April 2014 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

Featured News

Hello Care-A-Vanners,

We are just days away from our big event in Springfield, Mo., our 25th Anniversary Build and Rally. The preparation is done; boxes and boxes have been shipped to Springfield and we are just awaiting your arrival! If you are signed up for Springfield, you should have heard from your team leaders by now. If you have not, please let me know.

I thought instead of hearing from me again this month, I would share a letter from the folks who run the Leland affiliate (all volunteer like us). They captured what RV Care-A-Vanners have contributed over the years to their little community of Leland, Mississippi.

Happy Anniversary and see you in Springfield!

From the desk of Brian and Jodi Scheffler:

Dear RV Care-A-Vanners,

Congratulations on 25 years of community service across America. The contributions you make are so important and far reaching that they probably cannot be accurately measured or understood except by those communities that you serve. Serve? Perhaps a poor word. We always talk about our families partnering with Habitat, but in reality Care-A-Vanners are critical partners to affiliates across this country. I guess you could define Care-A-Vanners as service providers, partners, a knowledge base, spiritual lifting or just some darn good free labor. However, in Leland, MS we think of Care-A-Vanners as so much more, for Care-A-Vanners are the most critical thing Habitat for Humanity International provides to our affiliate.

Let me tell you about Leland and the difference you make. Leland is a small community of around 5000 citizens in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. It resides in the one of the poorest congressional districts in the state and thus the whole of the U.S. Nineteen years ago when we started, we were told by the people in the know and headquarters that our community was too small to be a viable affiliate. Basically we are still told it cannot be done. Later this year, with the grace of God, we will start house 33 and honestly I would prefer to say home 33. We build year round with a small dedicated group of individuals where we will have anywhere from two to eight people working for four hours on a Saturday morning with a long Saturday here and there, and a church group thrown in now and then.

Then we do a two week build in the early spring when we invite eight to10 Care-A-Vanner rigs in for a little more intense building. They come with excitement, with knowledge, with hope, with spirit, love and hopefully a few tools they will leave behind. In Leland, a day of a full group of Care-A-Vanners equals one to two months of local building time. In a couple weeks you are talking about close to a whole year of local volunteer labor. I guess you could call that measurable impact, but Care-A-Vanners do so much more. They act as ambassadors for the local affiliate within and beyond the community, they lift the spirits of the local affiliate members, they bond with the homeowners and in Leland they help with community ownership and pride.

We cherish new Care-A-Vanners and we love the ones that return. We worry about you when you leave and we think about you during the year or years when necessary. We cry and are saddened when we hear of one of you passing. While I am not one that can easily say a prayer out loud, I have no problem talking with the Lord for any of you. Yes in Leland, MS you are family and you are always welcome.

Care-A-Vanners have been coming to Leland since house six and I have no idea when that was. But I know we would not be talking about house 33 without your support. I guess in a way we in Leland are a failure because the need for decent affordable housing is still with us. We still have people living in houses where you can see the ground through the floor, the mosquitoes and other pests have free access to come and go, and the concept of insulation is newspaper stapled on the wall. Will Leland Habitat survive the test of time or the challenges we are facing due to corporate changes? I honestly do not know. I do know that with Care-A-Vanners at our side we will make an impact, we will save a family and together we will make a difference. I guess that is failure that I can live with.

There is a quote from the movie "The Bucket List" that was said to be asked of the dead at the gates of heaven “Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others?” The first question is for you to handle, but the second question I will happily stand by your side and answer for you.
Care-A-Vanners are so much more than a hand up.

Brian and Jodi Scheffler

Mary Vandeveld
RV Care-A-Vanner coordinator


Remember: Send Mary Vandeveld photos of your builds or newspaper articles. If you would like to submit anything to the newsletter — a good story, a new way to do things, a construction tip or an update on a build — please do. This includes our partner affiliates! This is your newsletter and we welcome the input. Besides, you have got to be getting tired of hearing from only me! Send your contributions to mvandeveld@habitat.org. I want to hear from all of you!

