At the beginning of this year we launched a new feature here at The Touring Camper that highlights ways campers, RVers, hikers, backpackers, or outdoor enthusiasts can get involved in service opportunities and give back to their communities. This month we are showcasing ROAM, which stands for RVs On A Mission. ROAM Vice President Jean Morford shared a little bit about this RV ministry and provided pictures of the volunteers at work.
Tell me a little bit about the history of ROAM; when and why did it start? ROAM was organized in 2003 by a group of Nazarene lay people who had been involved in other nondenominational volunteer organizations who had a desire to do similar volunteer work in Nazarene camps, churches, schools, and other special projects.
Where do volunteers with ROAM work and serve? All around the U.S. or in particular regions? We have projects from coast to coast and border to border in the U.S. We currently have 53 active projects in 26 states.
Who can volunteer with ROAM? Are there certain requirements? Although we are a Nazarene lay ministry, we do not require that members be a member of a Nazarene church. However, you must agree to and sign the mission statement.
If a full-time RVing family with children wanted to be part of ROAM, would there be opportunities for the whole family to serve? We have had families who have been a part of ROAM. In both families the children are homeschooled. Because of this, the wife has not been able to work as much as most women do, but in many of our camp projects, with advanced notice that there will be children, there would be opportunities for the children to work as well, depending on their age.
How much time must volunteers commit to serve? ROAM does not have a requirement of how many projects volunteers must work. Our projects are three-week projects, usually beginning on the first Monday of the month. The men are asked to work six-hour days for four days, usually Monday through Thursday. However, this schedule can be flexible based on the needs of the project. Women are expected to work at least three hours a day. We have some volunteers that work only one project a year and some who work six to 10.
What type of work do ROAM volunteers usually do? Are there projects for all skill levels and health restrictions? ROAMers do a variety of things depending on the needs of the project. We have people who are involved in all aspects of construction, lawn maintenance, food service, cleaning, office work, auto repair and many other things. There are always things people with health restrictions can do. People are never asked to do anything they are uncomfortable doing.
Where do ROAM team members live and park their camper during the projects? Each project is responsible for providing full hook-ups for the RVs of ROAMers. Most projects have one or more hook-ups onsite but there are a few that will provide a spot at a public RV park. Some camp projects provide lodging in a lodge or cabin for ROAMers that do not have an RV. ROAMers are responsible for their own transportation to the project and for their own meals.
Can you share a highlight or special moment from the work ROAM did this past year? It is really difficult to share just one highlight as we have had many people working at different locations across the nation. One of the projects that my husband and I worked on this last year was at New Beginnings Church in Casa Grande, Ariz. This is a small church that has a huge ministry in their community. The team members remodeled a house that belonged to the church, helped with the food distributions that occur at least once each month, helped clean and remodel the warehouse to city/county requirements, and assisted with a thrift store that is being remodeled into a ministry center. The team members interacted with several people who are being reached through this ministry. One of the highlights was a Sunday night special, Victory In Jesus, sung by three of the men who have been delivered from a life of addictions and prison. This church is continually reaching out to people who have great needs, whether they be physical, emotional, or physical. What a blessing for all of us who have been privileged to work here!
Thank you Jean for sharing about the work ROAM volunteers are doing! If you are interested in finding out more about this ministry, please visit the ROAM website.