July 2013 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

Featured News

25th Anniversary Build and Rally Info: Drive, Build and Bond

When: April 21-May 4, 2014
Where: Springfield, MO
Event: Two-week build with a rally on the middle weekend (April 26-28)
Who's invited: Current and past RV Care-A-Vanners and HFHI staff
Camping: At the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, 3001 N. Grant Street. Entry at Gate 4 off Norton Road. No early arrivals please.

Amenities: Not much, but we have a place to camp together, fellowship and, most importantly, build! Although the fairgrounds are large and our rally hall is nice, the campsites are marginal and tight with few full hookup sites. There is a huge variation in the length and width of the sites, so you will have to trust the staff to match you up to a site that fits. It may be tight, but you'll fit. Included in your rally fee will be two pump-outs by a honey wagon. Your campsite fee is subsidized by the RV Care-a-Vanner program to keep the build and rally more affordable.


Cost: $190-$335. The cost includes all your camping, the rally, entertainment, plus two dinners and the coffee hours during the rally. There will be a cash bar at the rally. Fees increase by $50 after January 1, 2014.

Please print this guide to have in front of you when you register.

How to register:

  1. Registration opens Aug. 1, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
  2. Go to our regular build registration page. Look for Springfield, Mo., listed for April 21, 2014, for build and rally registration or Springfield, Mo., listed for April 26, 2014 for rally-only registration.
  3. The prices listed below are for two people. Singles save $50.
  4. The following is the key to the RV sites. Build and rally are GV14-0061 thru GV14-0069:
    • GV14-0061: Small full hookup site, less than 15 feet wide. Cost: $335.
    • GV14-0062: Medium full hookup site, 15-18 feet wide. Cost $335.
    • GV14-0063: Big rig full hookup site, larger than 18 feet wide. Cost $335.
    • GV14-0064: Small water and electric site, less than 15 feet wide. Cost $270.
    • GV14-0065: Medium water and electric site, 15-18 feet wide. Cost $270.
    • GV14-0066: Big rig water and electric site, larger than 18 feet wide. Cost $270.
    • GV14-0067: Small electric-only site, less than 15 feet wide. Cost $215.
    • GV14-0068: Medium electric-only site, 15-18 feet wide. Cost $215.
    • GV14-0069: Big rig electric-only site, larger than 18 feet wide. Cost $215.
    • GV14-0070: Build and rally, dry camping. Cost $190.
    • GV14-0071: Rally only, dry camping. Cost $150.
    • GV14-0072: Rally only, staying offsite. Cost $140.
  5. PLEASE sign up for the smallest site you can fit in. If you desire more amenities, and there are no more sites available in that category, you can be put on the waitlist for that build number just like on a regular build, but please also sign up for your second choice so you have a spot reserved. If a spot opens up for the build number for which you are waitlisted, you will be notified and given the opportunity to swap. The important thing is to register.
  6. You will receive an initial confirmation from Lu Tillotson at the registration desk, followed by a confirmation from Kelly Sosland (habitatcav@gmail.com) that you are booked for the build and rally with your requested amenities, or for the rally alone. Your individual site assignment will be made at a later date. Kelly's phone number is 830-456-2672.
  7. If you are staying offsite, you must make your own reservations. For you folks staying in a hotel, we have a deal with La Quinta Inn East. Just mention Habitat for Humanity to get the $62 per night rate. The hotel is located just off I-44 at Exit 80. The phone number is 417-520-8800.

Payment: By check only, mailed to the RV Care-A-Vanner desk, 121 Habitat Street, Americus, GA 31709. Be sure to write 25th Anniversary Build and Rally in the check memo and make the check payable to the RV Care-A-Vanner program.

Cancellation policy: There is $75 cancellation fee prior to March 21, 2014. There will be no refunds after that date.

What to expect: We will be doing new construction, home renovations and A Brush with Kindness. Everyone, by rig, will be divided into build teams and will have an opportunity to experience all three build opportunities. We will have morning teams and afternoon teams.

