October 2013 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

Featured News

Hello RV Care-A-Vanners,

We just returned home from a build in Grand Rapids, Minn. What a nice affiliate and they spoiled us. After doing Disaster Response builds, I am not used to having lunch brought everyday by many local volunteers from churches and civic groups. We ate a lot of sloppy joes and they were delicious every time! We had very nice campsites donated by the Army Corps of Engineers, including electrical sites, with water and a dump station available in the campground. That meant we had to pull our jacks up halfway through the build and empty our tanks and fill with fresh water.

So what should you expect at an average build? Campsites: When an affiliate registers a build, I require a minimum of 20 amps electrical and access to water and a dump station somewhere within a few miles. Most builds provide more than that, and I am always grateful if we can hook up more of our umbilical cords. Price: I encourage affiliates to get the daily camping rate as low as they can and that will attract more builders, but I don't want them taking money out of their 2 x 4 budget to pay for my camping. After all, we are volunteers and it shouldn't cost the affiliate money to host us.

That principle of not costing the affiliate money to host also applies to lunches. Grand Rapids hosts one build a year and they have great community support. It was nice to visit with the folks who brought lunch and share our volunteer stories, because they were doing many great things in their community and deserved a big thank-you too. I do personally have some dietary restrictions and quietly brought some snacks I could eat and thanked the people who brought lunches and snacks for their contribution to our "five pound build." Some of our affiliates host many builds or don't have the community resources to provide lunches every day or even at all. That's OK; I am fine with packing a lunch and I hope you are too.

Another issue that comes up is arriving at a build late or leaving early. I had several conference calls scheduled while I was in Grand Rapids and I always asked my team leaders a day ahead if I could take the time away from the build for the call. Of course, they always said yes, but the point is, I informed them. We discourage people from arriving late or leaving early, but there are always exceptions. Please notify your team leader and the Care-A-Vanner desk if you are going to be late or have to leave early.

I encourage affiliates to schedule their builds six to nine months ahead of time, giving you plenty of lead time to make your travel plans. Grand Rapids had planned to have us framing up a new home start, but because of permit delays, we ended up doing finish work. I hear all too often, "I don't paint." A house has to be completed, including being painted, before a partner family can move in and we must do whatever the affiliate needs us to do to get that family in their new home. Everyone on our team in Grand Rapid painted with smiles on their faces.

Driving through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on our way home at the peak of fall colors reminded me of how lucky Dave and I are. We can travel at will and we have the resources to give back to help partner families without resources get into safe affordable housing. The RV Care-A-Vanner Program is a vehicle to make that volunteer opportunity possible. We give of ourselves doing anything the affiliate asks us to do to further their mission and we are grateful for anything we receive to support our stay in their community.

I want to thank you all for making this program a success and for all you are doing to end poverty housing. I hope you are signed up for our big celebration in Springfield, Mo., on April 21, 2014 for our 25th Anniversary Build and Rally where we can honor your service and get more families into safe, affordable housing.

Mary Vandeveld
RV Care-A-Vanner coordinator


Special announcement: Tony and Mary Campbell have been nominated for Good Sam RVers of the year for their work with Habitat for Humanity and the RV Care-A-Vanner Program. It will take our votes for them to earn this well-deserved honor. They are responsible for resurrecting our program, expanding our build list and working closely with Habitat's IT department to make online registrations possible. Please go to www.goodsamclub.com/vote and vote for our very own Tony and Mary Campbell for a job well done. Thank you! My vote is cast already.

News from HFHI: Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, is going to join us at our rally, along with Mark Andrews, vice president of volunteer and institutional engagement and Allyson Drinnon, associate director of volunteer and institutional engagement, and my mentor. All will speak at the rally, either in a seminar or at an evening event. Jonathan is flying in and will spend some time in Joplin at my request, with the Springfield affiliate and then with us. His transportation while he is in Springfield: a motorhome. We are making him an honorary RV Care-A-Vanner and driving him around in style. Mark Andrews is thinking about renting an RV to camp and build with us. Here is your opportunity to talk with the senior management of HFHI and share your experiences as an RV Care-A-Vanner.Let's show them how many RV Care-A-Vanners we can pack into fairgrounds, and how many projects we can complete in two weeks. I am so pleased that Jonathan, Mark and Allyson are taking the time to show their support for the RV Care-A-Vanner program.

trips In Memoriam Robert Hippler

Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to Judy Hippler, upon the death of her husband, Bob Hippler, of Castalia, Ohio. Bob, who was 74, died at Stein Hospice Care in Sandusky on September 25, 2013, after a brief illness. He and Judy joined the Care-A-Vanners in 2006, at which time they drove to Slidell, Louisiana, to help with rebuilding efforts after Katrina; they continued to be active builders both on the road and with their local affiliate.

