May 2014 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

Featured news

Hello Fellow RV Care-A-Vanners,

Well our 25th Anniversary Build and Rally has come and gone and what an event it was. Many thanks to all the Care-A-Vanners who made the event such a success. We accomplished a few other things at the rally besides building and rehabbing houses. We trained 29 new disaster rebuild team members, thanks to a grant from Disaster Risk Reduction and Response at HFHI. All 189 Care-A-Vanners took our safety course and despite the usual, "I know enough about safety" comments, everyone walked away with a heightened sense of job site safety. Twelve of our Competent Person safety trainers were in Springfield and they taught the safety course and monitored our job sites. They were very well received by the both the builders and the affiliate and it turned into a wonderful opportunity for our CPSTs to get some on-site job training. Most importantly, no one got hurt! Not one accident.

For those of you who missed the 25th Anniversary Build and Rally, I would like to share some of Jonathan Reckford's message to the Care-A-Vanners. He spent a day and evening with us, survived my golf cart driving on his tour of the campground and was able to visit with many of the Care-A-Vanners one-on-one. In his message, he said the RV Care-A-Vanners are a volunteer-driven group that require little direction. You, as Care-A-Vanners, are a blessing to the local affiliates you serve and to the entire ministry of Habitat. Care-A-Vanners have embraced new dreams and are willing to help provide a variety of housing solutions so we can touch more families with our willingness to work on rehabs, Critical Home Repairs and A Brush with Kindness projects. We play an important role in advocacy for Habitat by now highlighting it in our monthly newsletter and being out and about in the communities where we build bringing the message of breaking the cycle of poverty by moving closer to a world where everyone has a decent place to live. In other words, we are building loudly. Finally, he stated that Care-A-Vanners are innovative and adaptive, cooperative and capable. He closed by thanking all Care-A-Vanners for all we do and said Habitat was counting on us to help more families realize their dreams. Sounds like a call to action to me and we, the RV Care-A-Vanners, are up to the task!

To help, go to our build list and sign up for a build or two or three! Help by recruiting your neighbors in campgrounds to our mission. Most importantly, thank you for all you do.

Safe travels north and I hope to see you on a build soon.

Mary Vandeveld
RV Care-A-Vanner coordinator


Remember: Send Mary Vandeveld photos of your builds or newspaper articles. You have been lax lately and I want pictures! 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 I want to hear from all of you!

Team leader corner

Hello from Maine, where Spring continues to tease us with brief appearances.

It was so wonderful to meet many of you at the 25th Anniversary Build and Rally. Wasn't that a great time?

A special thank-you goes out to those of you who served as team leaders at the rally: Bob and Betty Gillespie, Jeff and Judy Rothwell, Larry and Diane Mock, Ty and Larry Jones, Lowell and Gwen Larson, Lucius and Danielle Herrmann, Mary and Tony Campbell and Steve Detwiller. Leading other builds in April were Maria Ishida, Mike Wilber and Frank and Diana Peccia.

Our May team leaders were Larry and Margot Durham, Darrell and Ellen Devault, George and Dian Gravlee, Michael and Gloriann Kramer, Tom and Judy Fox, Harry Fritts, Clint and Kathy Norrell, Steve and Jan Scully, Glenn and Carol Dunn, Ron and Jean Gratz, Larry and Ty Jones and Jim and Kris Langley,

Remember, if you've been thinking about becoming a team leader but are not sure what's involved, contact me at 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 think my begging has started to pay off. More people are checking this box. Thank you!

Reminder: As team leaders, it is important to remember that the Care-A-Vanners "serve the affiliate." This means that we do what they ask us to do, when they ask us to do it and how they ask us to do it. It is perfectly acceptable to offer a different technique but, ultimately, we do it the way the affiliate requests. Similarly, it is perfectly acceptable and recommended that the team leaders determine the number of hours the team works in a day, but we generally work the days the affiliate requests.