Team leader corner

Hello from Hobbs, N.M. where Kit and I are finishing up leading a build and getting ready to head to Springfield.

First, let me thank our marvelous March team leaders. They are Dyana Todd; Earl Cunningham; John and Janie Bare; Mary and Tony Campbell; Larry and Memorie Halstead; Robin and Janet Masek; Jake Newell and Angela Sayler; Ron and Judith Bell; Stuart and Lois Luedtke; Joe and Jane Gano; Fred and Barbara Thum; and Brenda Sawyer and Kit Perry.

Remember, if you've been thinking about becoming a Team Leader but are not sure what's involved, contact me at bsawyer@habitat.org and I will send you the guidelines. Lack of construction experience is not a reason to pass on being a Team Leader. Organization and people skills are what are important. So, don't forget to check the "team leader interest" box on your registration if you are willing to lead the build.

I hope to get to meet many of you at the Care-A-Vanner 25th Anniversary Build and Rally. During the rally, I will be giving a seminar on the role of the team leader. Although I will go over the expectations we have for team leaders, I am hoping to have a good discussion about some of the issues that can arise during a build. So whether you are thinking about becoming a Team Leader, or have been one for years, please come and join the discussion.

Finally, team leaders are needed for the following builds. If you are available and willing, please contact me.

• May 4-18 Woodland Park, CO
• May 11-25 Waynesboro, VA
• May 18- June 1 Tuscaloosa, AL
• June 8-22 Waterloo, IA
• June 8-22 Mankato, MN

Thank you and happy hammering!

Brenda Sawyer
Team leader coordinator

Spread the word
Send your RV friends a Care-A-Vanner brochure about this wonderful mission by just pasting this link into an email or just print out and give to fellow RVers in campgrounds.

Disaster Response

  • Moore, Okla.: Dan and Carolyn Banks are leading our response in Moore. They have secured RV parking at the fairgrounds in Norman, Okla., for a rate of $10.00 a day. These are full hookups, with Wi-Fi — a real luxury for a Disaster Response build. Go to our website and look for the Moore, Okla. builds beginning on April 6 and running into November 2014. If you would like to be on my email list for regular Granbury/Moore updates, please send me a note to mvandeveld@habitat.org.
  • West Liberty, Ky.: West Liberty lost 500 housing units, many of them low-income, in a March 2, 2011 tornado. The latest news from West Liberty is that they have hired another construction supervisor for this year. That means we will not have to have house leaders on every build as we have done in the past. I have posted the 2014 builds in West Liberty and they are on our website. Sign up now so we can finish the mission we started. The tornado rebuild should be complete in the 2014 build season, and then we will offer regular Care-A-Vanner builds in support of the Morehead affiliate and their goal of building two to four houses a year. In 2013, our teams have helped get 14 tornado affected families into homes. Job well done! Now let us sign up for those 2014 builds and get this job finished!
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Tuscaloosa is rebuilding following the massive tornado in 2011. I have listed the Tuscaloosa builds on our website through the entire year. No experience is required to work at Tuscaloosa. Dave and I just returned from a build in Tuscaloosa. They have a great construction team there and it is a very nice place to work. Some have asked why we are still building in Tuscaloosa. The answer is simple: there are still people who lost their housing units in the 2011 tornado who are not in Habitat homes yet. Our job is not finished there yet, so sign up for Tuscaloosa and give some families that hand up that they need.
  • Super storm Sandy: There is still a lot of work to be done in the Northeast. I expect to be listing builds in the Sandy affected areas soon, so watch the website for updates. If you would like to be on my email list for Sandy recovery, please send a note to mvandeveld@habitat.org. I will notify Care-A-Vanners on my list first about build opportunities there.
  • Colorado 2013 Floods: We had six affiliates in the flood affected areas in Colorado. There was a huge need for low-income housing in the area with a rental vacancy rate of 1 percent before the floods. There were also some mobile home parks that were destroyed in the floods. The six affiliates are working closely with the Colorado State Support Organization and they already have a plan to work together and rebuild 100 new construction homes and do 100 Critical Home Repair projects. I have talked with the director of the Colorado SSO and all six executive directors and I think there will be a need for Care-A-Vanners this coming summer in their rebuild effort. I will be listing a build soon in Loveland, Colo. The build is for families who were in line prior to the floods, but this affiliate's service area was affected by the flooding. Let's give Loveland a good introduction to what Care-A-Vanners can do. I have an email list for the Colorado flood rebuild effort, so if you would like to be on the list, send me a note to mvandeveld@habitat.org.

