1. What type of work will we be doing? We can let you know specifics about the work and tools needed a week or two before you come. It is difficult for us to tell you exactly what you will be doing, for you work week will depend on what was completed the week before you arrive, and the skills that you bring to the table. The sooner you turn in your skill sheets the faster we can match your team to the work site. Work generally includes reconstruction of walls/sheetrock, floors, windows and doors, siding, painting, roofing, porch and wheel chair building.
2. Will we be working near where we are staying? Do we need to take lunch with us when we leave in the morning or should we plan to have a lunch break back at our “home”? We try to keep the projects within an hour’s drive. You do need to take lunch with you most days. Important – remember to take coolers and jugs for drinks and bottled water to the site.
3. Do you have any age guidelines? What is the youngest child you would like to see on your site? Given the types of work that we do, our minimum age is 14. If you have any requests for younger, please contact Joan Stewart, Executive Director, to discuss exceptions.
4. When are the groups coming and leaving? Most groups arrive either Saturday night or Sunday. Arriving on Saturday enables your group to attend a local worship service on Sunday morning. At the end of the week, most groups leave on Saturday to give them time to clean their lodging space before departing.
5. Do you have any ideas for any type of recreational activity for the group for one day? Do you think that the rafting companies would consider some type of “group rate”? Yes, your day off during a week-long trip will be Wednesday and several of the rafting companies are willing to work with you for group rates. We are unable to recommend a rafting company (Board policy and attorney advice!) however I am happy to share the experiences of previous groups. There are many wonderful parks and recreation possibilities near all sites. The internet is a great source of information about what is nearby. Again we can share with you what others have done.
6. What does a typical day look like as far as schedule and onsite expectations? A typical day might start with breakfast and a briefing of the work to be done that day, leaving the housing location by 8:00 am. The commute to the worksite could be up to an hour, after which the group will usually work until 5:00 or so, stopping for lunch at midday. The work is general carpentry, ranging from demolition to installation of floors, drywall, roofing, paneling, siding, etc. It could involve plumbing or electrical work as well, depending on the skills of the group. Click here to see a video of typical workday.
7. What are basic tools and equipment needs? Group members should bring their normal toolboxes, including hammers, saws, measures, chalk lines, etc. A week or two before your trip, we will communicate the specifics of the projects, including special tool needs, so that you can pack the appropriate tools for the jobs.
BASIC TOOL LIST: Hammers (each person), Tape measures (4), Utility knives, Pencil (each person), Squares (2), Chalk line, Nail apron (each person), 50’ Electrical extension cord, Drills (2), Masks (box), Goggles (all), Work gloves (all), Long pants (each person), 5-gallon water jugs, Coolers for lunch
8. When will we know exactly what we will be doing so we know what to bring? It is very difficult to predict exactly what each group will be doing because often the work depends on what was completed by a prior mission group. You may be completing a project or beginning a new one. We will try to keep you as informed as possible on details in advance. Rest assured that the job supervisor will make sure you are properly equipped for your mission. IMPORTANT: It helps us to know the best place for your skills when you complete the skill sheets and turn them in as soon as possible. We prefer to have those 6 weeks in advance for our planning. We understand that your numbers may change, but this helps us to begin to plan.
9. Will we be divided into teams at various sites or will we be together on one site? If your group is over 8-10, you should expect your group to be divided into multiple projects. You’ll need to have at least one skilled adult for each project. Because the sites may not be close, please plan to have lunch at separate locations.
10. Will there be power at the work site and should we bring power tools? In most cases, yes.
11. Is there a need for donated clothing? No, there is an overage of that.
12. Is there a laundry facility? In some cases we do have a washer/dryer, however we ask you to please pack for an entire week to help keep our utility costs down. Washer and dryer would only be available for emergencies. Where washer/dryer is not available, there is a public laundry facility nearby.
13. Will there be cell service? A definite maybe! It depends on your provider, and some of our accommodation locations do not have cell service at all. Most of the work locations will not. Please bring a phone card for long distance calls. Your leaders will ask you to refrain from cell use on the work sites, as it can be a dangerous distraction.
14. What should we pack? sheets and blanket or sleeping bag, pillow, towels/wash cloth, flashlight/batteries, water bottle or canteen, sunglasses, alarm clock, non-drowsy motion sickness medicine, plastic bags for dirty or wet clothes, 1 roll toilet paper, 1 roll paper towels, 1 sturdy pair of work shoes, 1 pair of “play” shoes, lots of socks, long pants enough for working 4 days, work shirts (tee shirts, long sleeve shirts), work gloves, sleep wear, rain jacket, sweat shirts, swim wear (modest)
15. Do we really have to wear long pants in the hot summer? PLEASE! This is for safety reasons. On a construction site, you risk scrapes and scratches on lumber as well as mosquito or even spider bites. If jeans are too hot, consider hospital scrubs that are lightweight and inexpensive.
16. Can we have music on the work site? Yes and no. Music can be a motivator, or it can detract from your task. The project manager and adult leaders will determine the appropriateness of the music and the volume. Please do not bring music with questionable lyrics that may be offensive to those we serve.
17. Can we use iPods? We ask that all iPods and personal music devices be left in a safe place and not used on the work site. It is important that you be able to hear instruction, warnings, and to build relationships with one another and those we serve.
18. What is the required youth to adult ratio? Generally speaking, we require one adult for every five youth. Adult supervisors are preferable over age 25.
19. We would prefer to work all week with no day off. Is that possible? If it is an all adult group, certainly. However, for the teenagers, we have found that they really need that day off and, in fact, accomplish more with that day off than if they worked all 5 days. Also, Wednesday is a generally the day the site supervisor uses to replenish materials, set up the next job site, or even get a day to breathe. We try to guard that day carefully for our supervisors. If your group chooses to work that day, the site supervisor may not work with you.
20. What about insurance coverage? We ask that you have your own insurance coverage. Each individual will complete a form with this information (located HERE). Work on the projects is at your own risk. Few of the families we serve would have insurance coverage for injury, and WVMAW asks that you sign a liability waiver.
21. When do you need our final payment and information? Generally speaking about 6 weeks prior to your mission. Having your skill sheets helps us to place you appropriately on a job site.
22. What if we need to drop/add people at the last minute? This happens often and is not an issue. We always say you can bring hitch hikers if need be! We just need waivers signed on all people. If you have to drop any, you will only pay for those who come to the workcamp.