Boots, Building, and Bonding

By Leanne Kunkel
Staff Writer

After ten hours of sitting in an airport, I knew that this service trip was going to be a special one that I would not forget anytime soon.  I was one of ten Marywood students and chaperones who went to Kentucky for spring break, to work for the Christian Appalachian Project’s Workfest 2009.

I  never knew that being in an airport for ten hours could be as fun as it was.  I think that everyone from the Kentucky trip now knows where everything is in the Charlotte, North Carolina airport.  Even though we were all tired we still managed to make the best out of a bad situation, by having a scavenger hunt and sharing many funny meals in the food court.  Being in the airport for ten hours definitely brought our group together and helped to make our trip very special.

When our group finally arrived in Kentucky, a day late, I could not wait to get my hands dirty and start to help people.  I was so excited when it was time to get to work.  The first day I was on ladders, digging holes and meeting some great people.  As the week went on, I was under houses, building porches, doing some landscaping and helping with cement work.  I never knew that I could do half of the things that I did when I was in Kentucky. By the end of the week, I could not believe all that my group and I had accomplished.

The last day and night that we were in Kentucky, was very moving.  While at my worksite, the family that we were helping was there working with us.  It was so nice to work with family and get to know them more.  Then that night back at the camp, all of the families that we were helping came to share dinner with us.  After dinner, a slideshow of pictures from the week was shown and the families got to thank all of us for the work that we had done for them.  Hearing the families thanking us really hit me hard.  I cannot explain how good I felt knowing that I had impacted someone’s life.  I do not think the families know how much they touched all of us as well. I think we all came away from this trip with a new outlook on life.

This trip is one that I will never forget. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to go on this trip.  The people that I met are amazing, and it would not have been the same if I went with a different group of people.  I would not want to be stuck in an airport for ten hours with any other group of people. Being the youngest on the trip, it was a little intimidating for me to be going on the trip with upperclassmen. This was not an issue for long though; I was welcomed with open arms and felt like I was just one of the gang. I have come away from this trip gaining so much.  I have gained new friends, more confidence and some new role models.