Rally schedule:

  1. Building is Tuesday-Saturday both weeks.
  2. The rally begins Saturday evening with a social hour and dinner.
  3. Sunday and Monday schedule:
    • 8-8:30               Coffee and donuts hosted by the Springfield HFH affiliate
    • 8:30-12             Seminars
    • 1:30-3:30           Seminars
    • 5-6                    Social hour
    • 6-7                    Dinner
    • 7-8                    Entertainment
  4. An HFHI safety certification course will be offered during the week in half-day sessions. You will be assigned to a class during the build. Our goal is to get all the Care-A-Vanners safety-certified at the rally.

The Care-A-Vanner desk staff and event organizers look forward to meeting and building with all the Care-A-Vanners. There is room for everyone! Do not miss this historic event and celebration of 25 years of building safe, affordable and decent housing.

God Bless and Safe Travels,

Mary Vandeveld
RV Care-A-Vanner coordinator

On Facebook 

New program! Read all about it!

The RV Care-A-Vanners program is forming another partnership in HFHI, this time with the construction/safety folks. As many of you know, OSHA has targeted residential construction for stricter safety standards in 13 areas, and our affiliates need to be brought up to speed.

Safety Specialist Don Hartle's mission is to provide competent person training to all 1,500 affiliates, so on each and every job site there will be a safety-trained individual. The ultimate goal is zero accidents on Habitat job sites. To accomplish this, Don needs a team of trainers, and he is looking to the Care-A-Vanners to find people interested in taking the training and then traveling around the country — on your own schedule, of course — to hold training sessions for affiliates. This doesn't mean you have to give up building.

I know we have Care-A-Vanners with job experience and Care-A-Vanners who just have an interest in safety who would enjoy this training. I am also looking for retired educators who would be willing to be trained to do trainer-to-trainer workshops, teaching people how to teach adults. If you are interested in receiving more information, contact Mary Vandeveld at mvandeveld@habitat.org. This is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new program that will benefit all of HFHI and the affiliates we serve.  

trips In Memoriam

In Memory of Robert (Bob) Kitterman
It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Bob Kitterman, 78, on July 3, 2013. Bob and his wife, Marge, were two of the very early RVers in our program, back when we were still called Gypsies. They traveled for 10 years in their motor home and helped build houses in various states. They were part of the advisory committee that selected our new name of Care-A-Vanners. When we were looking for someone to live in Americus to run the RV desk, Marge volunteered. Naturally, Bob needed something to do, too, so he took over the management of the Habitat for Humanity gift store, which was located at that time in the main office building in Americus.

After their retirement from those Habitat for Humanity duties, they moved to Fort Mill, S.C., where Bob worked a few years at the local KOA campground. He most recently served on the board at Habitat for Humanity of York County. Bob was a big, tall guy with a gentle nature and heart of gold, and he was always handy on a build in those places where a ladder didn't quite fit. His enthusiasm for building was infectious, which was instrumental in making our program grow.

Bob died unexpectedly but peacefully, with his family at his side. He has been cremated and wanted his ashes spread in the ocean, which the family will do at a later time. Marge has shared that the family figures that he is probably fixin' the pearly gates right now with his Habitat hammer. We hope that he will keep a few unrepaired spots for the rest of us to join him when the time comes!

Donations can be made to Unity Presbyterian Church, PO Box 1267, Fort Mill, S.C. 29716, or to Habitat for Humanity of York County, 825 N. Anderson Rd., Rock Hill, S.C. 29730. Cards can be sent to Marge at 1019 Platinum Dr., Fort Mill, S.C. 29708. Our prayers and sympathy are with Marge and the family.

Team leader corner

First, let me thank our joyful June team leaders. They are Kim Hansen, Fred Winslow and Sharon Adair, David Barber and Terry Eggert, Robert and Doris Myer, Monte and Nancy DeVore, Lowell and Gwen Larson, Glenn and Carol Dunn, Greg and Karen Harbage, Bob Gillespie, Ty and Larry Jones, Johnnie and Pat Dekle, Gene and Doris Peters, Gary and Sandy Dode, Robert and Pamela Garlett, Mike Jager, Juan and Barbara Delgado, Carl and Linda Schmidt, Roxanne and Dave Draves, and Cheryl and Alan Schmiedt. Thank you one and all. You are key to the success of our mission.