Featured Builds

New affiliates: Jefferson, Iowa, signed up for two builds, one in June and one in September. They are new to the RV Care-A-Vanner Program and they are really excited about hosting Care-A-Vanners, so let’s get them off to a good start and sign up for their builds.
RV Care-A-Vanners needed everywhere! Have you checked out our build list lately? You have lots of build choices and there are many affiliates who are counting on our teams to complete projects this summer. Please sign up for what you can.


Got Water?

Every month, I find another reason to appreciate the Care-A-Vanners. This month, as we continue to build momentum following March 22 – World Water Day – I know that each of you, having driven around the country with a limited supply of water on board, appreciate the importance of this precious resource. Having access to fresh, clean, life-giving water is a luxury that’s easy to sometimes take for granted. Many in the world – nearly 800 million, to be more exact – don’t have access to safe water. And 2.5 billion lack access to proper sanitation.

Habitat recognizes that safe and reliable access to water, sanitation and hygiene or “WASH” (now there’s an acronym you’ve gotta love) is key to adequate housing. Lack of access to WASH is a critical problem around the world, particularly in densely populated areas. Each year, 700,000 children (2,000/day) die from preventable diarrheal diseases because they do not have access to clean water and 90 percent of those kids are younger than five.

Ready for some good news? WASH improvements are among the most cost-effective housing investments to improve health outcomes and reduce poverty around the world. In fact, by improving health and productivity, WASH investments can bring economic benefits ranging from $4 up to $46 per each dollar invested. For an example of how Habitat’s WASH programs are working, read more about our work around the world, including the 10,000 people who benefitted in 2013 alone thanks to work in Ethiopia.

Ready for even MORE good news? Ethiopia may be half a world away, but folks in Congress are paying attention. The House of Representatives is considering H.R. 2901, called the “Water for the World Act,” a piece of bipartisan legislation focused on maximizing existing investments in lifesaving water programs. We invite you to join us in supporting this bill. Add YOUR voice by sending a letter to your representatives

trips Collegiate Challenge and Care-A-Vanners

The spring break season is about over and we have had 14 successful Collegiate Challenge Builds thanks to the 62 wonderful Care-A-Vanners who volunteered to assist as crew leaders and supervise college students. These are great numbers for our first year of offering these on our build schedule Our April Care-A-Vanner volunteers were: Lisa Crawford, Ed Behnke, Sandra Jackson and Greg and Pam Lurz. Many thanks go out to them.

Your RV Care-A-Vanner desk is already thinking about next year's opportunities. Spring breaks start as early as February and run through early April. We will list Collegiate Challenge builds, with the CC after the city's name, on the build schedule as soon as we are notified by an affiliate that they wish some supervisory assistance; this could be as early as summer or as late as November or December. This column will keep you informed each month on the new listings as they come in. If you have any suggestions to make this program work better, please don't hesitate to share your thoughts with me. I know we had a couple of RV parking issues this year and that will be addressed better next year.

As I write this, the Springfield 25th Anniversary event is coming soon in just a few weeks and I look forward to putting the names of those Collegiate Challenge volunteers that I don't know with faces!

Diane Gravlee
Collegiate Challenge coordinator

trips Anniversary Celebration

ATTENTION ALL RALLY GUESTS: Please arrive with your black and grey tanks empty

Fresh water will be available. Though there is a dump station on-site, it will not be available during check in hours.

Please plan to arrive during your assigned arrival hour. Arrivals are planned for best efficiency in parking rigs and minimum congestion. Remember that we have a large number of rigs arriving within a limited period of time. Please be flexible and patient with the parking attendants.

