Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yeah Buddy!

Yeah buddies are well known in STLF.  It's something every bus that goes on the STLF Pay It Forward tour does and it's a warm fuzzy thing.  During our night activities on the tour, which are essentially bonding and trust activities, yeah buddies are the last thing we do before we go to bed.  If someone has something nice to say about something that happened or something that someone did they'll say a yeah buddy for that.  Once everyone has said what they wanted to, we do a group yeah buddy.  Here's one "Yeah buddy to my family for working hard on the dairy farm to produce good quality products".

I just got back from the STLF Pay It Foward Tour yesterday and had an amazing experience doing community service projects in 5 cities on our way to Denver, though it was supposed to be 6 but we never quite made it to Medora, ND.  On the way to Medora, we met a blizzard and it was so bad that our charter bus was stranded on the side of the interstate for 13 hours, even while the interstate closed down.  A family with two kids, including a 9 month old baby, came onto our bus at around 8 or 9 pm (we stopped at 2:30) because they were running out of gas.  We gave them food and they were able to get some sleep in our bed bunks as the bus seats folded up into bunk beds.  When we finally got moving towards Bismarck at 7:30 am, after moving off the interstate to a gas station at 3:30 am, we passed 75 cars and 7 semis in the ditch or stopped on the interstate.  The interstate didn't open in time for us to get to Medora to do our community service project so we headed straight to Rapid City, SD instead.  It was certainly an interesting experience but nobody was negative about it at all; we all realized you just can't help some things.


After Rapid City, we did projects in Thermopolis, WY; Green River, WY; and Grand Junction, CO; before finally reaching our destination city of Denver, CO and doing a large community service project with all 9 STLF buses that had a destination city of Denver.  We did our projects until noon, drove during the day, and stayed in our next city for the night.  We typically stayed at churches and community centers.  My favorite project was in Grand Junction, CO where we worked with Habitat for Humanity and I helped put pickets on a fence.  Another project involved walking 6 miles along a parks & recreation trail in Green River, WY to pick up trash.  We had a bit of free time too, which mostly involved visiting state and county parks.  I especially enjoyed visiting Red Rocks Park near Denver where we saw the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and hiked up a mountain.  With my fair skin, I even got sunburnt from being outside so much and the high altitude.


To any college students, I highly recommend going on the STLF Pay It Foward tour over spring break in the future.  I'd also recommend community service in general; it's highly rewarding and can be a lot of fun.  Being on a bus with a group for 8 days certainly helps form good bonds as well and it's an experience I'll never forget.

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