Senior Youth Group – Service Trip To West Virginia

Our Senior Youth Group under the leadership of India Wood, Youth Coordinator, and Rev. Heather Concannon, assisted by Youth Group Advisors, Peter Gormley and Mike Zarin, are in West Virginia for a service trip with the UU College of Social Justice. The West Virginia program is both a service trip and an educational program, that teaches youth about environmental and economic justice using the coal mining industry as a case study.

India has been sending periodic updates and photos of their travels:

Sunday, April 14, 6:53 pm

As many of you may have already heard, we had some snow related issues upon arrival at our Chicago layover, which has resulted in us missing our connecting flight to Charleston. Despite this minor setback, spirits are still high! As I type this, we are figuring out flights (thanks Peter for dealing with United!) and playing Superflight while eating snacks, pictured bellow. Our plan as of now is to leave early tomorrow on the next flight to Charleston, which should be at 9AM if all goes according to plan. I’ll update you all on this as soon as we know.

As for tonight, we are staying at Rev. Heather’s housemate’s childhood home in Oak Park (just south of Chicago), where they have beds and showers so we can be clean and well rested for our flight tomorrow. Of course, we plan to dine tonight on deep dish pizza, as is tradition in this lovely (albeit unexpectedly cold and snowy) Midwestern city. Although we have not yet made it to our destination of West Virginia, we will be making the best of our journey.

Sunday, April 14, 11:33 pm

We are all situated in a lovely home safe and sound and cozy. Unfortunately, scheduling a new flight would keep us in Chicago for too long, so we have decided our best option is to rent two mini vans and have Heather, Peter, and Mike drive to our destination, about an 8 hour ride. Road trip!! We will leave tomorrow early in the AM, and arrive around late afternoon/early evening. We remain excited and enthusiastic; we won’t let this unseasonal snow get in our way! The youth are all being super stars. We enjoyed our deep dish pizza and laughed at our absurd situation. All is well.

Monday, April 15, 8:59 pm

WE MADE IT!!! We have all arrived safely in West Virginia, and are about to be at our final destination. We are a little tired and ready for a meal, but we have all maintained our can-do attitudes. Highlights of the road trip include: listening to/singing Country Road many times, learning about moth man, leaving snowy Chicago, eating cheese puffs, jamming to Hamilton’s soundtrack, talking to United Airlines on the phone for an hour and a half, and playing Rabbit or Wrench. All in all a wholesome 8 hour road trip.

Our group leaders, Gina and Jean-Luc, met us at the airport with enthusiasm and compassion for our wild trip so far. Tomorrow we will start full speed ahead on orientation at SALs. We’re excited to serve, and even more excited to learn from this community.

Wednesday, April 17

It’s Wednesday and we’ve made it to our half-way point! Days have been long and warm and rewarding as we connect with and serve the community. Highlights include: planting in the sunshine, building a ramp for a community member, having a group conversation with Artie (a life-long community member here in Beards Fork, WV and worker at SALs), build-your-own-tacos, dancing like forks in garbage disposals, creek stomping, and chicken holding. Lowlights include: some slightly sunburnt SYGers (and adults).