Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What are the sleeping arrangements? Is there floor space for sleeping bags or will there be beds? The Montgomery location has 32 beds and additional space for floor or couch sleeping. The Colcord manse has 28 beds and lots of floor space. The Kopperston location has 20 beds and some floor space. The Welch location has 16 beds and plenty of floor space. We recommend that you bring sleeping bags and pillows, and in some cases, air mattresses or cots.
2. What are the cooking facilities? We will be bringing food with us to feed our group. You'll be able to use the fully equipped kitchen at the facility. That includes dishes, pot and pans, microwaves, coffee pots, toasters, grills, refrigerators and stoves.
3. What type of work will we be doing? --painting, cleaning, hammering, roofing, porches, electrical, plumbing, etc? Probably all of that and more. We can let you know specifics about the work and tools needed a week or two before you come.
4. Will we be working near where we are staying? Do we need to take lunch with us when we leave in the morning or should we plan to have a lunch break back at our "home"? We try to keep the projects within one hour's drive. You do need to take lunch with you most days, but occasionally a church, a soup kitchen, or even the homeowner will prepare lunch for groups. Important - remember to take coolers and jugs for drinks and bottled water to the site.
5. Do you have any age guidelines? What is the youngest child you would like to see on your site? Given the types of work that we do, our preference is age 14 and above.
6. When are the groups coming and leaving? i. e. Sunday to Saturday? There's quite a variety on that, but we prefer Saturday evening arrival so that you can attend a local church service on Sunday. Note: you get Wednesday as a day off.
7. Do you have activity for the group for one day? Do you think that the rafting companies would consider somany ideas for any type of recreational e type of "group rate"? Yes, your day off during a week-long trip will be Wednesday and several of the rafting companies are willing to work with you for group rates. To get other ideas, call 1-800-CALLWVA or take a look at http://www.wvtourism.com/.
8. What does a typical day look like as far as schedule and onsite expectations? A typical day might start with breakfast and a briefing of the work to be done that day, leaving the housing location by 8:00 am. The commute to the worksite could be up to an hour, after which the group will usually work until 5:00 or so, stopping for lunch at midday. The work is general carpentry, ranging from demolition to installation of floors, drywall, roofing, paneling, siding, etc. It could involve plumbing or electrical work as well, depending on the skills of the group.
9. What are basic tools and equipment needs? Group members should bring their normal toolboxes, including hammers, saws, measures, chalk lines, etc. A week or two before your trip, we will communicate the specifics of the projects, including special tool needs, so that you can pack the appropriate tools for the jobs.
10. When will we know exactly what we will be doing so we know what to bring? It is very difficult to predict exactly what each group will be doing because often the work depends on what was completed by a prior mission group. You may be completing a project or beginning a new one. We will try to keep you as informed as possible on details in advance. Rest assured that the job supervisor will make sure you are properly equipped for your mission.
11. What type of housing is available for our group? Your housing will be either a church manse or a church education building. All of our facilities have fully-equipped kitchens, bathrooms with showers, and cots or bunk beds to sleep on.
12. Will there be other groups in the area with which we might do some joint planning and recreation programs while we are there? At this time, our locations are not close enough together to facilitate joint recreation.
13. Will we be divided into teams at various sites or will we be together on one site? Will we be close enough to share lunch? If your group is over 8-10, you should expect your group to be divided into multiple projects. You’ll need to have at least one skilled adult for each project. Because we do not know where our sites will be, plan to have lunch at separate locations.
14. Do we need to meet someone to get a key or will we be able to get in the housing facility? There will be someone to greet you at the housing facility or you will be informed as to how to obtain the key.
15. Is there a store nearby? There are grocery stores within 15 minutes of each of our facilities.
16. Will there be power at the work site and should we bring power tools? In most cases, yes.
17. Is there a need for donated clothing? No, there is an overage of that.
18. Are there places to eat out close by? Yes
19. We are flying into Charleston. What is the cost/availability of transportation when we get to West Virginia? Will it be available for us through you or one of your churches? Our recommendation is that you get online and look for the best deals for renting vans in Charleston. (I use Sidestep, Expedia, and Smarter Living.) We don't have that kind of transportation available locally. Then you'd have your transportation from the airport as well as to the job site(s).
20. We have a large group and are willing to sleep on the floor. Can we exceed the sleeping space and just spread out? Generally speaking we must say no. In most cases where we have made this exception folks felt the facilities were inadequate. Furthermore the bathroom facilities and the kitchen and eating space will not be conducive to handling larger groups.
21. If the housing facility is located on the church property, can we use the church fellowship hall for cooking and eating? All churches associated with WVMAW are very welcoming to the mission groups however we are guests of the church. Any activity or event of the church supersedes the mission groups. Unless specifically invited by the church, we do not recommend that you plan to spread out beyond the housing facility.
22. What is your required youth to adult ratio? Generally speaking we require one adult for every five youth. Adult supervisors are preferably over age 25.
23. We have some students younger than age 14. Can we still bring them? Please be advised that our projects are not always appropriate for those younger than age 14. Furthermore it is our experience that children under age 14 need more adult supervision and a tighter adult to student ratio may be required. Please discuss any exceptions to this rule with Joan Stewart, Executive Director.
24. Will I have cell service? A definite maybe! Cell service in mountain areas is sporadic at best. Please bring calling cards for long distance! Note: even if service is available, we ask that adult supervisors please discourage youth from bringing them on the work site
25. Will I have access to internet? Kopperston and Welch have computer labs in their facilities. HOWEVER we discourage free access to the computers. Exceptions will be made for communication with your home church or sending blogs of your mission. Computers will NOT be available for recreational use, and we ask adult supervisors to help us to comply. Our hope is to place volunteers in a different atmosphere where they experience relationship with one another as opposed to internet activity. There is no internet access at the other sites.
26. Are I-Pods allowed on the work sites? The Board of WVMAW and the site supervisors ask all adult leaders to discourage youth from bringing I-Pods to the work sites. We see this as a possible safety hazard, but more than that. Mission is a time to build relationships with one another, with the supervisor, and with the owner whom we are serving. In our experience youth with I-Pods do not socialize as well, nor listen to direction. What about other music played while working? On a case by case basis this must be discussed with the site supervisor. Considerations include the resident you are serving, children or babies present, neighbors who may be disturbed, the type of music, the decibel level, and the distraction level. Often music can be a motivator. Other times it can be a distraction or can be offensive. Note: Adult leaders are asked to please monitor the type of music brought along for offensive or oppressive language. (Please see 1 Corinthians 8)
27. The volunteer information sheet says that long pants are required. REALLY??? But it’s hot! Long pants are required for safety reasons. You may be asked to crawl into tight spaces, you may be asked to use power tools, you may be asked to carry heavy objects. You may trip and fall on the job site. You may be asked to climb ladders and others will have to hold the ladder. Furthermore mosquitoes, spiders and bees are less likely to sting unexposed body parts. And then there is the modesty issue where the lack of clothing should not be a distraction to fellow workers or send unwanted messages to the families we serve. Any exceptions to this rule should be discussed with the site supervisor and the adult leaders and consideration MAY be made based on the job site. Note: Adult Leaders should set the example and must also comply with this rule. Recommendations: hospital scrubs are a light weight and comfortable alternative to blue jeans.