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Simply Smiles provides bright futures for children, families, and communities. The organization partners with populations in need to create physical and emotional environments where suffering is alleviated and from which local leaders can emerge.

Simply Smiles blog

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Monroe Congregational Church/ Venture Crew 63 on the Reservation: August 2014

Timothy Nurnberger

August 13-17, 2014 OK, so this has taken me a few days to finish … but in my defense we were REALLY busy on the Rez!

First, a little about our group … we have 15 people altogether; 6 teens, 9 adults (7 men and 8 women).  Many of us have been out here previously (the 4th time for some), but for several this is their first (but hopefully not last) time here.

We’ve broken up into 4 work teams:  Scott, Clark and Evan are making a tool shed complete with a window and hinged doors; Debbie, Bruce and Lynne are fencing in the “washing area” - they’re working on creating gates to keep it secure; Tom, Sherrie, Erica and Sam are putting the finishing touches on a recycling bin and a baseball equipment bin; Rob, Glenn, Olivia and Janet have been digging holes - first for the basketball court and now for the horseshoe pits.  As for me, I’m working with a staff member (Jen from First Church in Fairfield) to make a barrier around the basketball court so no one can drive on it.  Whew!

I have to say the basketball court is epic!  It was started earlier in the season but we finished pouring the cement for it this week.  We hope to pour the concrete for the hoops tomorrow.  And the kids are very excited about being able to play on it soon!

Speaking of kids - it’s fun to see many familiar faces and meet many new ones too.  We’ve had great attendance at camp … our first day was all about drawing and each kid got their own sketch pad and many sat for the whole afternoon making various pictures.  They also used some “Draw 50 …” books to make great pictures - one had instructions on drawing Fred Flintstone and several kids drew him really well!  We heard later in the week that one of the kids carried his sketch pad with him for days drawing all sorts of things and that his Dad bought him some art supplies so he can continue to improve – way cool!

Some of our other crafts were “sponge bombs” which were great on the hottest day of the week and using a t-shirt transfer machine to make backpacks for kids using their own drawings.

Since we had not one but THREE talented musicians in our midst (Kristen Graves, Glenn Roth and Tiokasin Ghosthorse), we had a fabulous concert under the stars during the community dinner on Friday night.  Lakita and Juanita even went up and sang “Let It Go” from Frozen as well as “Keep Hope Alive” in front of a very appreciative crowd.

Although we’re home now (and are no longer covered in grime!), we will not forget the awesome experience that is uniquely Simply Smiles!  See you next year, LaPlant!

Jan Redfern

Monroe Congregational Church/Venture Crew 63