  • June 8-22 Waterloo, Iowa
  • June 22- July 7 Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • July 20- August 3 Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • July 20- August 3 Ashton, Idaho

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.: I am sorry to announce that Moore is no longer on our build list. Their building program was not a good fit for the RV Care-A-Vanners, so for now, we will not be helping in Moore.
  • 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, so sign up for Tuscaloosa and give some families that hand up that they need.
  • Superstorm 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 I will notify Care-A-Vanners on my list first about build opportunities there. To date, we have no builds listed in Sandy-affected areas, but I hope that changes shortly.
  • 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 Repairs. We are starting our first project in Lyons, Colorado, by sending six disaster rebuild team members as house leaders. At this time, we are not sending Care-A-Vanner teams, but I expect that will follow at some point. I just talked to Loveland, Colorado, again and they will be listing a build soon for the last two weeks in September. This is not a flood recovery build, although families in Loveland's service area were affected. This build will give the affiliate a chance to see how much Care-A-Vanners can help in the future. 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

Featured Builds

New affiliates: Durango, Colorado, is asking for help all summer. I have listed nine builds throughout the summer in Durango, so let's show them what Care-A-Vanners can do! These are not flood recovery 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.

 Safety corner

After spending a week in safety classes and another building it's time to talk about safety.

Something that may be changing as affiliates embrace advanced framing, which minimizes the lumber used in walls, is internal wall studs will change from 16-inch spacing to 24-inch spacing. Normally this does not pose a safety hazard. What I'd like you to watch out for is a combination of 24-inch stud spacing and a basement or second story. With 16-inch stud spacing, walls along stairways meet the 19-inch max spacing requirement for railings along a wall opening. When studs are moved to 24-inch spacing, then there is a need to provide a lateral railing (top and mid rail). Top rail is 42-inches give or take 3 inches. Mid rail is half the distance to the floor. Remember also with stair openings you need to have railings on temp stairs that will withstand 200 lbs. of force on the top rail. If no stairs are built yet then the opening must be completely protected by a railing (top rail and mid rail).

Work safe,

Frank Peccia
Care-A-Vanner safety coordinator

Windows to Washington

"Ask not what your country can do for you�"

If you are reading this newsletter, you likely know exactly how that quote ends. Not only that, you can probably hear JFK's words from 1961 in your ears right now. More than half a century later, members of national service programs like AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA provide vital support to the daily operations of Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the country. Unfortunately, the future of these valuable programs is not guaranteed.

In 2009, Congress passed the Serve America Act, which was the largest expansion of national service since the Great Depression (and – here's a bit of Washington trivia – was introduced by JFK's brother Edward M. Kennedy). In the five years since, the 2,443 AmeriCorps members to work with Habitat have provided 4,446,900 hours of service, helped build or rehabilitate 11,434 Habitat homes and engaged more than 1 million of our volunteers. The timing of the passage of this law could not have been better; when many nonprofit organizations bore the brunt of the economic downturn, Habitat's AmeriCorps members raised nearly $20 million.

The Serve America Act was designed to expand national service and allow more Americans the opportunity to serve while also gaining leadership skills and hands-on experience. But right now, some in Congress would like to cut funding to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency (despite the word "corporation" in its title) that oversees the national service programs that help Habitat affiliates serve partner families and support Habitat initiatives like the ReStores. As one of the original organizations to partner with CNCS 20 years ago, Habitat recognizes how AmeriCorps members increase our capacity to serve more families across the United States.

To keep our programs going, we need you to join us in asking Congress to adequately fund CNCS in the FY15 budget. Make your voice heard today by signing this petition – and then sharing it with others!

Also, lest you assume that all AmeriCorps members are young whippersnappers fresh out of college, we think you'll enjoy this post from Neal Pointer, a Vietnam veteran and AmeriCorps VISTA member. We also encourage you to take 90 seconds to meet Theo, the new face of Habitat advocacy.

trips Collegiate Challenge and Care-A-Vanners

I am writing this article on the fifth day of the 25th Anniversary build. What a great time I have had seeing so many friends we have built with over the years and helping to rehab a Habitat home that was vacated to bring it up to par. Others worked on various other houses, including a new construction project, but there was plenty of work and plenty of down time and fun!

There are now listings for supervising college students (CC builds) online in two locations: Delray Beach, Florida, and Indiantown, Florida. Both affiliates are looking for help for each of the weeks starting March 1, 8, 15 and 22, 2015. Consider these builds for a stay in Florida next March.

