Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oh, My Aching Back

I got to participate in a very exciting project today. One of our American Heritage Girls' troop members, Jennifer, is working on her Stars and Stripes project. Stars and Stripes is the AHG equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouts—the highest level of achievement. Jennifer will be our troop's very first S&S recipient, and we are so excited for her. (That's Jennifer and her sister Laura in the photo below.)

Jennifer has to put in 100 hours on her project, including everything from securing donations to supervising workers. She is a fantastic leader, so I'm not surprised that her project is coming together so well. Her challenge is to clear the grounds around 2 cabins at a local church camp, Camp Tipton. We're not talking about pulling up a few weeks; this cabins are surrounded by a jungle of deep-rooted saplings. We had shovels, pick-axes, hoes, and other assorted tools that looked a little frightening to me.

This is the cabin we worked around today. (Jennifer and another crew had already cleared the first cabin earlier this week.) With 11 people working, we had the first side cleared within a couple of hours. The back and the other side (below) proved more challenging.

Each one of those innocuous-looking green things in the photo is actually a small tree with roots that are at least 22 miles long. We also found half of a dead rabbit buried in here and a nest of lively yellow jackets. Much shrieking ensued with both finds.

Most of the girls had never used a shovel before, but they were pros within 15 minutes.

Did I mention there were a few large rocks to clear away, as well?

Lunch time provided a very welcome break for all of us.

And then it was time to go back to work, refreshed and rested.

This is the second side of the cabin, almost totally cleared. This was Jennifer's second full day of work; she has two more days scheduled for this project. There is one more large patch to clear, and then she and her crew will plant grass seed around the cabins.

My back and legs are sore and my hands hurt, but it was so worth it. These girls had the best attitudes, and they were incredibly hard workers. I loved to see their smiles and listen to their funny stories and remarks. And I'm so proud of Jennifer for her leadership and organization (and, of course, her hard work). She had another crew of workers coming in this afternoon, but I had to come home. I'd like to say I'm going to get comfortable on the couch with some hot tea, but we have our annual American Heritage Girls/Cub Scouts hayride and cookout yet this evening. I can't be grumpy about that, though; it's one of my favorite events of the year!

So maybe by 10 p.m., I'll be on the couch, filled with s'mores and chili and very, very content. Life is good.


  1. Sounds like a lovely way to fill your Fall day. :) I hope you have your fill of smores. MMmmmmm.

  2. I would LOVE to read your "I Am From," I'm sure it woul be beautiful! You're such a great writer!


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