Bob was born April 25, 1939, in Norwalk, Ohio. He was an active member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Sandusky and an active alumnus of St. Mary's High School. He was a true Indians, Browns and Buckeyes fan and coached little league when his kids were little. He retired from the former Pick-N-Pay/Finast and Tops stores in Sandusky in 2001, after 41 years of service as the meat manager and his meat department was award-winning.

In his spare time, Bob enjoyed working in the yard, mowing lawns, listening to music, family vacations and cooking steaks for Care-A-Vanner friends, who came by to visit. He also loved playing cards and games. He and Judy had an ongoing card game through the years and he especially enjoyed Rummy Cube with friends and family. Many of us will remember how Bob preferred working with Judy on Care-A-Vanner projects; he could be found holding a kitchen cabinet in place, nailing a wall intersection together while Judy marked the plates, or holding the chalk line for lay out. They were a team.

Bob is survived by Judy, to whom he had been married 52 years, and three children, Lisa Hippler, Rob Hippler Jr. and Marty (and Rachelle) Hippler. He was also survived by four siblings.

Judy has asked that memorial donations be given to their local affiliate Firelands Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 308, Huron, OH. 44839. Please put Bob Hippler Memorial From RV Care-A-Vanners in the memo. Judy's address for notes and cards is: 5610 Debra Dr., Castalia, OH. 44824.


Remember: Send Mary Vandeveld photos of your builds or newspaper articles. If you would like to submit anything to the newsletter, such as a good story, a new way to do things, construction tips 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! Just send your contributions to mvandeveld@habitat.org. 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! 

Team leader corner

First, a hearty "thank-you" to our stellar September team leaders. They are: Don and Sandra Platt; Rick and Paula Huls; Steve and Sue Detwiller; Lisa Crawford, Gretchen Heilman; Dan and Carolyn Banks; Ron and Jean Gratz; Michael and Gloriann Kramer; Tom and Judy Fox; Clint and Kathy Norrell; Mike Jager; Glenn and Pat Tanis; Frank and Diana Peccia; Jeff and Karen Greenstreet; Ty and Larry Jones; George Wallner and Rosanne Schoemehl; Lavern and Sue Clark; Milo and Dee Jackson; Dyana Todd; Warren Hopper and Janet Blair; Kimberly and Andrew Hansen; and Doug Augustine. 

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 bsawyer@habitat.org and I will send you the guidelines. Remember, lack of construction experience is not an excuse for not being a team leader. 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 team leading. Also, don't forget to check the "team leader interest" box on your registration if you are willing to lead the build.

A word about reporting hours from a build: Please be sure to include the number of hours you spent before, during, and after the build on team leader activities. This includes calls to the host affiliate, emails to the team, thank you notes, etc.

I hope to get to meet many of you at the Care-A-Vanner 25th Anniversary Build and Rally. I have been asked to give a seminar on team leading. I will cover some basics but am still hoping to get some suggestions or questions beforehand, to know what is most important to you. Please share things you have learned from experience that has made the role of team leader easier, as well as challenges you have faced. In addition, I am always looking for topics for the newsletter. I would love for any of you to write a short paragraph or two about why you choose to serve as team leaders on a build. Perhaps that would encourage others to join the team leader ranks.

I will be in Nepal from October 16- November 9, leading a Fuller Center Global Builders team. Mary and Lu will keep an eye on my mailbox while I am gone and will answer your inquiries as quickly as possible.

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

  • October 27- November 10        Tuscaloosa, AL  Disaster Response
  • October 27 - November 10       Goldsboro, NC
  • November 24 - December 8      Dade City, FL
  • December 1 - December 22      Mandeville, LA
  • January 5 - January 19             Tuscaloosa, AL Disaster Response

Thank you and happy hammering!

