Last month we launched a new feature here at TheTouringCamper.com that highlights ways campers, RVers, hikers, backpackers, or outdoor enthusiasts can get involved in service opportunities and give back to their communities. January’s spotlight was on ACMNP. This month we are excited to feature NOMADS, which stands for “Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service.” This ministry is geared for RVing couples (or single adults!) who are looking for ways to give back and do good on the road while still enjoying the flexibility of travel.
NOMADS board member Edie Mahan shared the following about the organization:
Tell me a little bit about the history of NOMADS: NOMADS began in 1988 in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Methodists from Illinois, Iowa and Indiana were Winter Texans and someone finally said, “I am bored, there must be some good we can do here.” So they approached local Methodist churches and offered their services. That first year there were 24 members who completed five projects in Texas and Oklahoma. From that beginning, the organization now has approximately 1,000 members.
Where do NOMADS work and serve? NOMADS assist United Methodist churches, children’s homes, colleges, camps, and work with outreach ministries and disaster recovery projects across the United States. We have had projects in Alaska and Mexico and in most states from California to Maine.
Who can volunteer with NOMADS? Are there certain requirements? If you are an adult Christian looking for a meaningful path to serving our Lord by helping those in need, NOMADS may be for you. NOMADS are typically retired couples or single persons who own or have access to a recreational vehicle, and are able to commit to serving on projects for several weeks at a time.
While our organization is connected to the United Methodist Church, members of all Christian denominations are welcome. So, if you are 18 years of age or older with a heart for actively participating in rebuilding lives and facilities, and enjoy the RV lifestyle, then please consider if NOMADS might be for you. Annual dues are $40 per person.
If a full-time RVing family with children wanted to be part of NOMADS, would there be opportunities for the whole family to serve? No. Anyone over 18 can become members and work along with parents or grandparents. It is expected that all adults participate in the project. Work sites are not appropriate for children.
How much time must volunteers commit to serve? Most NOMADS projects are three weeks in length. These projects have an assigned NOMADS leader and everyone on the team is there for three weeks. Members may work as many projects during the year as fits their schedule. Typically, NOMADS work four, six-hour days each week.
In addition to disaster rebuilding projects, what type of work do NOMADS volunteers usually do? Are there projects for all skill levels and health restrictions? Work can be rebuild, new construction, repair, clean up, landscaping, etc. Some projects have need of higher skill levels, while others do not. Members choose the projects in which they feel comfortable with their skills. Many times, more skilled members are teaching other team members while working on projects. All work is designated as heavy or light. Members are expected to work each day at their own level of capability. Since most are retired, and older, it is expected that there are limitations as to what each can accomplish.
Do NOMADS team members park their camper and live near the projects? How do they get access to electric, water, and sewer hookups? Each agency provides parking with at least electricity and water, and with access to some type of dump facility. Members have to be flexible as not all agencies have 50 amp hookups and water pressure can vary. Some have WiFi, while others are not close to a cell tower! On most three-week projects, parking is on-site, although there are a few exceptions. Disaster rebuilding projects are typically working in the community and require some daily driving to the work site.
Thank you so much Edie for sharing about NOMADS. Interested in learning more? Be sure to visit the NOMADS website.
We would love to hear from you if you know about a ministry we should feature. Just drop us a line here.