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Volunteer Project Completed

One day shy of three weeks we finished our deck construction at Lake Swan Camp. Not counting the two younger camp staff, Kevin and Daniel that helped us with the heavy lifting, the average age of the  construction crew of eight men from RVICS, SOWERS and Campers on Mission was 72 years. The assignment was physically challenging but incredibly fulfilling to see how much we accomplished in 11 1/2 days time.

Periodically during the construction I used my drone to capture the progress along the way. Lifting many of the construction features, like the 6x6 stanchion posts and 2x12x16 headers was a bit "hairy", but we had plenty of hands on deck for those assignments and thankfully we all stayed safe during the process.

Floor joist were hung with 2x4 sleepers running the 60 foot length. Once they were attached, deck boards were then screwed on top..

A notch was cut in each of the 6x6 posts to attach 2-2x12x16 headers for the roof rafter assembly. Below you see Bill Ellis, our job construction site superintendent, finishing the notch with a reciprocating saw.

After the headers were lifted and attached they were wood screwed together and 5/8 inch lag bolts were used to attach the two boards to the post. Below you see Dirk Small cut off the extra end of the bolt.

Below you see two of our SOWERS, Charlie Schoeneberger and Jay Johnson attaching straps to the header and rafter junction for the roof.

With the rafter assembly completed, the 4x8 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood roof deck were attached to cover the deck below.

Kevin, our camp staffer is opening a box of the liners that will cover the roof deck plywood before the metal roofing arrives to complete the roof .

Below the deck we added a 2x6 facia down to ground level to finish off the overall look.

This was the first time I've ever participated in a construction project of this magnitude and I learned so much in the process. To stand back and look at something of this scale we helped to build is extremely satisfying. The camp director was very happy with the finished deck and could not say thank you enough for our efforts and the quality of workmanship. Bill did an outstanding job of leading the combined team of volunteers from three different entities. We all worked seamlessly together under his direction and accomplished the job without any serious injuries. We all picked up a couple of cuts and scratches along the way, but by far the greatest complaint was from sore muscles and overall fatigue. The job really kicked our butts. However it was worth it. Not bad for a bunch of old timers!

Regarding all the ladies, they completed their painting assignment in the Anniversary Lodge. During November and January, the ladies painted the interior of 8 large guest rooms. This involved painting an accent wall in one color, the other three walls a different color and painting the trim a 3rd color. It was a big job working around the bunk beds in each room but they accomplished a lot with the RVICS, SOWER and Campers on Mission ladies all working together and having fun in the process. They joined us the last day for the drone photo below. Well done ladies!

On Friday January 26, Karen and I departed Lake Swan Camp for Bushnell, Florida to meet up with Sean and Kathy Early to begin firming up our Alaska 2024 trip plans. Leaving Lake Swan Camp was bittersweet. We really bonded with all the team members and camp staff on this assignment as we worked together and had fun together. It is our hope and wish to meet again on another assignment in the future or on the road as the Classy Nomads travel.


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