November 2013 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

Featured News

Hello RV Care-A-Vanners,

Dave and I are making our annual trek south to Americus as we speak, and none too soon I might add. So I thought this would be a good time to update you on the program.

Our fiscal year runs from July through June, so I have some stats on what we are doing. The Care-A-Vanner Desk has felt busier and here is why: Over the last two years, we went from 108 builds to 169 builds and from 1,405 builders to 1,628 builders. We served 285 families a year ago and 521 families this year. But let me translate your efforts into something easy to understand�money. According to a volunteer calculator website that HFHI uses to calculate the value of volunteer time, the RV Care-A-Vanner program donated $2,481,384.78 in labor last year! Congratulations!

Now, I am going to ask you to do more. We are on pace to surpass last year's numbers by a lot, but I am also cancelling more builds than ever because no one has signed up. We have an active recruiting and retention program for RV Care-A-Vanners, but you can help. Talk to your RV friends and your campground neighbors, and help us recruit new Care-A-Vanners. If you would like some program brochures, just send me a note and mailing address. I also have a digital copy I can email to you. You can refer interested RVers to Joyce Rush, our New Member Coordinator at And finally, you can go to our build list and sign up for one more build this year.

I would also like to have everyone building April 21-May 4, and the only place you can build then is in Springfield, Mo., at our 25th Anniversary Build and Rally. A lot of work has gone into this event to make it memorable and fun. Senior management from HFHI, including CEO Jonathan Reckford, will be there, and most importantly, we will build homes, rehab houses and do A Brush with Kindness projects for a number of families. Your registration fee includes camping, entertainment, two dinners, and morning coffee and donuts on rally days and seminars. Please join us for this one-time event and support your RV Care-A-Vanner program. For sign-up details, you can review July's newsletter. You can also help us raise funds for two houses by sending a contribution through our website or by doing what Dave and I have done: Setting up your own fundraising page on Share.Habitat, and asking your friends to help with fundraising. It is wonderful to pat ourselves on the back for donating $2.4 million in labor last year, but we need money to buy 2x4's for this project, so think about a donation as a Christmas gift for family and friends.

Thank you for all you are doing � all the building and donations you have made. Keep up the good work, and together we can help end poverty housing.

God Bless,
Mary Vandeveld
RV Care-A-Vanner coordinator

Explanation of Registration Fees for 25th Anniversary Event

Some of you have asked about the registration fees for the anniversary event next April, and we would like to answer you here, so all readers will see the same information.

The RV parking fees are for 13 nights at three types of sites: full hook-ups, electric and water, and electric only. Those fees are $195 ($15/night) for full hook-ups, $130 ($10/night) for electric and water, and $75 ($5.75/night) for electric only. Because of the length of the stay, two sanitary service calls are included in these fees for the electric/water and electric-only sites. While a few build sites have no RV fee, most have a nominal charge, and we believe that these fees are typical or lower than at most build sites ($15, $10 or $5.75 per night).

The balance of the total fee ($140) is for rally expenses, and entitles you to three catered banquet meals for two people, access to entertainment events and helps cover the rental of the central hall for our seminars and meetings. Singles pay a lower rally fee ($90) because they are only paying for banquet meals for themselves.

Much thought and planning went into the development of this fee structure. We checked out other organizations that put on rallies, and even though our two-week period is much longer than a typical long-weekend rally, our total fees are lower than others.


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 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!

Online RV Care-A-Vanner merchandise: Do you want to help us advertise our program? You can now purchase a vanity plate and key fob combo for only $4.95 at the online Habitat store. If this goes well, T-shirts and hats will follow!

Visit the store

Team leader corner

First, a hearty "thank you" to our October team leaders: Jeff and Karen Greenstreet; Bill and Ardelle Pickering; Dyana Todd; and John and Kathy Boyden.

Wouldn't you like to join this distinguished group? 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. Remember, lack of construction experience is not an excuse. Organization and people skills are what are important. Did you know that when no one agrees to be team leader for a build, it falls on me to collect information from the host affiliate and communicate that to the team? With the number of builds we are currently scheduling, that can result in a lot of work, so PLEASE take your turn at leading. Also, don't forget to check the "team leader interest" box on your registration if you are willing to lead the build.

Change in policy: We will no longer be offering pre-registration to those offering to serve as team leaders on a particular build. For our most popular builds, we will hold back one spot until a team leader has been recruited from among registrants. Once someone agrees to be team leader, we will offer the reserved spot to the next person on the waitlist. If no one agrees to serve, we will offer the spot to the first person on the waitlist who agrees to serve as team leader. If you have any questions about this change, please feel free to contact me.

