we all got to sign it as well. Ross beat us all at writing his name the largest and the highest on the wall. We ended up with a closing speech from Sean and he told us we had provided food for about 1777 people for one week. Overall, I think we left feeling very good about what we had done today.

-Jen L

Catholic Worker House

Today (Tuesday), we went to the Catholic Worker House where we worked in the office, made lucnh, and cleaned up. We talked about Disney movies with our new friends, and Sarah and Talene escaped from a small but ferocious daog. True to our urban child upbringing, after work we proceeed to the nearest Starbucks. To Talene's parents: Talene is no longer sick, you needn't worry! -Group 10 (Cobby, Liam, Becca, Isaac, Sarah F, Talene)

Monday at the soup kitchen

Lunch at 9:30 sounded good. A wonderful morning was so well spent at St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen, the largest in San Antonio, serving others we didn't even realize how fast we went. 104 people joined us for breakfast. When we came in at first we hesitantly put out bowls of cereal and milk, coffee, signed in, and took our spots. I was doing coffee, and demand quickly took over supply. Helped by my fellow youth groupers I was able to look up at all the smiles of the hungry, sleepy, but so appreciative people. People were in and out within 15 minutes and we were already cutting potatoes and washing salad. It is hard to imagine the next 4 1/2 hours again. Overall we made close to 180 mustard and bologna sadnwiches, cut 10 lbs bags of chicken, made two huge tubs of salad, veggies, and filled big tubs of cookies. Talent was also taken to our advantage when both groups organized the table of donations (the the point where combs were being reorganized to rainbow order). Once again we took our spots and served another 160 people. Never in my life have I served so many people in a day, in 8 hours, it was wonderful!


Monday, February 19, 2007

Day Uno!

Hello all....we are winding down our first full day in San Antonio! We arrived safely yesterday afternoon after a long day of travel, settled in, and got lots of logistics taken care of. It was a pretty full day and everyone was beat by the time the evening rolled around. We wrapped up with a quiet "Candles of Joy and Concern."

Today was our first day at the worksites. Our ten groups went out to four different sites. You'll hear about all of them throughout the week, but here is a brief tale from Henry Luerhman and Leanna Balloffet about RAMP, where several of us went:

RAMP was a really great project to start out with. It was long and strenuous and dirty, but we did accomplish building a whole ramp for a disabled elderly woman. It was 22 feet of aweseom! The highlights were learning to built a ramp and seeing Hannah and Lucas create a beautiful mud figurine.

-Dan, Henry, and Leanna

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Flight information

We will be departing on Sunday morning, February 18 and returning Saturday, February 24. Here is our flight information for any parents who need it:

UNITED Flights (all but 9 people):
Flight 525 departs 2/18 at 6:00am, arrives Chicago 7:43am
Flight 769 departs Chicago at 9:55am, arrives San Antonio at 12:57pm

Flight 538 departs 2/24 at 1:28pm, arrives Chicago at 4:10pm
Flight 878 departs Chicago at 6:00pm, arrives Boston at 9:17pm

NORTHWEST Flights (9 of us traveling on these flights - you know who you are!)
Flight 375 departs 2/18 at 9:05am, arrives Detroit at 11:23am
Flight 1059 departs Detroit at 12:11pm, arrives in San Antonio at 2:28pm

Flight 1543 departs 2/24 at 7:20am, arrives Minneapolis at 10:04am
Flight 182 departs Minneapolist at 1:09pm, arrives Boston at 4:56pm

Parents/carpools please pick up your children at the airport, and be sure to check online or call the airlines ahead for any delays. Thanks!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

One week away

Ladies and gentleman, the youth group departs one week from today for our service trip to San Antonio to participate in the DOOR service program. 57 youth in grades 10-12 and 10 adults will be embarking on this exciting journey of service and spirituality. We will be working in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, childcare centers, food banks, building wheelchair ramps, and more. Please check in each day for updates on our experience, written by members of the youth group. San Antonio, here we come!

-Dan Glenn, Co-Youth Advisor