For Week 3 of YouthFest this year, we were visited by the freshman class of St. Anne's-Belfield School. What follows is a blog post from their trip:
We are the “Pink” group for the week, 14 strong, and we are working at a trailer which is located at the end of a hollow in Eastern Kentucky. Our participant lives next door to her daughter and three of her great-grandchildren. Our goal is to rebuild two decks, one on the front and one on the back, and to build two wheelchair ramps for ease of access.
Our first day was spent demolishing the old decks, preparing the pickets for the new decks, and building deck boxes. Students quickly learned how to measure square corners and dig holes using a digging bar and post hole digger. Hammers and the sledge hammer were also much-used tools our first day, and the demolition was completed fairly quickly. The only thing more satisfying than tearing something down is to see what is built in its place, which is what we’ve been focusing on since midday Monday. By the end of the day Tuesday, the back deck and ramp was nearly complete. A lot of progress was also made on the front deck, but given its larger size and higher elevation, there is still more work to be done.
It’s been fun to see how quickly everyone has become comfortable with taking measurements and marking boards. They also now handle all the tools like seasoned pros. Everyone took turns with the various tasks, whether using a level, digging holes and setting posts, or nailing deck boards and installing railings. The pickets that students had readied on Monday were put up, and it was exciting to see the transformation from a small, rickety back deck to a large, sturdy deck with wheelchair ramp. Though tired and sweaty, we were all satisfied by what we achieved, and we are looking forward to all that we will accomplish tomorrow.
To celebrate our hard work, we went to the local Dairy Queen when we returned to Martin and had a pre-dinner treat. We then enjoyed a great night of bluegrass music with the band “Five Miles From Nowhere.” There was square dancing, lots of foot-stomping and hand-clapping, along with students playing with the band. We are loving our time here in Kentucky, and as one student noted after writing in our journals, “Appalachia is beautiful.”