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

  • Nov. 24 � Dec. 8: Dade City, Fla.
  • Dec. 1 � Dec. 22: Mandeville, La.
  • Jan. 5 � Jan. 19: Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Disaster Response)
  • Jan. 5 � Jan. 19: Dade City, Fla.
  • Jan. 5 � Jan. 19: 19 Sebring, Fla.
  • Jan. 12 � Jan. 26: Hobbs, N.M.

Thank you, and Happy Hammering!

Thank you,
Brenda Sawyer
Team leader coordinator

Disaster Response

  • Moore, Okla.: What a tragedy, with 1,200 homes destroyed and 12,000 damaged. The executive director of the affiliate that serves Moore has requested help to increase their construction capacity. Dan and Carolyn Banks have completed their mission in Moore and have secured RV parking at the fairgrounds in Norman, Okla., for a rate of $7.50 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 March 9 and running into November 2014. If you would like to be on my email list for regular Granbury/Moore updates, please send a note to
  • West Liberty, Ky.: (formally known as Morehead, 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 next year. That means we will not have to have house leaders on every build as we have done in the past. I will be posting next year's builds in West Liberty soon. Sign up 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. If you have any questions, contact me at
  • 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 the builders who have been there 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 hookup sites there.
  • Superstorm Sandy: We have completed three builds in Toms River, N.J., Ground Zero for Superstorm Sandy. I have gotten a great report from builders there. It was a quality experience, and the affiliate was terrific. We have also deployed two RV Care-A-Vanner Disaster Rebuild Team members to Staten Island, New York, (without their RV) to follow up after the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. According to reports, they are getting a lot done, and the affiliate is very happy. 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.
  • Granbury, Texas: Fifty-eight Habitat homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado in Granbury. To date, Granbury has not requested outside help in their rebuild effort, but we will be there when and if they need us. If you would like to be on my email list for Granbury, Texas, please contact me at

Featured Builds

Toms River, N.J., was Ground Zero for Superstorm Sandy. Remember the roller coaster in the water? That's Toms River. Throughout the summer, we have had teams in Toms River, and they have accomplished a lot. Now they are looking for people who are good mudders/spacklers and masons. So anyone out there who is good at block laying or dry wall finish and can go anytime this fall, please let me know. I would like to finish the job we have started there. If you are interested, you can contact me at

Don't forget those Springfield, Mo., builds for 2014! Yes, our 25-year celebration and rally. Registration opened Aug. 1. Although we have room for everyone, our sites with amenities are limited, so sign up early. I will be posting a follow-up build in Springfield after the anniversary build and rally is complete. This will be a regular two-week Care-A-Vanner build to clean up whatever needs to be done to finish the houses we plan on building. Watch for that listing over the next few weeks. That build will run May 4 - May 18.

Check out our upcoming build list. I have builds listed into the fall of 2014, so sign up early.

trips Collegiate Challenge and Care-A-Vanners

A big "thank you" to those who have already signed up to assist affiliates hosting students in February and March. There are still a few holes here and there if you think you might be interested in working with these energetic and excited students. Most of these builds are only a week long and might be a good way to see if you enjoy working with students, and if you have the experience to help teach building tasks. Go to the scheduled list of building sites and look for cities with "CC" after their names.

Places still needing help for one week at a time are:

  • Phenix City, Ala.: Weeks of Feb. 9, Feb. 16, March 9 and March 23
  • Albany, Ga.: Weeks of March 2, March 16, March 23 and March 30
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Weeks of March 2 and March 30

Places still needing help for two-week builds are:

  • Indiantown, Fla.: March 2-16 and March 16-30

Diane Gravlee
Collegiate Challenge coordinator

trips Anniversary Celebration

In Case You Need More Reasons to Come to Springfield

Of course, the main reason to be in Springfield next April is the 25th Anniversary celebration for Care-A-Vanners. Maybe you were considering coming early or staying late. There are excellent reasons to think along those lines, as there is plenty to see and do in southwest Missouri.

The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds will open for registered build/rally attendees on Monday, April 21. There are two convenient RV parks in the immediate Springfield area that could be used for early arrivals or late departures, and several more in the Branson area, a short drive south of Springfield.
We have arranged a special rate of $35/night at the Springfield/Route 66 KOA just west of town. It is a very nice park with many amenities. There are limited spaces at the special rate, so don't wait. Call 417-831-3645 and mention "Habitat" for your rate. There is also a KOA in Branson, but no special rate has been worked out there.

A second site, more basic but with full hook-ups, is southeast of town along US 65 at County J just behind Lambert's Café. (You remember throwed rolls, don't you?) The Stage Stop RV Park is a smooth, gravel park with a rate of $25/night. Call 417-830-1184 or visit the Stage Stop website to make a reservation.

Bass Pro Shop has its world headquarters in Springfield, and its largest store is downtown. It takes up an entire city block and has all the toys and clothes you could imagine. There is a decent restaurant in the store if you get hungry while admiring or buying the sporting goods. And the restaurant has a terrific aquarium with lunchtime fish feedings.

