Thursday, November 9, 2017

Serving Others: SkillsUSA travels to Camp Kon-o-Kwee

On October 20th, 2017, the Skills USA opening and closing team left for a night filled with laughter and team building. Little did we know we would come back with a new perspective on life.

When we arrived to Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Zelienople, PA,  we were given a presentation about ShelterBox. ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides temporary shelter and life saving supplies to families in need. The organization has been helping those in need since 2001. Right now, approximately 85 million people around the world have had their homes destroyed due to natural disasters. ShelterBox is looking to change that.

We were also given another presentation from an organization called End Polio Now. You may ask yourself, “what is polio?” Poliomyelitis - commonly known as the poliovirus - is a highly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5. The virus is spread from person to person, typically through contaminated water. It attacks the nervous system, and in some instances, leads to paralysis. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine - one which the Rotary uses to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide. The Rotary has helped reduce polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide since their first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. In the year 2000, a record of 550 million children - almost 10% of the world’s population - received the oral polio vaccine.

After the presentations, we returned to our cabins for a night of activities. We participated in team building exercises, went on a late night walk, and had a campfire. We also snacked on s'mores, ran through an open field, gazed at the stars, sang campfire songs, (if we knew any), and made new international friends: Gabriella Michelle from Brazil, Signa from Sweden, and Juan from Argentina. The night was filled with fun, laughter, and a lot of smiles.

The next morning, we got up early, and had an amazing filling breakfast. We then went on a nice, (yet, freezing cold) morning walk. Then, we got to work. We became a team, and we worked together to get the job done. We all came together as one, as a team should.

When we needed help, we received it. When we needed an extra hand, we got it. When we needed encouragement, it was thrown at us. We worked together, worked hard, and got done early, so we got to have even more fun.

Tired after a morning filled with hard work and fun, we went to the lunch hall to relax and wait for lunch to be served. We went outside in the sunshine to play games of gaga and “beach” volleyball after enjoying another amazing meal.

Overall, being able to experience some of the activities at Camp Kon-O-Kwee was amazing. It’s always great to learn about something new, or hear about an organization that you have never heard about. We came back with a new outlook on our little world at LCCTC, and Camp Kon-O-Kwee gave us a glimpse at international worlds -- We gathered all of this, just because of our experience at this amazing camp.

Rotarians spoke about Shelter Box and End Polio Now

It's amazing the numbers who are helped internationally from Shelter Box.
"Right now, around 85 million people around the world have been displaced by
natural disaster and conflict. ShelterBox is working to change this.
By providing emergency shelter and tools for displaced families,
we’re transforming despair into hope."

Making s'mores!


Making new friends far and wide

Filling our bellies!

Taking a tour of Kon-O-Kwee

It's a beautiful camp!

Getting to work.  It's not easy, but it's more enjoyable with friends!

Dayuna works in style -- note the leopard print pants!

We were glad to meet Isaiah from Mercer County CTC!

Trenton putting some masonry know-how to good use!

This reminded Haliegh of caring for horses!

What to do with Jaden?  Put her in a little spot so
she can make a big impact!

Move out of the way -- Tabby is coming with another
pitch fork of mulch!

She may be little, but she can move mountains...
of mulch!

The whole crew -- after a few hours of hard work!

We were there to help Kon-o-Kwee close up for the winter,
but we gained a lot, too!  Fun -- and friends!