avatarCharisse Tyson


RVICS Volunteer Experience Palacios — post 2

It Could Be Illegal to Have This Much Fun While Volunteering

Week one has been a hoot.

My teammates squeezing in a little fun while working. Our leader, Helen is pushed around by Sandy. Lois is always the innocent bystander.

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I haven’t laughed this much in a long time. I did a lot of painting on our last assignment, and none so far on this one. As with the previous RVICS experience, the men are scattered everywhere doing various jobs. They are doing sheetrock work, plumbing, and painting, just to mention a few.

Our fearless leader, Chris is “helping” Tommy. Bill is 6'4'. Cutting in at the baseboard is rough on the back and the knees.

We ladies spent our first day removing bricks from an area and stacking them to be used elsewhere. Since then, we spent a lot of time moving furniture. There are three conference rooms, a dining hall, hotel rooms, bunk rooms, and many bathrooms. There is quite a variety of chairs and tables. Our captain here at the Texas Baptist Encampment, Rob, wants all the rooms to have the same tables and chairs. The camp lacked symmetry.

We are getting our instructions doled out in doses, leading to confusion. There are names for all the buildings, but none have signs signifying which ones they are. The map of the camp led to more confusion, a lot of laughs, and extra work.

Speaking of extra work, I had to push the golf cart when it ran out of juice. Helen managed a selfie of us.

We’ve been instructed to remove tables, only to find out we needed to return them to where we got them. We pulled stacks of chairs from a building, only to find out they were supposed to be there. We walked almost every inch of this camp, leading to many steps on my Fitbit.

On Monday, when we got the tour and removed bricks, I only surpassed my daily 10,000-step goal by 660 steps. Once the table and chair shuffle kicked in, I racked up the distance exponentially. On Tuesday, I hit 16,400; on Wednesday, it was a whopping 17,400. I’m at 14,500 as I write this, and the day isn’t over.

I thought I read somewhere that laughing burns calories. 🤣😂🤣😂🤣 I’m hoping it’s true. Between walking and laughing, it should take care of all the extra calories I’m taking in eating the cook’s fantastic cookies. As I said in my first post, we are blessed to be served lunch by the camp. The sweet cook has worked here for years and is taking great care of us.

Having such hearty lunches is fantastic because they save me from cooking dinner every night. 👍

Yesterday we enjoyed a fantastic lunch of spareribs, potato salad, sweet potato casserole, corn, salad, and some of the best double chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten. I snagged a couple of them for dessert after dinner. Tommy had a bowl of cereal for dinner last night, and I had salami and crackers.

Yesterday, we sorted out the tables and chairs from the different buildings and set the ones that didn’t match outside so we could move them to the appropriate rooms. Rob said to be sure and look in the bathrooms for the green stackable chairs that somehow wind up there.

I was in the building where we meet every morning, and it had bathrooms on both sides for the connected bunk rooms. I noticed a light was on in one of them, so I knocked. When no one answered, I poked my head in and looked for chairs. There weren’t any, and being conscientious, I turned off the light as I left. A booming male voice said, “Did someone turn off the lights?” I was mortified! I ran back and flipped the switch back on, apologizing profusely.

When I met up with the girls again and told our leader, Helen, what I’d done, she laughed like crazy and said we should go back and see if whoever was in the restroom needed a hunting magazine. 😜 We were all laughing so hard that tears ran down our cheeks. Who says work can’t be fun?

I knew where all our guys were, so the man in the bathroom was obviously with the Sowers, the other volunteer group here. I hoped I wouldn’t be exposed as the bathroom breacher. 💩🚽 But two RVICS couples played cards with the Sowers last night, and they snitched me out. Sure enough, one of the guys playing cards was the one I rudely turned the lights off on. Now, the cat is out of the bag. This Cat has been exposed. 🐱

I’ve apparently made a reputation for myself. I went to take a picture of our guys working in the hotel rooms and found Byron and Bill painting. I told them I wanted to document them working, and Byron said, “You’re the one who likes to catch guys sitting on the toilet, aren’t you?” He just happened to be sitting on one while painting the bathroom. More laughter ensued.

Byron on the pot. 😄

We needed to use Rob’s truck to load up the stacks of chairs. You can only put so many in a golf cart; trust me, we’ve moved hundreds of them. For some reason, Rob found it hard to believe we ladies could drive a stick shift. Helen assured him it wasn’t a problem for her, but he scoffed whenever she said she could. All seven or eight times. He just wouldn’t accept the fact that girls can drive a stick shift. We showed him! I should say Helen did. I once knew how to drive a stick shift vehicle, but after 30 years, I know I wouldn’t have done as well as Helen.

I haven’t ridden in the back of a pickup for years. It was so much fun.

After fighting to pull the seat forward in the truck, her little legs would not have reached otherwise, Helen drove that puppy like a champ. This gal knows how to shift. She didn’t jerk us around once. Sandy and I sat in the back of the truck, and if Helen hadn’t been such a smooth operator, we would have been easily tossed out.

Between the toilet tales and taking tables and chairs out of rooms, only to return them, we chuckled our way through the day. We girls even took a short break to play some pickleball. There are two courts in the middle of the large conference room, and we couldn’t help ourselves. I almost felt naughty. Since the Sowers always take an afternoon break, I figured we could get away with it. 😉

It’s added a little flavor to the experience of having another volunteer group here. Our organizations differ in many ways, but we are all serving the same God and sharing the love. It’s a beautiful thing.

We have three days off now. On Saturday, we are all getting together to see a parade downtown and go to lunch. It’s what we RVICS folks call our tour day. I’m sure it will be great. Thanks for hanging with me. I have no idea what kind of work we’ll be doing in the next two weeks, but I know the laughter will continue.

Here’s the first post in my series in case you missed it.

This is our second assignment this year. Here’s the last one I wrote about the Highland Lakes Christian camp in Spicewood, Texas.

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