Community Service Alaska writes in!
The Westcoast Blogger
Our arrival in Seldovia made a big splash amongst the locals. Not only did we represent a 10% increase in their total population, we also came with a positive attitude. Our first service project required a little bit of physical labor and some patience. We were asked by the community to build a rock wall surrounding a garden in the center of the town. The girls did a terrific job weeding the garden while the boys helped Doug, one of our local contacts and the resident grouch, to move rocks out of the garden. Rachel and I learned the importance of pulling the weed out completely to prevent any re-growth!
In the afternoon, we made our way up to the Boys and Girls Club to run a camp for the local kids. Everyone immediately clicked with the kids and Emma, Kristin and Debra helped the girls make friendship bracelets all afternoon. The children here have very little and the fun we provided will last a long time in their memories. The next day, we returned to the garden for another morning of gardening. Our group worked tirelessly and in the end, the rock wall looked amazing. We later discovered that this garden was being refurbished because the Village tribe wanted to tear it down and put a parking lot instead. The hope is that by beautifying the area it might discourage them from doing this. After seeing the final product there is a good chance it will! The afternoon consisted of sports and arts and crafts with the kids from the Boys and Girls Club. We planned an amazing talent show and each child rehearsed with their big brother or sister. Sunday was a much needed and much deserved laid back day for everyone. We got to sleep in and in the afternoon we met our nature guide “Pig” (he demanded we called him that) and went on a hike up Rocky Road trail. While the hike was grueling, the scenery was breathtaking. Pig showed us many berries and plants that can be consumed in the wild. The next day was our first day at culture camp. This is a camp run by the Seldovia Village tribe each year. The camp is held at Red Mountain and we set out for a bumpy ride up the mountain. At the campsite, we were greeted by Brie and Al, the coordinators of the culture camp. They led us on a hike up Red Mountain. While many of us stopped along the way, Vincent, Andrew, Hally, Christine and Jake hiked all the way to the top with the guide. Jon S, Kristen, Eddy, Emma and Jon K trekked all the way to the snow under our watchful supervision. Needless to say, we got our exercise for the week! We left the camp and returned to our suites tired but satisfied with our accomplishments.
The next day of culture camp was really educational. We met with a pilot for Homer Air who takes people on bear excursions. He taught us a lot about bear safety and how to observe a bear. Then we assembled a bear skeleton, aided by our culture camp friends. We are now on our final day in Seldovia and we are taking the ferry back to Homer and continuing on to Seward. We have some exciting adventures in store there too.
We will keep you posted, we promise!
The Alaska gang