We are looking forward to your arrival! Happy trails and happy landings!

Jane and Joe Gano
25th anniversary event coordinators
Jane: janefgano@gmail.com
Joe: ganoja@gmail.com


  • Sunday April 27th:

    8:00 - 9:00 Coffee and Donuts sponsored by Camping World

    9:00 - 9:30 Worship Service, John Dech

    10:00 - 12N Disaster Response - Mitigation and Fortified Building
    Presenters: Giovanni Taylor-Peace, Mgr, Field Operations Disaster Risk Reduction and Response, and Russ Griffith, Senior Specialist, U S Construction. Focuses on importance of cost-effective mitigation practices, shared best practices of new home construction, and techniques to apply Fortified Bronze standards to construction projects.

    1:00 - 2:30 Disaster Preparedness and Response
    Presenters: Kristin Wright, Disaster Corps Specialist, HFHI, and Mary Vandeveld, RV CAV Coordinator Participants will learn how HFHI engages in disaster response, highlighting HFHI's Disaster Corps program and RV Care-A-Vanner rebuild team. Learn about types of disasters, key terms used in disaster risk management, phases of the disaster cycle, emergency management standards, the National Response Framework and what can be done to prepare and respond to disasters.

    1:00 - 2:30 Golf Chipping and Pitching Clinic
    Presenter: Ina Davis, RV CAV and PGA Professional, Crystal River Mtn Resort, MI Learn the proper fundamentals of the chip and pitch shots–the scoring shots–and learn the proper club selection. Guaranteed to eliminate the dreaded sculled, fat and miss-directed shots. Bring your sand wedge and 9-iron. Don't have a sand wedge? Bring your pitching wedge and 9-iron.

    1:00 - 2:30 Team Leader Seminar
    Presenter: Brenda Sawyer, RV CAV and Team Leader Coordinator
    Appropriate for those who are considering serving as team leaders as well as for our veteran team leaders. Will cover some of the duties of team leading but will also discuss various challenges faced by team leaders, including managing team dynamics and conflicts, devotions and other topics brought forth by those in attendance. Please send questions or topics to Brenda (bsawyer@habitat.org) before the rally (preferred), or bring them with you to the seminar

    3:00 - 4:30 Joplin, MO, Disaster Recovery, Story of a Comeback
    Presenter: Scott Scott Clayton, Exec Dir HFH, Joplin, M Hear the story of disaster recovery for the city of Joplin and the accomplishments of the HFH affiliate: flourishing against terrific odds, bringing groups together to service families in need and staff dedicated to helping – resulting in an astounding rate of recovery

    3:00 - 4:30 FMCA Habitat for Humanity Chapter
    Presenters: FMCA Staff This group partners with the RV Care-A-Vanner program. Learn about their organization and their involvement with HFHI's RV Care-A-Vanner home building opportunities.

    3:00 - 4:30 RV CAV Round Table Q & A
    Presenters: RV CAV Desk Staff Meet the volunteers who keep the RV Care-A-Vanner program working. Come with your questions, suggestions and concerns.

  • Monday: April 28th:

    8:30 - 10:00 First Aid and Citizen CPR
    Presenters: Southern MO Region, American Red Cross Learn some basic responses and techniques for more common emergency first aid so you will be more confident in responding to emergency needs. Watch a short demonstration on Compression Only CPR. Although no official certification will be offered, the class should make participants better prepared to know how to respond to emergencies.

    8:30 - 10:00 Around the World with Global Village
    Presenter: Allyson Drinnon, Associate Director, Volunteer and Institutional Engagement, HFHI You can't bring your RV but you can still make new friends while building. Join Allyson for a snapshot of Habitat International's work, what volunteers are doing around the world and how you can get involved. This workshop will cover the steps to join an international Global Village trip, costs and fundraising and leadership opportunities.

    10:30 - 12N Camping World: Care and Maintenance of your RV

    10:30 - 12N Selection of HFH Partner Families
    Presenter: Nancy Williams, HFH Springfield, MO, Affiliate The Springfield affiliate has two family services committees, the family selection committee and the family advocacy committee. These presenters will walk us through the process from initial marketing of the program and recruiting of applicants to the burning of the mortgage when it is paid off.

