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 RV Corps, which is related to Lutherhaven Ministries. Steve Meyer, the director of facilities and special projects, shared a little bit about the work volunteers are accomplishing through this RV ministry:
Tell me a little bit about the history of RV Corps; when and why did it start? Lutherhaven Ministries has relied on volunteer labor for almost all of the facilities’ improvements for the last 70 years. Traveling RV workers started coming in the early 1990s and helped with the construction of the Welcome Center, the Dining Hall, and the Good Earth Lodge. When there isn’t a major construction project going on there is an endless list of small projects that RV volunteers help with. Everything from mowing lawns to running the camp store to basic maintenance and improvements.
Where do volunteers with RV Corps work and serve? Volunteers serve at one of our two sites (in Idaho) depending on where they are parking their RV. Either at our main site called Camp Lutherhaven, located eight miles south of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; or at our second site in Wallace, Idaho, called Shoshone Mountain Retreat. Shoshone is a true mountain retreat at the western edge of the ruggedly famous Bitterroot Mountains at the confluence of Shoshone Creek and the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.
Who can volunteer with RV Corps? Are there certain requirements? The RV Corps program is offered to retirees and older adults. Because Lutherhaven Ministries serves children of every age, requirements for the program include:
- Three references prior to service
- Passing a National Sex Offender and Criminal Background file check
- Submission of a Voluntary Disclosure Statement (which can be found on our website)
If a full-time RVing family with children wanted to be part of RV Corps, would there be opportunities for the whole family to serve? There are lots of opportunities for whole families to serve. We’ve got an abundance of kid-friendly projects including everything from exterior painting to stacking wood and raking the campsites.
How much time must volunteers commit to serve? In exchange for a campsite, RVers volunteer around camp an average of three hours per day in a five-day week. Volunteers can stay anywhere from a weekend, to a week, to six months.
What type of work do RV Corps volunteers usually do? Are there projects for all skill levels and health restrictions? Volunteer opportunities vary from season to season, site to site, project to project, even day to day! Whatever the task, we’ll match your talents to the needs of the camp. Work might include new construction, remodeling, painting, landscaping, helping out in the kitchen, office, or maintenance areas of the camps, or any of a number of possible odd-jobs.
Where do RV Corps team members live and park their camper during the projects? RV Corps team members are granted access to Lutherhaven’s or Shoshone’s beautifully situated, full-service RV sites. Meals may be available as arranged.
Can you share a highlight or special moment from the work RV Corps did this past year? My highlight from last summer’s volunteer crews would probably be the 40-plus days in a row where volunteers showed up to help tear the roof off our Retreat Center, frame up new walls, and put on a new roof. We were on a tight time schedule to get the roof back on before the rains came and with the help of dozens of volunteers the work got done!
Is there anything else you would like to highlight about RV Corps? Whatever talent you bring, know that you are helping improve the quality of Lutherhaven Ministries’ programs and sites and improving the well-being of the staff you’re assisting.
Thank you Steve for sharing about the work RV Corps volunteers are doing! If you are interested in finding out more about this ministry, please visit the RV Corps website.