Work Week 2015 is in the books. The bills have been paid and we will soon be planning our trip for 2016. Bright and early on Sunday morning, July 5, Chet Adams, Lara Hillpipre, Kaitlyn Hildebrand, Jordan Norvell, Josh Ventling, Dana Hashman, Tony and Anna Hillpipre, Steve Hopkins, Shirley Stevens, George Wilkening, and Mickey Van Baale met in the church parking lot to load the cargo van and prepare for our trip to Assumption, Ill. After a send off by Rev. Meghan and others, we were on our way. Our hope was to reach Kemmerer Village before 2:00 pm to attend their weekly church service, but a lot of construction delayed our trip.
We stayed in the Retreat Center, which was a former barn which has been refurbished as housing for Mission groups who come to help. It was rustic, but very nice and made a great “home away from home” for a week.
We were not expecting to have much interaction with the residents, but we did. We ate our meals in the cafeteria with them, but sat at our own assigned table. We talked to them during the day as we went about our work. The residents ranged in age from 8 to 17. Most came from broken homes, homes where there was abuse, alcohol and/or drugs.
George and Tony headed up the construction work that was done. This consisted of replacing several doors, making and installing shelves in some closets and other general work. The young men took turns helping out with the construction.
Dana and Anna were the painting crew. There were doors and trim to be painted and the head of Kemmerer’s maintenance crew was very particular about this. The work being done was for the new office for the new director and his staff.
The rest of us worked in the barn, where the equestrian program is done. We were the first group that asked and was allowed to work in the barn and with the horses. The equestrian program serves two purposes. One for the residents at Kemmerer as a way to help them learn responsibility, patience, and working with others. Secondly, Kemmerer Village has partnered with the Cerebral Palsy Association and have young people suffering with CP come to ride the horses. It’s amazing at how much the children change from learning how to balance themselves to even talking.
Of course, we had our traditional fun day on Wednesday, even though it was a rainy day. We went to Springfield, which was about an hour north of us and toured the Lincoln Library and Museum. This facility is new and was very impressive. Following lunch we toured Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home. Another interesting site to see. Springfield has a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright named the Dana-Thomas House. For many of us, this was the first creation by Mr. Wright that we had seen. It was magnificent and there are hardly adequate words to describe it. This was the 72nd house designed by Wright and contains 35 rooms in the 12,000 square feet. A feature we enjoyed was the bowling alley in the basement. We also toured Lincoln’s tomb. What a reverent national treasure to see.
We finished up the week with two more work days. Finishing up construction projects, more painting, cleaning and oiling tack and saddles and giving the barn a good cleaning, as well as caring daily for the horses. Oh yes, and mucking out the outside pens.
Our thanks to all of you for supporting this Mission experience. As we have said before, we come away with more than we feel we give. The Taylors and the others in the Mariners group are going to Kemmerer Village later this year. We pray they have an equally rewarding experience.
The Steering Committee--
Mickey Van Baale