On March 2nd, 10 Roanoke College students, accompanied by Chaplain Paul Henrickson, departed on Habitat for Humanity’s annual spring break trip to Columbia, South Carolina.
The trip was admittedly different from traditional Habitat expeditions. Thanks to some red tape relating to land codes, as well as a smaller group of students, the projects undertaken were not to include the actual construction of a house.
Instead, the group spent the first half of their trip at the Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity headquarters. There, programs have been instituted for kids who are too young to actually work on job sites, as a way to get their feet wet in construction. One of these projects is building dog houses. The group spent time completing already-started dog houses to be sold, as well as creating stations to make the overall dog house construction process simpler.
The group also spent time fixing up the Habitat offices. They sorted carpet, cleaned and organized wood samples, painted, and replaced ceiling tiles.
The second half of the trip was spent doing more traditional Habitat work: wall building. Though the actual construction of the house structures has been delayed by red tape, sites of future houses are known and being planned for. The group traveled to a subdivision of Habitat homes, many that had been worked on by previous Roanoke College groups, where they happily spent days hammering away. By the end of the trip, all the walls for a new house had been pieced together, and a site to which a home was being moved was prepared.
To anyone who has worked on a Habitat trip, though, the most important and lasting part of any trip is the community that forms. If anything was proven true by the spring break Habitat trip, it’s that families do come in all shapes and sizes. As a family, the group spent time embarrassing chaperones at restaurants, playing intense games of volleyball and cornhole, and dancing to music as the spirit moved them.
The family doesn’t just extend to the Roanoke students and chaperones, but also to the people Roanoke works with in South Carolina, particularly Steve Davis and Matt Henrickson. Davis, a friend of Roanoke College who has helped on every single R-House build since the R-House inception in 2006, and the son of Chaplain Paul Henrickson, not only host South Carolina trips, but also travel with Habitat during winter break New Orleans trips.
The family extends to Sam and Tammy, a couple who invites each Roanoke College Habitat group to their house for award-winning barbeque, volleyball, and a huge bonfire. It also extends to the Griffins, the parents of Office of Community Service director Jesse Griffin, who allow each Roanoke College Habitat group to their home for some good food and music.
“Working with Habitat is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people while helping out the community. I had a wonderful time,” said Bailey Howard ’15, a first-timer on the trip.
“Going on these Habitat trips has been truly an eye opening experience. I’m glad that I been able to help families in need. It was fun to experience to building things for the new houses and families for the future,” Jennie Holden ’12 said.
Holden â€˜12, a six-trip Habitat veteran who will be graduating this May, looked back on her experiences and commented, “Going on these trips has been an amazing experience getting to know new people and do great things.”