Thank you,
Brenda Sawyer
Team leader coordinator


Disaster Response

In response to some survey comments, I would like to review what a disaster build is. RV Care-A-Vanners are really rebuilders. We go in when it is time to rebuild and stay until every affected family is in a home, which can take years. It can take months or even a year or two before an affiliate has built enough capacity, raised enough money, selected partner families and are ready to begin the rebuilding process. When we deploy to a disaster build, we are there to do whatever the affiliate needs. We must remember that there were families in the pipeline for a house before the disaster, and they have just as much of a need for housing as families affected by the disaster. On a disaster build, do not expect free lunches, luxury RV sites or time off to play tourist. Do expect to be exhausted every night, put lots of miles on your tow (think carpool), and make do with fewer tools. But you will leave with a sense that you made a difference, and with a warm heart. Those things are priceless. 

  • 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 arrived just after Labor Day and have secured RV parking at the fairgrounds in Norman, Okla., for a rate of $7.50/day. That is full hookups and 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, 2014 and running into November 2014. If you would like to be on my email list for Granbury/Moore and get regular updates, please send a note to mvandeveld@habitat.org.
  • 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. I have scheduled builds through early November. We need Care-A-Vanners late summer and into the fall. Greg, the executive director there, would love to have Care-A-Vanners throughout the winter, so if you are passing through at a time we don't have a build scheduled, get in touch with me at mvandeveld@habitat.org. I am currently looking for house leaders for next year so I can schedule build teams, so if you can act as a house leader (read a blueprint, solve construction issues and lead a build team), contact me. There is still housing to replace after the devastating tornado.
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala: Tuscaloosa is rebuilding following the massive tornado in 2011. They now have room for eight RVs at their volunteer facility. 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. I have an urgent request for builders through the end of the month in Toms River. If you are available, please contact me at mvandeveld@habitat.org. 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.
  • Granbury, Texas: Fifty-eight Habitat homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado in Granbury. Fortunately, all the homeowners were okay. Disaster assessments are still being done, cleanup is underway and some housing has been built with the help of local volunteers. 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 mvandeveld@habitat.org.

trips Upcoming Builds

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.  

Alice, Texas: Alice filled in four minutes and registration seemed to go well. If you did not get on Alice, there are many more builds to choose from, so don't be discouraged, but rather go to our build list and select another build. I have many more build slots than I have builders right now, so I need everyone working!

trips Collegiate Challenge and Care-A-Vanners

There are still some openings in four different locations in the early spring in a southern climate. If you are experienced and could help supervise students, please consider signing up for any of the following one-week builds. Most of them need only one more RV and you would be working with at least one other Care-A-Vanner rig.

  • Phoenix City, Ala., for weeks of Feb 9, Feb 16, Mar 2, Mar 9 and Mar 23.
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala., for weeks of Feb 23, Mar 2, and Mar 30
  • Albany, Ga., for weeks of Mar 2, Mar 9, Mar 16, Mar 23 and Mar 30
  • Indiantown, Fla., (these are two weeks long) for Mar 2-16 & Mar 16-30.

Diane Gravlee
Collegiate Challenge coordinator

trips Anniversary Celebration

From the 25th RV Care-A-Vanner anniversary organizers
The publicity about our upcoming event and conversations in the early registrations has raised numerous questions about some details of our venue and our program. Here are answers to many of them. If you have questions about any aspect of the build, the rally and/or the venue, please send them in.  

Golf seminar: Previous information about the golf seminar may have suggested that putting techniques would be part of the instruction. More accurately, the seminar will be about pitching and chipping techniques. This is the important part of golf called "the short game." Better shots onto the green would put a player into a better position for a good putt, which comes later. 

Grey water: There have been questions about sanitation arrangements for the sites without a sewer connection. To review the grey water and black tank provisions, we cannot dump grey water onto the grounds due to city ordinances to the contrary. There is a dump station on the grounds and we have a septic service for two pump outs (cost included in your registration) during your stay. They will be on the grounds on Friday and again on Tuesday of our event. 

Shower locations: As part of conservation of water-in-the-tanks during the event for electric/water sites, two shower facilities are conveniently located near those sites. One, newly remodeled, is in the Wells Arena, one of the agriculture buildings, and the second, also very clean, is in the main arena building.  They will be marked on the map of the grounds when it is distributed on arrival. 

