For our first full day in Alaska, we had a very busy day; however, it was still relaxing as we took our time going through events. First, we started the day off with a hike to a lake near our home. However, unbeknownst to us, there were two lakes located in the area. While we made it to Odis Lake, we did not make it to the lake we wanted to, called Goose Lake. That hike will be saved for another day. While the majority of us went on the hike, a few had to stay back at the house and be certified to drive Hope’s vans. Once we were done with the walk to the lake, we shuttled everyone to the Anchorage Museum. In the museum, we had the opportunity to read about Native Alaskan artifacts and culture, view Alaskan art, and interacted with physics based exhibits. Because we only had one van to shuttle the whole group, we decided to stay longer at the Anchorage Museum and save the second museum for another day.
After the museum, we got lunch at the mall across the street and headed to Hope for the first time! At the headquarters, we had a debriefing on the policies of Hope and our responsibility as volunteers. We also got to meet numerous staff members including Katie Johnston (the coordinator for the Hope Walk and Roll fundraising event), Michelle Girault (the Senior Deputy Director of Personnel and Public Relations), and Roy Scheller (the Deputy Executive Director). They talked to us about the mission of Hope and the organization’s history. In addition, they also talked to us about our paths in life and what Hope could do to advance our goals and dreams. The staff of Hope was incredibly friendly and accommodating. After our meeting, everyone was even more excited to volunteer and help the organization improve the lives of those in need.
Our next adventure was to plan meals for the rest of the week. With confusion on groups to buy food, we finally split up and spread out in the local Walmart to by meals. For the first meal, the majority of us had pasta. Our culinary expertise was challenged with making spaghetti and gourmet boxed macaroni and cheese.
The gorgeous weather beckoned some to eat outside while the majority of the group went outside after dinner. We started up a game of “21” with the Irish students. Make a free-throw, and you earn two points and another chance to make a basket. If you rebound a shot after the previous person misses, you earn one point; however, you can only rebound the ball after making an initial free-throw. With the game drawing on as more people joined, we decided to head to the park to play soccer and rugby. Staring out with a game of soccer, we learned everyone’s names and became instant friends, running and slipping in the torn up field. The game slowly transitioned to rugby as people began to inadvertently grab the soccer ball with their hands. While none of the Wartburg students knew how to play rugby, the Irish students quickly taught us how to play. We picked up the playing style and continued laughing and playing into the evening. The sun was low in the horizon when the game came to an end. A few students went back to the house while the rest started a game of pickup basketball. Some students decided to hike to Goose Lake while others watched the games of soccer and rugby.
For our day tomorrow, we will start our volunteer work at Hope and have a barbeque with the Irish students
(C) 2014. All photos are the property of Benjamin Bogard. All rights reserved.