October 2012 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

 Featured News

Dear Care-A-Vanners,
Fall is in the air here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we are sorting through our tools and packing up the RV for the 13th year in a row of Habitat work. It�s a great feeling, but along with that great feeling, comes a responsibility that fellow Care-A-Vanners and affiliates are counting on us to fill in a build team or to team lead a group of eager new Care-A-Vanners. Most importantly, a partner family is counting on us to help them complete their home so that they can move into decent, safe and affordable housing.

I have great respect for anyone who builds with the RV Care-A-Vanners. You folks are dedicated and reliable volunteers, but I need to ask just a little more of you. We need you to support this RV Care-A-Vanner program so that the program continues for as long as there are RVers who want to help. This program is growing by leaps and bounds and I will be sharing our latest statistics with you in coming newsletters. We are covering more affiliates, doing more builds and have now begun helping with Disaster Response. The responsibilities for your all-volunteer desk team have grown also. I am hoping to get two more laptops for our team so we can spread out the workload and have more Care-A-Vanner desk volunteers cross-trained in all jobs so as not to be dependent on any one person. That takes money. We do have some limited funds from grants, but it is important that we support our own program. Make a donation

The other area I need support in is team leaders. Our team leaders provide a vital function for our teams, our affiliates and the Care-A-Vanner desk. We count on them to not only, keep our teams safe, the Care-A-Vanner desk in the loop and the affiliates informed of our build team�s needs, but organize the happy hours that Care-A-Vanners are well known for. Please consider taking your turn at team leading. We are all in this together and we need to share in the responsibility of keeping the RV Care-A-Vanner program running and relevant.

Have safe travels and Dave and I hope to see you down the road somewhere swinging a hammer.

Mary Vandeveld

Team leader corner
We are heading toward peak foliage here in Maine. With the crisp blue skies, it doesn't get any prettier than this! However, this gorgeous time of the year comes with the reminder that cold and snow are on their way and we are outta here in about another month!

A big Care-A-Vanner "thank you" to our sensational September team leaders. They are: Robert and Pamela Garlett; Hank and Lorene Wellnitz; Ronnie and Rob Silver; Frank and Diana Peccia; Dan and Carolyn Banks; Tom and Diane Howlett; Chuck and Judy Sambs; Jim and Christine Dakin; Michael and Donna Botto; David Barber and Dyana Todd.

Some important reminders for team leaders:

  1. If there is ever an injury to a Care-A-Vanner during a build, you MUST contact the Care-A-Vanner desk and fill out an incident report which you will find in your team leader packet. It always causes us a bit of anxiety when we hear about an accident from an evaluation, which can easily be a month after the build.
  2. If someone contacts you about attending the build and they are not on the official roster, please refer them to the Care-A-Vanner desk. Even if they tell you they checked with the affiliate, they must register through the desk. There is often a waitlist and only the desk would know this. Please see Lu's column for more information about this.
  3. Please be sure to notify the desk if anyone scheduled on your build fails to show up, or if someone shows up who is not on your roster.

Thank you so much for all you do. Please take every opportunity to encourage people on your teams to take their turn at being team leaders. It is the only way this program can continue to grow and run as smoothly as it has been.

Brenda Sawyer

From the registration desk
As you read this, we are headed south after spending a glorious summer in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Mid-September, Larry and I joined fellow Care-A-Vanners for a short one-week build in Bainbridge, New York - what a treat to put faces to the names of the folks I've been registering and make new friends - those on wheels and those folks with whom we worked alongside for that week.

Quiz time: what is the difference between drop-in, ongoing and scheduled builds? Drop-in and ongoing builds are very similar - several affiliates have work year-round and welcome Care-A-Vanners to 'drop-in' after calling them first to see what work is available. You can check here for an updated list of ongoing builds: Ongoing build list. You can also check with whatever area you are visiting to see if the local affiliate needs help - we've helped out on Wednesdays in Massachusetts and Saturdays in Florida. The affiliate may not have the funding or planning capability to have a scheduled Care-A-Vanner build but they sure did appreciate our help as we �dropped-in' once a week.

A scheduled build is one in which an affiliate will need a dedicated team of Care-A-Vanners for a specific amount of time, typically two weeks. The affiliate will contact the RV info desk to post the build-specific information - location, dates, accommodations, cost (if any) and type of work involved. This information shows up on the scheduled build list. You, our dedicated builders, now 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 if you have willing hands and time - how dare we say no! There are a couple of reasons for this, with one reason being that the affiliate typically arranges for a specific number of rigs based on the amount of work to be done or parking space available.

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 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?

We encourage your phone calls and emails (see contact information below) to check on availability - we'll get back to you soonest with an answer, but please do call us first.

Until next time,
Lu Tillotson

Disaster Response

We have two active areas that need house leaders as well as builders right now. Can you read a blueprint, problem solve construction issues and lead a team of volunteers? Then you can be a house leader! To serve as a team member, no experience is required.

