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A little team spirit

Working together to get the job done on the 2012 Build-a-Thon build site in Milwaukee, Wis.
By Andrew White


Blogger Andrew White


Tuesday was “team spirit day” at the Milwaukee Build-a-Thon. To show their team spirit, everyone was to wear a shirt or jersey representing their favorite sports team, and many did.

The team spirit represented on the team for house number 497 reflected the geographical diversity of our group. Represented were the Maryland Terrapins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kentucky Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans, Iowa State Cyclones (by myself, of course), Colorado Buffaloes and Denver Broncos, among others.

While the NCAA tournament or the AFC playoffs may have us rooting for different teams, one thing was clear on Tuesday afternoon—we were all on the same team—Habitat’s team. It may be a cliché, but it’s true. Without that team spirit, there was no way we could have gotten four exterior walls and 50 sheets of oriented strand board passed from the ground to the second floor deck in a single afternoon. As I write this, my sore muscles are reminding me that those things are heavy!

Team spirit, of course, is not something that comes easily or automatically. On Monday morning, it was clear that we were all a little unsure how to work with each other. Not only were we almost all complete strangers, we all came from different affiliates and were accustomed to different ways of doing things. Fortunately, there are many ways to skin a cat, or in this case, raise a wall. With a little patience and a lot of communication, we were rolling right along this afternoon, and were learning some new tricks along the way.

And that may ultimately be the greatest thing about Build-a-Thon—we all get to learn from each other! While the people we serve with at our respective affiliates are great, having some fresh faces and new perspectives is always a good thing. This is certainly true of building a house, but it’s also true of almost everything that goes on at a Habitat affiliate. We all have our own unique situations and challenges, but ultimately, we can all gain from those conversations about finding qualified homeowners or affordable land that seem to be commonplace at Build-a-Thon.

Andrew White is a first-year AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity. An Iowa native, Andrew made the move to Wisconsin following college graduation to build with Milwaukee’s new Habitat Safety Program. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with an organization of such friendly and easy-going people, and is looking forward to getting his hands dirty during Build-a-Thon 2012.