Springfield is considered to be the home of Route 66. The historic Park Central Square in downtown houses an exhibit entitled "Woodruff's Dream," a reference to the establishment of Route 66 in the 1920s and its track through Springfield. Also in Park Central Square is a self-guided walking exhibit of a shoot-out that involved "Wild Bill" Hickok. Street markers show the positions and movements of the participants and QR bar codes will send an explanatory narrative to your smart phone.

There are numerous opportunities to dig deeper into Civil War history in the Springfield area, as it was the site of several major battles, including the Battle of Carthage and the Battle of Springfield, and there is a large library of Civil War reference material at the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, as well as a self-guided driving tour of that battlefield.

If you are more inclined to the entertainment world, Branson is just 45 miles down U.S. 65. One could spend several days in Branson, taking in shows, dining in any of the seemingly hundreds of restaurants, and. of course, shopping.

Finally, if you want to stay longer, the Springfield affiliate will soon post a post-Rally build session of two weeks to finish up the projects that we could not wrap up during our event.


Our participants have had good early success, and we want to encourage everyone to go to Share.Habitat to investigate the possibility of having friends and neighbors make a contribution to our wonderful goal. It is a simple as going to this website �  � setting yourself up as a contributor or fundraiser, entering the email addresses of the people you think might make contributions, and letting HFHI do the rest.

Web notes: Be sure to check the 25th Anniversary Web page for ongoing updates and new information about this great event.           

Jane and Joe Gano
25th Anniversary Event Coordinators

Attention QUILTERS!
And Future Quilters: Become a Sew & Sew!

Want a small, short project to complete? Try making one block for the 25th Care-A-Vanners' anniversary and sending it to Paula Huls (USA) or Cindy Hopkins (Canada) before Dec. 31. We have a few blocks but certainly could use more! Here are the guidelines:

1.  Size: Finished block should measure 12 ½ inches x 12 ½ inches.
2.  Theme: Care-A-Vanners' 25th anniversary.
3.  Color scheme: None. Let your imagination soar.
4.  Due date: Dec. 31.

If you reside in the U.S., please send your block to Paula Huls at 9514 � 167th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052. If you reside in Canada, please send your block to Cindy Hopkins, 393 Mildred St., Midland, ON Canada, L4R 3R7.

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.

As a supporter you can see what's going on, encourage others and spread the word.

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.

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 I'll answer as soon as I can and share helpful hints in future newsletters.

From the registration desk

Greetings on this beautiful autumn day in Huntsville, Ala. � our old stomping grounds before we hit the road fulltime more than 10 years ago! In another week, we'll head down to Tuscaloosa to help with the 2011 tornado recovery there, meeting up and building with some awesome Care-A-Vanner friends.

Have you checked out our Scheduled Builds page lately? There are more than 140 builds � lots of choices across the country. And while you're there, don't forget to register for the 25th Anniversary Build and Rally.

Speaking of 140 builds, if you need to contact us, either by phone or email, about any issues, whether it's a contact information change or a cancellation, please give us as much information as possible in your message. With that many builds and builders, we need some prompting to more easily find your account.

Thanks to all who are completing the online waivers now attached to each build. If you miss the section for your travel companion or spouse to complete his or her own waiver, you'll have another chance when you get the auto-reply email after you have registered. Getting this step done on the front end saves us some time on the Registration � we surely appreciate that!

Until next time!

Lu Tillotson
RV registration desk

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Keith and Lynda Bergeron, James and Connie Carver, Pam Case, Carrie Clay, George and Agnes Courville, Jr., Jonathan and Betty Crane, Delbert and Diane Goff, Sandra Hayes, Greg and Jill Hunter, Ralph Isak, Thomas Jensen, Cheng Liu, Scott and Kim Maltman, Maureen Momsen, Lisa Proffitt, Joe Thurston, Don and Amy Vassar, Tim and Gwen Whelan.

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

One item I have not covered in depth is the wearing of hard hats on the construction site.

OSHA requires that hard hats be worn whenever there is the possibility of head injuries. On a construction site, this certainly covers all steps in drying in a house (outside construction work). Interior tasks such as painting, floor installation and interior trim would not require hard hats unless there is possibility of head injury or the affiliate requires hard hats as a matter of practice.

Wearing a hard hat backwards so the bill is toward the rear does not meet OSHA requirements, nor does wearing a hard hat loosely over a baseball cap. As a practical matter, not all hard hats are the same when it comes to comfort, fit, and staying on your head. I have one that has an adjustment dial in the rear so that I can tighten or loosen it to fit the situation. If you are participating in Habitat builds throughout the year, you may want to consider buying your own. It's some of the cheapest insurance you can buy to prevent injury.

Frank Peccia Alan Davis
Care-a-vanner safety

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 or 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

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

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