My name is Sam Frykenberg, and I joined Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) to reconnect with spiritual roots before I continue my path as a healer. I find divinity in creation, connection, and love, as a guide, and as a caregiver.
While preparing to be a physician during my undergraduate years, I realized that I was spending a lot of time preparing myself to aid others, but not as much time as I desired providing aid to others. Since I draw fulfilment from, and am able to contribute the most from situations in which I am directly connecting to, guiding, and caring for people, I decided it was important to take significant dedicated time for service. This would allow for further necessary growth and experience in addition to reconnection with the fulfilment of service driven by intrinsic motivation.
It was also important to me that I served alongside others, and lived with loving, service-minded people. Family, friends, and communal bonds are essential to who I am, and I was looking to share the journey with people bonded by purpose and care for one another. I also desired to join a spiritually-based organization. I find it essential that what we believe is aligned with the service that we do, and that we strive for understanding, connection, and interaction with the essences of each other, ourselves, and the world. When researching service programs, I found Christian Appalachian Project.
CAP is built on three pillars: Service, Community, and Spirituality. These are not just values, but a way of life at CAP. These fundamentals have always been integral in the way I live, and in the life I love. CAP is a wonderful organization, pursuing a vision of aiding the underserved regions in Eastern Kentucky. CAP not only allows opportunities for those it serves, it invites you on an amazing journey of service.
I connected with the vision and pillars of CAP, and so I applied. When I visited CAP to interview, I was amazed by the sincere kindness I found there. The pillars and vision of CAP were evident throughout my first visit and I decided to join CAP as a year-long volunteer, after which I would return to school and continue to pursue medicine.
I have been blessed with my time at CAP, and know that others have been as well. Every story at CAP is different, and if you join, yours will be too. CAP will open doors and opportunities to a different way of life. There are also challenges that present themselves along the way. Some are the type of challenges you grow from or grow past. Others are just trails that wear you down. Some challenges are intrinsic to the type of service you join, the people you work alongside, and the people you live with. Other challenges occur with unseen fluctuations in events as time moves.
It isn’t a perfect life; just as there are opportunities, there are also limitations. However, this is something I have found in every stage of life. CAP has been another wonderful experience, not perfect, or imperfect, but wonderful all the same.
I know already that I have gained more than I envisioned. I have learned new skills, seen new things, and have found motivation and spiritual connection. While this was what I was expecting, I could never predict the way this has come about. More important, I know that I have given a lot here. I have been able to touch the lives of those I serve, and those that are in my CAP community. I have been able to see again how personal connection leads to profound transformation.
In the journey that CAP enables, there is beautiful potential. There is an opportunity to connect with a new community, to rediscover and redefine your spirituality, and to serve with purpose that touches other lives. This potential is partly defined by CAP, and partly defined by you. I’d definitely recommend doing your research, and coming down to serve and interview for a short period of time, so as to understand what CAP is about, and whether you are called to serve here for a longer period of time.
I hope you have found this helpful! Don’t be shy to call the folks in CAP admissions, they are super friendly. Also don’t be shy to reach out to one of us volunteers, or read more about another volunteer’s experience (we all come from different backgrounds and perspectives).
Sam is serving as a long-term volunteer and an AmeriCorps Camp Educator/Summer Camp Counselor at CAP's Camp Shawnee Program. He is a member of the Floyd Volunteer Community. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program. If you would like to learn more about CAP's Volunteer Program or connect with a current volunteer like Sam, please contact us.