    1:00 - 2:30 First Aid and Citizen CPR
    Presenters: Southern MO Region, American Red Cross Learn some basic responses and techniques for more common emergency first aid so you will be more confident in responding to emergency needs. Watch a short demonstration on Compression Only CPR. Although no official certification will be offered, the class should make participants better prepared to know how to respond to emergencies.

    1:00 - 2:30 Golf Chipping and Pitching Clinic
    Presenter: Ina Davis, RV CAV and PGA Professional, Crystal River Mtn Resort, MI Learn the proper fundamentals of the chip and pitch shots–the scoring shots–and learn the proper club selection. Guaranteed to eliminate the dreaded sculled, fat and miss-directed shots. Bring your sand wedge and 9-iron. Don't have a sand wedge? Bring your pitching wedge and 9-iron.

    3:00 - 4:30 Building High Performance, Sustainable and Affordable Homes for HFH
    Presenter: Keith Kaan, Construction Supervisor, Mason, TX, HFH Affiliate Will show how to build homes that have summer electricity bills as low as $20 per month and reduced water usage by about half. Will justify construction of high performance homes with a payback for the improvements in less than two years. will cover the concepts of what, why, and how we do it. slides of recent builds and scale models will illustrate the construction techniques.

    3:00 - 4:30 Home Depot Workshop - Skill-centered
    Presenters: Staff of Springfield Home Depot Store

Warm regards,

Joyce Rush
New member coordinator

trips How to support the 25th anniversary build using Share.Habitat

Share.Habitat makes it easy for you to make a donation to the 25th anniversary build and to enlist your family and friends as well. You and they can also use it to stay informed about the progress of this exciting project.

  1. As a supporter you can see what's going on, encourage others and spread the word.
  2. You can also become a donor by clicking on "please donate." Donate by mail or secure credit card. Choose any amount. Donate anonymously if you prefer. It's all up to you.
  3. To maximize your impact, become a fundraiser. To create your own fundraising page on Share.Habitat, visit the campaign page, then:
    • Scroll down until you see the "Up your impact" box on the right hand side.
    • Click the last link in that box, which reads "Become a Fundraiser."
    • From there, you can choose to create an account through Facebook, or you can simply click "Sign Up" under the Facebook banner to just use your email.
    • If you are not using Facebook, just enter your name and email address and create a password.

Now that you've created an account, you will be taken to your fundraising creation page. You may edit this page by clicking on your Dashboard tab at the top, and then on the "Make Edits" link at the top. Personalize your page by:

  • Writing a short statement about why you're fundraising.
  • Setting a goal. How much would you like to raise for this cause? You can change the default amount to your choice. The end date and default donation are set for you, but you are free to change them.
  • Uploading photos that help tell the story of your support for this anniversary event. You may also copy and paste the URL to a video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo that will display on your page as well. Some content is there for you already, but you may delete it, move it around or add to it.
  • Telling your Care-A-Vanner story in your own words. Tell your donors why this event is important to you.

That's it! You're now ready to accept donations to your Share.Habitat fundraising page. You can add to the experience by doing the following three things:

  1. Click on the Dashboard tab at the top of your page to share your story using the promotional and email tools found there.
  2. Use the dropdown box at the top right of the page to edit your account settings. This is where you add a profile picture to show the world it's your page!
  3. Click on the Edit button in the strip at the top to update and edit your fundraising page.

If you have any trouble or questions with the process, please send Mary Campbell an email at macampbell@habitat.org. I'll answer as soon as I can and share helpful hints in future newsletters.

trips How to support the 25th anniversary build without using Share.Habitat

Let's face it. Some of us prefer good old-fashioned low-tech – writing a check! We need your support as well. To contribute to the 25th anniversary houses by check, simply write "25th Anniv. House – Project Code 1113001" in the memo line of your check payable to "HFHI RV Care-A-Vanners" and mail it to:

HFHI RV Care-A-Vanners
25th Anniversary Build
121 Habitat St.
Americus, GA 31709

So there are three methods to support the 25th anniversary build:

  1. Write a check as described above
  2. Donate online on the 25th anniversary donation page.
  3. Create your own fundraising page on Share.Habitat or donate on someone else's page.

