The group working on putting siding up on the trailer
The group working on putting siding up on the trailer
We slept in a little this morning and then headed out to go hiking at Kingdom Come State Park. We went on a pretty cool hike to the top of (That’s so) Raven Point up a flat rock mountainside. The view was gorgeous and there were lots of rocks around the area to explore. After a picnic lunch with our duck friends by a lake, we went to the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum. After a week of seeing what a big part of this culture coal mining is and talking to the locals about their connections to coal mining, it was really cool to go learn about the history and science behind coal mining. On our way back home, we also stopped by a Union-Confederate cemetery for a bit. For dinner, we took Bobby’s recommendation and went to the local Dairy Hut for delicious burgers and ice cream. All in all, it was a great free day spent exploring the area we’ve been calling home for the past week!
Wednesday morning we woke up with an unexpected but exciting surprise: snow! This didn’t deter us from getting to work on our projects as planned. We made good progress working until about 5:30 again. The flooring was all laid down, nailed, and painted with a first coat. The siding on the other trailer was taken off and the insulation put up, ready to be sided tomorrow. After dinner, we decided to venture out to the most talked about social gathering spot in the nearby city of Harlan, Kentucky: the bowling ally. Blake and Josh proved to be the master bowlers in the group, but we all had a good time relaxing after three days of hard work.
Thursday morning we woke up with a mission: to finish both the floor and the siding projects we had started on Monday. Throughout the week, the projects seemed to grow as we found more and more things that needed to be done to complete our jobs, but we were determined to finish as much as we could. By this time in the week, we had all found our place on the team and knew what jobs needed to be done, so we worked at a much faster pace than when we started. The floor had a second coat of paint put on first thing in the morning, and once that dried, we were able to move all the furniture back in to complete the job. It looked great! We sided the entire front of the other trailer with time to spare! After we finished, we got to explore the old town hall and prison that we had passed on our way to work everyday. One of the locals stopped by to give us a little history lesson about the area, which was really cool! Back at our bunkhouse, some of us went on a hike up the mountain behind our house…literally straight up the mountain. The view was spectacular and by the time we returned home to Del’s delicious parmesan chicken dinner, we were pretty worn out. Most of us are pretty tired, but couldn’t be happier with how our work this week has turned out. We’re really excited to go hiking for our free day tomorrow!
We left Auburn bright and early this morning to head to Crank Creek, Kentucky. After a speedy first few hours, we took a break in Knoxville for lunch at Market Square, where we met Elvis on his birthday. After lunch we made our way to World’s Fair Park and went up the Sun Sphere for a great view of the city…the last civilization we’d see for a while!
We said goodbye to Knoxville and civilization and hit the road again for the last bit of the trip to Cranks Creek. Following Bobby’s directions, we drove straight to our destination through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains with surprisingly no wrong turns. Cranks Creek Survival Center, our host organization, has four bunkrooms, a kitchen, and bathroom with showers and is a bit more rugged than we expected. It’ll be an adventure but we’re really looking forward to it. There’s lots of exploring to do!
This afternoon we played basketball with the kids next door for a bit before we made the trek fifteen miles down the road to get dinner at Pizza Plus and go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. When we were all settled in with food for the week, we went back to Bobby’s for a briefing about our work week. We’re really excited to start work tomorrow; especially after some of the conditions we’ve already seen people living in during our short time here.
This morning we headed over to Bobby’s at 9 am to get the specifics on our work assignments and directions to the site. Our group split up into two projects for the day: one group worked on repairing the flooring in a trailer home, while the rest of us worked across the road at another house, replacing the siding and adding insulation.
The siding project went fairly smoothly and in just a few minutes the old siding was down. Even though the weather forecast predicted rain, we had sunny weather throughout the morning – a nice surprise. Over at the other site, the flooring project proved to be a bit more challenging. Before we could take out the carpet, all of the furniture had to be moved outside to the porch. Justin and John put their construction knowledge together to replace the damaged areas of the floor with particleboard.
After our lunch break, Bobby stopped back with the insulation and siding to finish our first project. We made good progress on both houses, but when the rain picked up later in the afternoon, we had to find a stopping place and call it a day. We still have some finishing up to do on each site, but hopefully we can wrap things up tomorrow!
Position: Spring Break Site Leader for Rural Poverty in Appalachia in Cranks Creek, Kentucky
Class of 2014
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Major: Math, Spanish Minor
Favorite Song: Africa by Toto
Why did you choose your trip issue?
I chose the issue of Rural Poverty because I think it is something that is often overlooked in America. People do not realize that we have neighbors in our own backyard who are living in conditions that most would think impossible in a developed country like ours. Appalachia, as the poorest area of the country, presents a great opportunity for us to learn about the lifestyles and challenges faced by people living in rural poverty and to help them improve their standard of living.
What are you most looking forward to on your trip?
I am really looking forward to meeting the people who run the organization where we will be working. After getting to know them a little through planning the trip, they sound like great people who really put their heart and soul into the work they do for the people of the community.
What made you do ASB in the first place?
Having spent previous spring breaks on service trips like ASB and others vacationing at the beach, it was really easy for me to realize which I preferred. Giving up a school holiday is ultimately so much more fulfilling and memorable and just as much fun, if not more! I was looking for a meaningful way to spend my break, meeting new people, and doing something worthwhile, and I definitely found that in ASB.
What trips have you participated in the past?
Ecological Preservation Spring Break 2012 in the Everglades, Florida
What is your favorite ASB memory?
My favorite ASB memory are from a game we played every single night of our trip called “Fishbowl.” We would sit on our porch and play for hours, getting to know each other and laughing about the crazy situations we had found ourselves in during the day’s work and the most interesting and entertaining people we had the opportunity of working with.
What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?
I learned that people can surprise you! My group was made up of the most different people you could imagine, people whose paths probably would have never crossed if not for ASB. However, by the end of week it was if we had known each other forever.
How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?
ASB has really opened my eyes to lots of different issues, especially being a site leader this year and seeing all the great trips that are being planned. It has helped me learn to work with people from all different backgrounds and given me some of my favorite memories from college so far. ASB has helped me realize how lucky I really am and helped me make a commitment to always including service to others as a part of my life.