Just a little reminder: If you communicate with anyone at the RV Care-a-Vanner desk about a particular build, it is very helpful to have the GV build number and the date, so that we can look it up quickly and accurately.

A word about devotions
This topic has come up recently in discussion and on evaluations. Some potential team leaders have declined the opportunity because they are not comfortable with devotions and do not consider themselves religious. Devotions are a good way to start the day and can cover anything a person chooses to share —a poem, a statistic, an interesting story, a personal experience or a highlight from the previous day's work. Team members, local volunteers, board members, family members and construction staff can all be encouraged to pick a day to lead devotions. Devotions can, but do not have to, conclude with a prayer. If a team leader is not comfortable leading a prayer, he or she can offer a moment of silence for private reflection, or invite others to lead the prayer.

As a team leader, you may have team members who do not want to take part in prayer. If that is the case, they should be invited to take part in the devotion and step back for the prayer. Because instructions for the day are usually given before or after devotions, you should be sure that the team member is present for that part of the morning meeting.

Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, and while not all who participate (volunteers and partner families) share the same religious beliefs, we all share the Christian value of working together to end substandard housing. In a time of ever-growing diversity, it is important that we make room for people of all faiths and beliefs to stand with us as we join together with a common goal of helping families obtain decent, safe and affordable housing. May all who come feel welcome.
If you've been thinking about becoming team leaders but are not sure what's involved, contact me at bsawyer@habitat.org, and I will send you the guidelines. Also, don't forget to check the “team leader interest” box on your registration if you are willing to lead the build.

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

July 28-August 11 Iron River, MI
August 4-18  Tacoma, WA
August 11-September 1 Sheridan, WY
September 9-22 Mankato, MN
September 8-22    Des Moines, IA
September 8-22    Pagosa Springs, CO
September 22- Oct 6  Omaha, NE
September 22-October 6   Columbia, CA

Thank you,
Brenda Sawyer
Team leader coordinator


Disaster Response

  • West Liberty, Ky. (formally known as Morehead, Ky.): West Liberty lost 500 housing units, many low income, in the March 2, 2011, tornado. I have scheduled builds through early November. We need Care-A-Vanners late summer and into the fall.
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Tuscaloosa is rebuilding following the massive tornado in 2011. I have listed the Tuscaloosa builds on our website through next winter, including some Collegiate Challenge builds in March 2014. No experience is required to work at Tuscaloosa, and I have heard from builders that it is a great place to work. Thanks to a grant from the RV Care-A-Vanner Program made possible by Larson Manufacturing, there are now eight full hookups sites in Tuscaloosa.
  • Superstorm Sandy Relief: We have completed two builds in Toms River, N.J., ground zero for Superstorm Sandy. I have gotten a great report from the first builders in Toms River. It was a quality experience, and the affiliate was terrific. Several affiliates have just received significant funding, and I have been told to expect a need for Care-A-Vanners, so stay tuned. If you would like to be on my email list for Sandy recovery, please send me a note to mvandeveld@habitat.org. I will notify Care-A-Vanners on my list first about build opportunities.
  • Granbury, Texas: Fifty-eight Habitat homes in Granbury suffered significant damage. Fortunately, all the homeowners are OK. One house we lost was to be dedicated the next weekend after the storm, and the family was ready to move in. Disaster assessments are still being done and cleanup is underway. We will have a presence in Granbury when they are ready to rebuild. If you would like to be on my e-mail list for Granbury or Moore, Okla., please contact me at mvandeveld@habitat.org.
  • Moore, Okla.: What a tragedy, with 1,200 homes destroyed and 12,000 sustaining damage. It will be a while before they need us, but I am keeping a combined list for Moore and Granbury for Care-A-Vanners interested in helping with the rebuild effort.
  • And finally, your prayers worked. We have had no more major disasters since the last newsletter!

trips Upcoming Builds

Lu and I have changed our policy of when we list builds. It was a matter of survival! We now list the builds as they come in.