From the registration desk

Hello from the sunny, but not necessarily warm, South!

This month's topic is the online waiver. A question I see on a regular basis: Why do waivers have to be completed? Habitat International requires that all build participants complete an online waiver. The waiver resides with Habitat International, where if ever necessary, we can access the emergency contact information.

Another question is: I've already filled one out for the affiliate - why do I have to do another one? The affiliate may or may not require their own - this is totally separate from the online waiver and will remain with the affiliate.

We've tried to make completing the online waiver as painless as possible. Please note that there are only a few required fields to complete with the online waiver. Besides your name, we need contact information should there ever be an emergency. No medical information is needed.

If your spouse/companion isn't nearby when you complete the registration, there will be another opportunity when you get the auto-reply back with a link in the message so he/she can then complete their own waiver. Consider that we have more than 200 active builds with hundreds of registrations to be processed. For me to have to send out a separate request (sometimes more than that) to have the waiver completed adds another step that really isn't necessary and is time consuming. Please help me out by completing the waiver on the front end. For all of you who complete the required waivers before receiving a confirmation back, I sincerely thank you.

Until next time!

Lu Tillotson
RV registration desk

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Mark and Bettye Adams, Tom and Kaylee Barker, Roy Boles, Robert Carl, John and Nancy Dezan, Barry and Donna Gustafson, Judy Howard, Bobbie Knorr, Julien Klaudt-Moreau, Hans and Judith Noiseux, Art Norris and Carol Cheek, Kelli Regan, Jay and Mary Rolfe, Rick Shaw and Kathy Kepler, Debra Tate, Kristi Thum, Bob and Pat Weithofer, Gary and Patty Wietgrefe.

Our apologies if we have included a seasoned Care-A-Vanner, or if this is duplication. Habitat for Humanity is grateful for the work that you do!

 Safety Corner

April is a very busy month for RV Care-A-Vanners. In addition to our regular builds, the Care-A-Vanner Program is celebrating in Springfield, Missouri, the milestone of 25 years of traveling and building homes for those in need. Just prior to the 25 year RV Care-A-Vanner Anniversary Build and Rally, the second Disaster Rebuild Training Course is being taught to help RV Care-A-Vanners prepare for the challenges we faces in a disaster rebuild.

During the build in Springfield, a four-hour safety course will be taught by fellow Care-A-Vanners who have taken a week of training in job site safety practices and OSHA rules. Our first class graduated 23 Care-A-Vanners as Competent Person Safety Trainers. Our hope is that every Care-A-Vanner will at some point be able to take this four-hour safety course. The course will cover ladder, scaffolding, and jobsite electrical and fire prevention safety in addition to various options of fall protection safety.

Habitat for Humanity International is partnering with the RV Care-A-Vanner Program to help educate affiliates across the county on job site safety. Our most important resource at Habitat is our volunteers and we take, as a priority, keeping all our Care-A-Vanners and local volunteers safe. Many Habitat affiliates across the country are requesting safety training and Care-A-Vanner safety trainers will help to meet this need on an ongoing basis.

Work safe!

Frank Peccia
Care-A-Vanner safety coordinator

Questions, cancellations or concerns?
1-800-HABITAT, ext. 7534
1-229-410-7534 (direct)
RV Care-A-Vanner staff contact info

Register for a build online
Step-by-step instructions

Roster updates
Please email updated roster information to rvinfodesk@habitat.org or ltillotson@habitat.org or call 1-229-410-7534. begin_of_the_skype_highlighting

Report Care-A-Vanner hours
Help us keep track of total volunteer hours contributed, and partner families served. Please email these stats from your drop-in or ongoing builds to rvinfodesk@habitat.org.

Donate to RV Care-A-Vanners
How to donate money or vehicles

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