  • Northern Kentucky, hit by a March 2012 tornado. We have listed a number of two-week builds from early August through the fall in support of Dan. And we have recently added build slots and are looking for more builders, not just house leaders. We have had a good response to these builds that are listed as Morehead, KY on our website. There are no special skills required to sign up for the Morehead builds, just don�t expect a lot of luxuries. You are there to get some people in desperate need of housing into homes. We are looking for house leaders starting in the spring and running through next fall for Morehead. Once we get house leaders in place, we will list scheduled builds in support. If you are available as a house leader, contact me directly at mvandeveld@habitat.org
  • Southern Indiana hit by the same March 2012 tornado and is where Bill Moriarty is looking for house leaders from Oct 15 through Dec 15th. If you are available, please contact Bill at: tworunaways@yahoo.com or 954-304-0549.
  • Dry Ridge, Kentucky was also affected by the same tornado system. In Dry Ridge, we have a family who lost everything. There is no affiliate in their county, so the Cincinnati affiliate has stepped up to rebuild their house. We have a scheduled Care-A-Vanners build there listed for Nov. 11 for two weeks. Please go to the website to sign up

I have firm dates for the RV Care-A-Vanners/Disaster Corps Training. It will be held in Americus, GA March 18 - 21, 2013.There will be no charge for the class and we will arrange camping at no charge. Arrival date will be March 17 and departure will be March 22, 2013. If you would like to attend this class, please contact me at mvandeveld@habitat.org. This class will not be required before you can act as a house leader on a Disaster Response build, but it is recommended.

Memoriam In Memoriam: Dee Lundstrom

By Diane & George Gravlee

We learned recently of the death of Dee Lundstrom on July 18, 2012. She and her husband, George, were one of the original Gypsies, turned Care-A-Vanners. George died some years back and Dee sold their motor home and settled back into life at home in Scotia, New York. She kept in contact with many of her RV Habitat for Humanity friends up until several years ago when her memory began to fail. She died peacefully after having had a stroke only two weeks earlier. Many of the early Care-A-Vanners will remember Dee's laugh and keen sense of humor and her beloved dog, Lady. Our prayers go with her family.

trips Upcoming Builds

Spartanburg, South Carolina has a build starting Jan. 20, 2013. This is a new affiliate for us and despite the January date, that is when they need some help. RV sites are being donated by the Freightliner Corporation at their Gaffney repair facility. So do a build and get your oil changed at the same time!

Waterloo, Iowa is looking for some drop in help to finish up some projects before winter. If you are interested, please contact Amanda at volunteer@heartlandhfh.org or 319-235-9946.

We add new builds whenever an affiliate schedules one. We try to update the list on Fridays. Click on the build list, so that you can check over the weekend to see if any new ones have been added. Builds are now sorted by date when the list comes up. You can sort by state by clicking the link at the top of the list.

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Edward and Gail Avance, Bob and Pam Bono, Robert Brown, Catherine Dale, Bob and Sandra Fresh, Jo Beth Griffin, Larry and Ty Jones, Lowell and Linda Lamont, Dave McRae and Roberta Duncan, Clayton Rollins, Sonja Strickland, Nate Wyman.

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

 Safety Corner

Ladder Jacks

One of the tools we haven't talked much about that fits into the ladder and scaffold family is the use of extension ladders with ladder jacks and a plank. For residential construction, ladder jacks can be used up to 20 feet of elevation off the ground. The trick is that once you pass the 6-foot mark, you have to have fall protection in place. This means railings or safety harnesses. Most of my experience with ladder jacks is they are used above 8 feet which would normally require some type of fall protection. The higher you go, the more critical this becomes as the risk of serious injury increases. When you reach 8 feet or above you may want to consider scaffolding which is a much safer alternative, easier to access, more stable and more room to maneuver.

Sometimes ladder jacks on extension ladders work out better because of the situation. Just remember the need for fall protection. Also keep in mind that you must use ladders that are Type 1A and a plank that meets the deflection requirement which for all practical terms is very minimal (deflection that is no greater than 1/60 of the length). The old idea of using a 2x10 or 2x12 with ladder jacks 14 feet or more apart will give too much spring and cause a dangerous situation, besides being too narrow. A 14-inch aluminum plank or specifically engineered wood scaffolding plank is required. See the OSHA regulations at: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Work safe,
Frank Peccia,

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

Team Leaders needed
Email Brenda if you are available.
  • Oct. 21-Nov. 4, Lucedale, MS
  • Oct. 21-Nov. 4, Macon, GA
  • Oct. 28-Nov. 11, Thibodaux, LA
  • Nov. 4- Nov. 18, Macon, GA
  • Nov. 11-25, Dry Ridge, KY (Disaster Response)

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