Builds that are very popular, such as Alice, Texas, and Mason, Texas, will be listed on a specific day and time (10:30 a.m. PST for our Care-A-Vanners on the West Coast) and that date will be announced in the newsletter. That gives you another reason to read the newsletter cover to cover!

Mason, Texas, registration went very well. The builds filled in about six minutes. We appreciate everyone's patience.

Don't forget those Springfield, Mo., builds for our 25-year celebration and rally in 2014. Registration opens on Aug 1, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Although we have room for everyone, our sites with amenities are limited, so sign up early. 

Featured Builds

  • Check out the Omaha Framing Frenzy starting Sept. 22, 2013. They are framing four houses. If you love to frame, this is the build for you! Apply here.
  • Remember check out my Facebook page for the latest on build listings.
  • Check out our build list. There is lots of work for everyone, and many new affiliates. We need to fill these builds so we get invited back next year. If you are on a waitlist for a build, look at the build list and see if there is a build nearby that needs help.

trips Collegiate Challenge and Care-A-Vanners

Our new way of listing Collegiate Challenge one-week builds has proved very successful. Many of the builds already listed for spring 2014 are full, and most have at least one rig registered to help supervise the students. The newest affiliate to ask for Care-A-Vanner crew leaders is in Phenix City, Alabama. Just look for the "CC” after the name of the city and state if you think you might like to spend a week next spring with a young, energetic team of students!

Diane Gravlee
Collegiate Challenge coordinator

trips Anniversary Celebration

Well, time marches on, and the Care-A-Vanners 25th Anniversary celebration inches closer and closer. Next thing you know, registration will open and people will start signing up. I thought I would take a few paragraphs and try to paint a picture of what will be happening in Springfield next April.
The big picture is that we have a build of two weeks, with a rally event over the weekend in between. The Springfield Habitat affiliate is hosting our build activities and plans a mix of new construction, A Brush with Kindness projects and a small amount of renovation work. There will be plenty to do for everyone.

This affiliate hosted a very successful build in April and May of this year and demonstrated their flexibility by engaging the Care-A-Vanners who were there (including me) in different types of work as the weather sometimes kept us from our main construction work. They are very excited that our event is taking place in their back yard next year, and are looking forward to having us there.

They have developed a Habitat Village subdivision near the fairgrounds where we will be camped, and the new construction will likely be in that area. We will form build teams with team leaders in a traditional sense and work with the staff of the affiliate through our leaders and supervisors.

The work week is Tuesday through Saturday. We'll work until lunchtime Saturday, and then everyone returns to camp and the anniversary rally festivities begin. Lots of fun activities and entertainment are planned for each day and evening. There will be informative seminars each day, including important ones on worksite safety. One of the objectives of this event is to provide an opportunity for everyone to become safety-certified. Seminars are scheduled only for Sunday and Monday, given our offset and compressed schedule. There are banquet plans for Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings, and these are included in the rally registration fee, as are the seminars. Evening entertainment after dinner is provided, too.

Here will be the opportunity to meet with the folks at the Care-A-Vanners desk whom you probably know about but perhaps have never met, and on whom the smooth operation of our program very much depends. This is what our celebration is all about — meeting, greeting and celebrating. You will find people here with whom you worked on a build some years back. Rebuild past links with coworkers, remember the coworkers who are not still in the program, and hoist a few in celebration of them and those who are still building futures for families in need.

When the party is over, on Tuesday morning, we return to the second week of the work schedule and will be back at our building tasks. The goal is to finish the projects to the point that they can be turned over to the affiliate for completion and occupancy. There will be a build scheduled for follow-up and completion at the end of our two-week celebration.

If you have questions or concerns, please email them to me at ganoja@gmail.com.

Y'all come!

Attention, quilters!


We have a project started for all of you who want to make a fabric contribution. The project people are Paula Huls at randphuls@gmail.com, and Cindy Hopkins at sewingbelle56@yahoo.ca. Paula is in Redmond, Wash., and Cindy is in Midland, Ontario, in Canada. When you send squares, consider whether it's best to send them to the U.S. or Canada. Be sure to contact either Paula (for the U.S.) or Cindy (for Canada) for the correct mailing address.

