September 2012 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

Alice, Texas sign-up
There will be two Alice builds, both lasting three weeks. The first build starts on Jan. 6, 2013 and the second on Feb. 24, 2013. We already have team leaders for both builds. Since these are very popular builds, we are going to try to make the signup as fair as possible. All signups will be online. The build will be listed on Tuesday, Sept. 18 on the webpage shortly after 11a.m. EST.

Good luck and remember there are many affiliates that need our help besides Alice!

 Featured News

Dear Care-A-Vanners,
Dave and I just returned from doing a build in our own backyard of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It had been a few years since we did a scheduled build, as we had been working the winter months doing an ongoing build, or "flying under the radar," as Mary Campbell calls it.

We both had some apprehension about the build. After all it would take two weeks out of our six weeks of summer we get here in the Upper Peninsula and it was a rehab! That apprehension soon melted away as we greeted our team one by one. What a fun and talented group. We stayed at a lovely resort on a large inland lake. Ted and Sally were the owners and they treated us like family, including a steep discount for the RV sites.

Our project was to finish a rehab on a house build around 1920. The house had good "bones" but as usual nothing was square, level or plumb. We did electrical, plumbing, painting, repairs, poured cement and spruced up an old garage. We also laid a lot of ceramic tile in the affiliate's volunteer center.

This was the affiliate's first experience with the RV Care-A-Vanners and we left an impression. They treated us very well and were very grateful for our help. They are already planning next summer's builds.

What did we learn from this build? Hey, rehab isn't all that bad. We would have loved to live in that house. We were reminded of what a wonderful group the RV Care-A-Vanners are and there are some terrific affiliates out there who can really benefit from the RV Care-A-Vanner program. And finally, we have eight new friends!

Thanks for a great build.

Mary Vandeveld
RV Care-A-Vanner Coordinator

Team leader corner
First, a big thank you to our awesome August team leaders. They are Dave and Mary Vandeveld, George Wallner and Rosanne Schoemehl, Frank and Diana Peccia, George and Karen Hopper, Mark Cotter, Jim and Betty Spencer, Kelly Sosland and Carole Westphal and Dan and Carolyn Banks, who are the ongoing leaders of our disaster response in Morehead, Kentucky.

Remember, when it comes to being a team leader, communication and organizational skills are more important than construction skills. Please don't let your lack of construction experience keep you from volunteering to be a team leader. Builds listed with the Care-A-Vanners must have a full-time construction supervisor for the build. If construction skills were a requirement, I would certainly never be a team leader!

That's it from the team leader corner. I hope you enjoy this glorious fall weather, wherever September may find you.

Brenda Sawyer

Roster updates:
Please make corrections to the roster by emailing the updated information to or or call us at 229-410-7534.

From the registration desk
Our time here in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts is winding down - before you know it, we'll be pointing our motorhome's wheels south before those snowflakes arrive.

A major favor to ask of our awesome Care-A-Vanners - if you have an existing account and are having trouble logging in to register for a build, please call or email us before setting up a new account. We can manually register you until we can get the log-in snafu straightened out. This has cropped up several times in the past couple of months. Having a duplicate account creates some havoc within the Care-A-Vanner database - your new account will not reflect any of your prior builds. If I can spot a duplicate account quick enough, I can ask the IT department in Americus to fix it but sometimes it slips by me and some type of transaction will occur with that new account and then it's too late to get them merged. Please call or email using the information below and we'll get it done, or if it's a build that is quickly filling up and you want to ensure a spot, call Mary Vandeveld at 920-737-0507. Thanks!

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 was hit by a March 2012 tornado. We have one house leader, Dan Banks, who is there now. 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 sign up for these builds that are listed as Morehead, KY on our website. There are no special skills needed 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 could also use another house leader or two in Morehead anytime between now and late fall. If you are available as a house leader, contact me directly at
  • Southern Indiana was 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: 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 are in need of a house leader from Oct 15 - Nov 25 to guide an AmeriCorps team followed by a CAV team. There is a sign-up for that CAV team on our website. If you are interested in being a house leader for this build, please contact me at

I have some tentative dates for the disaster response class. It will be held in Americus, GA, March 18 through March 22, 2013. Pencil those dates into your schedule. There will be no charge for the class and we will arrange camping at no charge. There will be more on the class in future newsletters.

trips Upcoming Builds

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.

New affiliate builds RV sites:
A big welcome to the Macon, GA affiliate, which has put in six RV sites at their office/Habitat ReStore location to host RV Care-A-Vanners. We are dedicating the sites on Nov. 1, 2012, so if you are in the area, come by for the dedication. You can contact Mary Vandeveld at for more information on the dedication. We have four builds listed with Macon this fall and will soon list more builds for after the first of the year. So let's show our appreciation and fill the Macon builds.

Special request from Hardee County, Florida
The Hardee County Florida Habitat Affiliate has a unique need-- we would like to engage a retired couple who are seeking housing to provide construction and administrative support to our affiliate.

Our offices and base of operations are in a large historic home in Bowling Green, Florida, but could easily be the retirement home for a couple. If you are interested, please contact Kathleen Roehm, volunteer coordinator.

Habitat for Humanity of Hardee County
502 E. Main St
Bowling Green, FL 33834
Office phone: 863-375-2160
Cell Phone: 863-781-0051

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Vicki Cali-Smith, Robert Danbeck, Dick Erfle, Laura Gaisior, Dan and Merlene Goan, Bill Gott, Michael Jager, Effie Neth, Harvey Russell and Marge White, Wes and Candy Walhood, Jeffrey and Kim Zink.

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

One of the areas that needs some consistency among all of us Care-A-Vanners is the question of what to do if you see a safety problem. If it's something that you as a team member can help correct or suggest a change to a coworker who is at risk then certainly go ahead and do it.

If you see something that is affecting a group of people or a person is asked to do something that you see as inherently unsafe and making a suggestion to the person at risk is not the solution, then express your concern to your team leaders for that build. It's their responsibility to manage the overall relationship with the affiliate and safety for the Care-A-Vanners on the job site.

Team leaders will look at the problem or unsafe condition and decide what action to take or not take. Normally if something is not able to be solved by a simple change in how something is done, then the team leaders may need to contact the construction manager on the site to resolve the unsafe situation. This usually solves the problem. If the team leaders are not able to resolve the problem with the site construction manager, then the team leaders have the option of calling the Care-A-Vanner desk to discuss the problem. Each step elevates the problem up the line of authority until there is resolution.

In summary the communication is:
Team members should always try to assist other team members in an unsafe situation or contact the team leaders if unable to do so. It's the team leader's role to engage the affiliate or the Care-A-Vanner desk if needed. If we all follow this process then we will minimize confusion and miscommunication between the team and affiliate while ensuring a safe work site.

Work safe,

Frank Peccia,
Keizer, Oregon

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