There is still room as well on the Anchorage, Alaska, 2014 CC builds, which are actually Global Village builds that need the assistance of a few Care-A-Vanners to supervise the Global Village teams that come to build there over the summer. These builds are 10 days in length and the starting dates are June 14, July 5, July 26 and August 16. Consider flying up and spending part of your vacation helping the Anchorage affiliate if you don't want to drive your RV all the way up

Diane Gravlee
Collegiate Challenge coordinator

trips Anniversary Celebration "And a great time was had by all."

This was the opinion of those RV Care-A-Vanners who attended the just-completed 25th Anniversary Build and Rally in Springfield, Mo. Not to brag or anything like that, but the organizers were very pleased that everything related to the event went like clockwork, starting with the cool weather (but no rain) on check-in day. Nearly 80 RVs checked in to the Ozark Empire Fair Grounds at their appointed time and were guided to their assigned parking site by experienced marshals, all without congestion on the single narrow road serving the RV sites.

Almost without exception, everyone got leveled up and hooked up satisfactorily. The few exceptions were some external circuit breaker pops and internal regulators that needed to be run in "override" mode. As time wore on, however, those incidents tapered down to zero and nobody ran their hair dryers and microwaves at the same time.

The Springfield affiliate group, in conjunction with the Care-A-Vanner build management team, had established a list of projects that included new construction, remodeling improvements and a big start on a complete rehab. The eight build teams were working on a schedule that involved rotating among the projects during the two weeks of building. Initially thought to be complicated, the rotating schedule was thought to be a good way to expose Care-A-Vanners to the different types of projects, all in a short period of time.

The rally events on the weekend were also excellent. The seminars covered a wide variety of subjects of interest to Care-A-Vanners and each of them was well-attended. The golf seminar actually ran an extra session. Larry Gluth, executive vice president, and Jonathan Reckford, CEO, HFH International, were in prominent presence during the rally and addressed our evening dinners each evening.
The organizers believe that the overall success of these combined events, the builds and rally, was ensured by the involvement of 39 percent of the attendees in one aspect or another of the events. The high level of participation in the design and execution of this program was very typical of the smaller scale build projects we are all accustomed to.

Of major importance during the two-week program was the attendance in safety training by everyone at the build. The safety trainers were able to attain their certification for continued field safety training, an important step in the ongoing expansion of the safety culture going forward. All the graduates also received "safety certified" hard hats for wearing on their next build projects. Future build team leaders will be looking for those familiar yellow hats to be in use, just above the safety glasses.

The feeling around the field as this event drew to a close was "see you in five years at the next one!"

The organizers want to take this one more opportunity to express our appreciation for all the contributions and hard work of the many people who had a hand in pulling this off, and to say, "Thank you, one more time!"

Jane and Joe Gano
25th anniversary event coordinators

For those of you who hanker for the potato casserole served at the King's Way UMC, here it is. I have no guarantees for servings but here is the recipe from Pastor Jon Spalding.

2 lbs hash browns
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 cup of Cornflakes
1 stick of butter melted

Bake at 350 for one hour.

From the registration desk

Greetings and happy spring to all our RV Care-A-Vanners! I'm sure you are just as happy to see this past long cold winter become history as we are.

Whew! What a wonderful time we had celebrating the Care-A-Vanner program's 25th anniversary recently. Many thanks to all who organized the event. Parking and check-in went so smoothly, the really bad weather forecast during the two weeks stayed clear, the rally itself was spectacular and no injuries occurred during the two weeks of 190 Care-A-Vanners building. Well done!

But my absolute favorite part was getting to finally meet most of you face to face after having processed your registrations for the past three years. What a thrill to put a face to a name, and confirm what I already knew - you are all great people! A very sincere thank-you to all who surprised the Care-A-Vanner desk team with special recognition during the rally. Please remember that without you builders, we wouldn't be needed - thank you for all that you do.

Until next time!

Lu Tillotson
RV registration desk

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

James and Kristine Gillio, Michael and Patricia Giaraffa, Karl and Paul Hatrak, Linda Hofman, Stan Lemons, Elvin Lowe, Ron Schwartz, Mike and Ann Stauffacher, Ben and Jeannette Vanderlugt, Al Lochner.

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!

Questions, cancellations or concerns?
1-800-HABITAT, ext. 7534
1-229-410-7534 (direct)
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