Saturday, February 28, 2009

Getting ready for the Hills and the Hollows: Workfest 2009

Well, we are all getting ready for Workfest 2009. Some universities are already in Eastern Kentucky right now. There are two camps that house multiple teams from various colleges and universities.

This is a great time of fellowship, servanthood and oh, yeah…fun.

We will be at Camp Caleb just outside of Flat Gap. Our students will break into teams with students from other schools and other regions of the U.S. Each team will be assigned a family to work with and then, under the guidance of folks who know what end of the hammer your suppose to hold, they will all get down to tearing down and building up.

I love Appalachia. The term means endless mountains. The mountain system spans 13 states. These are not the tall majestic mountains of the Rockies. These are the smaller, more rounded but breath-taking Smoky Mountains.

Over half the inhabitants of Appalachia are rural. Many live in the mountains and hollows (hollers). The area has a disproportioned amount of birth defects, diabetes, blindness and deafness. The drug use is higher than in some urban areas.

Eastern Kentucky is home to seven of the 50 poorest counties in the nation. Poverty rate fluctuates between 17% to over 50%. This is an area of extreme unemployment and under-employment. Medical needs are not met and staying in school is a struggle.

Still, without Appalachia it is fair to state there might not be a United States. Many of the people who live here are the descendants of soldiers of the Revolutionary War. The land they live on was in acknowledgment of that sacrifice. Others followed Daniel Boone into the great wilderness of Kentucky.

This is beautiful country with wonderful people. The challenges are great but CAP, the people and our fellow volunteers are the right ingredients for a fantastic time. So, we continue to prepare for our journey.

A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains

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