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American Spirit Day 7 – Bear River Tribe

Oct 15, 2016

October 7, 2016

There are so many places in the world where we could hold our Challenges, but they all come down to the service project. However crazy, difficult or fun our Challenges are, the folks who participate tell me the highlight is the part where we are giving back. The truth they tell me is we gain more as individuals than we give. It is the best part of the Challenge.

In this case, I suppose we could have found a forest somewhere and challenged ourselves to plant 10,000 trees. Or we could work with Grid Alternatives to fund and install solar power for 6 homes for the Bear River tribe. The equivalent of planting 10,000 trees. We chose the latter.

Not only are we supporting the environment, we are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for the homeowners, and tangentially supporting Grid’s efforts to provide real-world training to people looking for a marketable skill. We are thrilled to be working with Grid Alternatives on this project.

We start the day with coffee, bagels and an hour reviewing safety. I smile. One of the reasons, I support the Challenge is to expose people to the different ways we see the world and breaking through misunderstandings. Imagine our view of safety in the USA, prepping the site, rules for placing ladders, using harnesses, how to carry tools, appropriate footwear…and then imagine us on the phone or email trying to manage a project where all those rules do not apply. As an example, as we scrambled up the hill to the school in Rwanda, we noticed the folks there hammering away at some cut up trees about 2 inches around…they were building our ladder for the day…if were to have applied our USA rules, nothing would have gotten done in Rwanda…on the other hand, on our beautiful perch on the very northern coast of California, the rules made for an extremely efficient and effective day. We finish three homes in 6 hours. Group 2 will likely be repeating the feat tomorrow.

The Grid supervisors are surprised at how good we are with tools, materials and even math.

The safety features are so secure, even those of us afraid of heights have no problems scrambling around the rooftops. Actually, it is a lot of fun.

We are done early installing the systems and head back to the hotel. We are going to have a banquet this evening with the folks from Group 2 and Grid Alternative. I am adding up totals for the teams to determine who is the winner. The 10 point to be allocated for best picture could get Not Fast but Furious to sneak by Annie Get Your Goat for first place. I can’t decide whose picture is the best. Annie Get Your Goat is not even a contender for best picture, but Orsi Brutti have a couple of great entries as does Rogue Two. And Sujoy of Kicheko throws things off with a very late submittal (I hope he doesn’t manage projects this way.) I can’t decide.

I ask for a projector at the banquet and will let the crowd decide. The 50 or so people gathered groan at some of the swimming photos, love the colors of photos in the canyons, but Sujoy’s photo from the prior day in Lassen National Forest wins the day.

Which means Jonathan and Christine win the Northland 2016 American Spirit Challenge for Group 1 with 67.5 points. Andy and Brendan come in second with 59 points. And Sujoy and Akram come in third with 57 points.

Our Champions. Although Jonathan looks like the normal one here, don’t let that fool you. They are both crazy!