Lunches: The local affiliate in Springfield has advised us that, due to the number of people present on the various work sites, the customary lunch catering by outside groups cannot be provided. Churches or local businesses often provide lunch service for Care-A-Vanner workers in build groups of 15 or 20 individuals. There will be more than a hundred workers during our event. 

Team assignments: There have also been questions about team assignments for the work teams during the builds. As the registration process is still open and people are actively still signing up, teams cannot be made up at this time. Final assignments to work teams will be announced before the anniversary event and will be randomly made.                                                  

Entertainment: The anniversary celebration rally will feature entertainment programs each evening. 

  • Saturday: the Care-A-Vanner desk staff will present original work.
  • Sunday: Jeff Gordon, a well-known singer and entertainer who performs in Branson and in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas during the winter season.
  • Monday: Program of recognition and celebration with featured speaker, Jonathan Reckford,      Habitat for Humanity CEO.

Registration payments are due quickly after confirming arrangements with event registrar, Kelly Sosland at habitatcav@gmail.com. Arrangements that have been made are not firmly finalized until payment is received at HFHI.

  • Note: We are aware of some confusion caused by the receipt sent to some of you for your registration fee. It is a computer-generated form normally used for donations. Rest assured we humans know the difference and your registration fee has been received and correctly accounted for. We are working on finding the offending computer for "reprogramming."

Share.Habitat: An important part of participating in this event is financially supporting the building program to which we are committed. The best way for individuals to make their contributions and become fundraisers on their own is to use the Share.Habitat website.
Visit our Share.Habitat page, then sign up as a fundraiser and ask your friends, neighbors and family to help you help our cause.  Refer to the section below for more information on using Share.Habitat.
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
Jane: janefgano@gmail.com

Joe: ganoja@gmail.com

trips Three ways to support the 25th Anniversary Build

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 just 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 macampbell@habitat.org. I'll answer as soon as I can and share helpful hints in future newsletters.

From the registration desk

Greetings from Mountain View, Arkansas, the folk music capital of the U.S.! In between some picking and grinning, I've been kept busy with a slew of registrations, and I love it! Be sure to check out our scheduled builds list for 2014. There are lots of choices out there, and still more to come. 
And let's not forget our momentous 25th Care-A-Vanner Anniversary Rally in Springfield, Mo., next April.  Registrations for the rally are off to a great start, but there are still plenty of sites available. Don't forget, if you can't snag a full hook up site, there will be a free pump-out each of the two weeks for sites with water and electric or electric only hookups and there is a dump station on-site. Register to join in the fun and fellowship and what we do best � building affordable homes to help eliminate poverty housing.   

If you've registered for a build recently, you may have noticed a change in our online waivers. They've been modified slightly from what Habitat International uses, more in line with more specific RV Care-A-Vanner needs and requirements. Please note it is now a three page waiver. The first page is the most important. Keying in your contact information is required, but you don't need to provide your health history, nor your prescriptions, unless you want to. Be sure and click each page to complete the entire waiver process.

Because the online waiver is now event-specific, in other words, the completed waiver will be attached to the build for which you've registered, if you register for more than one build, you will be required to complete a waiver for each one. 

You may wonder why it is necessary to complete an online waiver during registration, and also another one for the affiliate. Should something happen to one of our builders, we at the Care-A-Vanner desk are available 24/7 and can quickly access your emergency contact information � we aren't limited to a five-day work week.

Another change you may notice is that there is a link both during the registration process, and again in the automatic reply you receive after registering, that enables you to have your traveling companion also complete a waiver in his/her name. Please do complete this step.
Until next time!

Lu Tillotson
RV registration desk

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Ray and Cheryl Beecraft, Dennis and Carolyn Daily, Joe and Susan Ellwanger, Nancy Gillum, Steve and Pat Jackson, Leigh Jaques, Richard and Mary Jo Jelinski, Ken and Lynn McArdle, Wayne and Nancy Lindstrom, David and Mary Nowak, Mike Skinner, Zane Stabb, Jane Wallukait, Kathy Wheeler, Mike and Lori Wilber.

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

Installing Hardie Board Siding.  

I have written about Hardie Board in a past article and want to keep this in the forefront as you work with this product. Please visit the Hardie website for more information. The key problem to watch out for is silicosis. 

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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