After all the strategizing, planning, fundraising, organizing, recruiting and training, the National Service Project will officially launch the week of May 15 in Dupree, S.D.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of the first wave of YMCA Alumni volunteers that will travel to the Sioux Y to begin to create a tiny home community along with some program centers on the reservation. As of this writing, there are 16 volunteers registered to work, rest, learn, sightsee and participate together for “Wave One” in Dupree.
Besides all the work planned, we also will be immersed in a Lakota Tribe cultural exchange that will provide an opportunity to become educated in American Indian culture. I have just learned a sightseeing trip is included during the week.
We will have a chance to hike and explore the incredible Badlands National Park, drive and thread the Needles Highway in Custer State Park and see the faces up close at Mt. Rushmore National Monument. Another exciting part of the first week is the Smudging and Groundbreaking ceremony that will take place mid-week. “Smudging” is a sacred Native American ritual to rid places of negative energy and to bless the site. The ceremony also will include a drum circle and Lakota dancers, Sioux YMCA and Tribal and YMCA Alumni speakers as well as the traditional shoveling of dirt at the build site.
I could not be more excited to experience this firsthand. I will be taking lots of pictures and plan on sharing them with our newsletter editor for a future issue of this newsletter. By the way, we have discovered a glitch in our email "thank you’s" for the YMCA Alumni National Service Project donations. If you or someone you know did not get a thank you the likelihood is that this glitch occurred.
Please let Rich Wallis (email@example.com
), our YMCA Alumni National Service Project record keeper, know and he will get you a "thank you.” Similarly, if anyone needs a hard copy "thank you", let him know and Rich will mail you one. Thanks for helping us tighten up our process.
In the meantime, we would appreciate your prayers for safe travels for our volunteers, good weather, and most of all for a successful first wave of the YMCA Alumni National Service Project. It is not too late to volunteer for one or more of the remaining waves in July and October. Just click HERE if you are interested in an application form.
(Photo: Carmelita Gallo)