These folks will collect everyone's contributions and coordinate the assembly of the quilt, which will be raffled off at the Rally to benefit Care-A-Vanners projects. Quilt squares of 12.5 x 12.5 inches are welcome contributions. The overall theme is the 25th Anniversary of the Care-A-Vanners. If you would like to participate in the assembly of the quilt, please send your name to one of these people and plan to bring your sewing machine to Springfield.

Jane and Joe Gano
25th Anniversary Event Coordinators
Jane: janefgano@gmail.com
Joe: ganoja@gmail.com

From the registration desk

July finds us spending time at our seasonal site here in the beautiful Berkshires Mountain in Western Massachusetts, and life is good.

This month's topic: scheduled builds. What are they, and should you just drop in without registering if you happen to be in the area? Part of this was covered in the October 2012 newsletter, but it bears repeating.

A scheduled build is one in which an affiliate needs a dedicated team of Care-A-Vanners for a specific amount of time, typically two weeks. The affiliate contacts the RV info desk to post build-specific information — location, dates, accommodations, cost (if any) and type of work. This information shows up on the build list. You, our dedicated builders, then have an opportunity to register for these builds.

Now, can you drop in on a scheduled build? The short answer is: not without checking with us at the RV info desk. You may wonder why you can't just drop in. Here you are with willing hands and time — how dare we say no? There are a couple of reasons for this, one being that the affiliate typically arranges for a specific amount of RV sites, and there may be a space or budget issue.

But the number one reason is that we on the registration desk are the only ones who know if there is a waiting list. When there is a cancellation for a full build, we start contacting the folks on the waiting list in the order in which they signed up to see if they want to fill that slot. Once we have exhausted the list, the build is opened back up for registration to anyone. Put yourself in that waiting list person's safety shoes: Would you want someone to jump ahead of you when you followed the registration process? Bottom line: Please email me at ltillotson@habitat.org before you drop in, and I'll be more than happy to register you for the build if there isn't anyone on the waiting list.

If you need to cancel, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone (1-800-422-4828, ext. 7534). I don't need to know why you are cancelling — life happens. Our primary goal is to staff our scheduled builds based on the affiliate's request. When there is a cancellation, I check the waiting list and try to fill that cancelled slot. If you forget to contact me, that build won't have the full team expected. The first comment I get from the team leader or affiliate if someone doesn't show up as planned is, "I hope they are OK." We may not have met you, but we do worry about you. So please, don't be a no-show.

Until next month, enjoy summer wherever you are and keep those registrations coming!

Lu Tillotson
Registration coordinator

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Terry and Sharon Currier, George and Sharon Hilton, Gary Humes, Mickey Jensen and Susan Toensing, Bill and Linda McDonald, Leo and Jean Melanson, James Osterlund, Rebecca Redford, Roger and Joy Rossman, Tom and Sandy Sorensen, Gordon and Marie Sprentels, Carl and Martha Turner.

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

I wanted to share with you a comment by Don Hartle, HFHI safety specialist, in response to an inquiry by our Care-A-Vanner coordinator, Mary Vandeveld. Don's comments address the causal reasons for accidents.

"Every accident is caused by an unsafe act or unsafe condition, or a combination of both. The unsafe act is someone doing a task unsafely, e.g., not wearing safety glasses or standing too high on a ladder. The unsafe condition would be a damaged ladder that's not tagged and removed or an extension cord on site that's missing a ground pin.

Obviously the worst situation is the combination of the two, e.g., someone knowingly using a damaged ladder or knowingly using a faulty cord or tool. However, workers must be properly trained to recognize these hazards. If they aren't, then shame on the site supervisor or affiliate. That in itself is an unsafe act. Accidents are caused by these acts or conditions 96 percent of the time. Translated, a good safety director will find the faulty event 96 percent of the time; only 4 percent are caused by a fluke or an act of God." Work safe; be safe.

Frank Peccia Alan Davis
Care-a-vanner safety Safety and training director - retired
frank@allensweather.com rakenjake2@hypercon.net

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.

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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