Sunday, August 20, 2006

Looking back on New Windsor

It's been four weeks since I left my BVS Unit #270 friends in New Windsor, MD and completed my 20 days of Orientation. On a beautiful Friday morning, after breakfast, we all gathered on the "great lawn" in front of the "big white," Civil War era, brick building for the closing ceremonies.

In traditional BVS fashion we said goodbye to each other exactly 21 times in a curious, circular choreography that took almost a half hour. Now I can look back on Unit #270 with humor and affection thanks to the many photos taken by our Unit's staff, Genelle (back row, far right) and Becky (2nd row, far right) and several BVSers.

Our Orientation was a very well planned and directed three weeks of education, field trips, games, and a great deal of "just having fun." I've seldom seen such a health melding of so many diverse personalities, and mine being as diverse as they come. Joe (left photo), a Mid-Westerner who I admired for his stand on issues, once told me that I was "the coolest older person he had ever met." I'm still rather proud of that dubious compliment, ha!

My BVS roommate Nathan and I on our way to one of the many Unit #270 field trips, shopping opportunities and community work days. All 21 of us traveled everywhere for 20 days on two mini-buses driven by our two leaders Genelle and Becky without incident. My other roommate, Tim, is pictured in the group photo above, just over my right shoulder. I enjoyed both Tim and Nathan and it couldn't have been any better.

My cooking "food group," Rieke (left), Meredith and me, on shopping day at Baugher's Fruit Market. After grabbing the fresh stuff here, we would walk up the hill one block to the Safeway store for the rest. Meredith and I had many happy conversations other than about food.

BVS Unit #270 having fun on Recreation Day towards the end of our 20 day training, called "Orientation," at Patapsco Valley State Park—just outside of Baltimore, Maryland. We hiked up to a waterfall along a winding trail through the deep, lush woods of this beautiful park just outside Baltimore.

These shots were taken by staff and fellow BVS volunteers, compiled into a CD and sent to all of us by our faithful leaders Genelle Wine and Becky Snavely. Also in New Windsor for ten days was Dan McFadden and Emily Wampler, doing support from headquarters in Elgin, Illinois were Samuel Bowman, Kim Bickler and Carolyn Gong.

We had several "Community Work Days" where we went out into surrounding towns and suburbs to performed volunteer service.

Serving at one of the several Brethren Service Center "international assistance organizations" for one of our training days was very inspiring.

Genelle (pictured here) our Orientation coordinator and Becky, her assistant, drove us everywhere in two mini-buses. Many good times on those buses.

I'm sampling one of Grace Lafever's yard weeds, we all nibbled weeds for over two hours during the tour.

Grace Lafever is a one of a kind, delightful and entertaining naturalist who spent the day educating us in eating wild foods and then fed us a wonderful lunch at her ranch.

After meeting I Can, Inc. staff (nice people) we were shown the auditorium that would be our living quarters for the next four days.

We arrive at I Can, Inc., a homeless men's shelter in Baltimore, Maryland where we slept and ate after doing work projects in the metropolitan area.

Amy, Lawreen and Hanae (who was from Germany) waiting on the steps at I Can, Inc. Amy was one of my favorite fun people to hangout with just about anytime.

Phil, Anand (also from Germany) and Hanae playing at the waterfall in Patapsco Valley State Park.

Britta and me at Jonah House wrestling the runaway goat that I had caught, after it jumped the fence.

Dominican Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert tell us the story of Jonah house and about their prison sentences for participating in a peace demonstration.

Much thanks to our Director Dan McFadden, his assistant Emily, Unit Coordinator Genelle and her assistant Becky for making us all feel comfortable, welcome and giving us a wonderful opportunity we may not find again.