VIM Members Visit Lucerne Virtually and Personally

For many years, The Wisconsin Conference Volunteers in Mission (VIM) have been showing up ready to work at Lake Lucerne for a week in October. Usual jobs include roofing, building picnic tables, deep cleaning cabins and the dining hall and windows, trimming trees and splitting wood, helping with the parts of the site that need to be drained or buttoned down for the winter, and other repair projects as needed. Then, COVID-19 put a kink in this annual event for VIM at Lake Lucerne. Out of caution and care for all volunteers, this year’s week-long work project was cancelled.

However, this is not the end of the story for the intrepid Wisconsin VIM members! Jess Shaker, Lake Lucerne Program Manager, and Jack Kallio, Facilities Manager, created a video of the projects that Lake Lucerne has been able to work on while unable to host campers and retreat groups. A Zoom call (which was a first for many of the members) allowed Jack to talk the members through the projects, while answering any questions they had.
Much like an in-person VIM week, the ZOOM meeting included some of the current needs and potential tasks at the camp. Jack and Jess' video outlined work that needed to be done on Bluebird Cabin, the new playground and one of the kitchenettes.

The support received from Wisconsin VIM as a result of this video and sharing of Lake Lucerne needs has been overwhelming! Individual donations of $2,600 were received from generous VIM members, and, in addition, the Wisconsin VIM reimbursed Lake Lucerne for supplies totaling $3,119.00.

Once the wood chips arrived, a crew of seventeen spent Thursday, November 19 working – self-distanced – at the playground and at other odd jobs in the camp. Although the full work week was cancelled this year, knowing that folks sleeping together in cabins was not safe in light of COVID transmission, they still came for one day of outside, socially distanced work, spreading the mountain of wood chips delivered a few days before and helping with a variety of other smaller jobs as well.

As a result of these donations, we have already completed placing the landscape timbers and wood chips around the new playground across from the dining hall.

This new playground with the wood chips, specially created for this use, is standing and waiting patiently for children to return to Lake Lucerne next summer. In addition, a steel beam and wiring was ordered and used to reinforce the roof of the Bluebird Cabin. The Pine Cabin kitchenette replacement is the next job on the list, and we are waiting for a particularly snowy day to do this inside work.

Melinda Trotti, Interim Director at Lake Lucerne Camp, noted, "We are so grateful to Wisconsin Conference Volunteers in Mission for their hard work and generosity. Even in the midst of these uncertain times of COVID-19, members of the Wisconsin VIM found a way to be of service in a safe way and put their faith into action at Lake Lucerne Camp."

VIM participants have also been invited to complete a Habitat for Humanity home in Wisconsin. Tentative plans for trips to Florida, North Carolina, and other locations have been made, with the understanding that they may not occur due to COVID.

Although there is sadness in not being able to host Volunteers in Mission at Lake Lucerne fall of 2020, joy is found in two weeks of Volunteers in Mission planned for 2021! For more information, please contact Melinda Trotti, Interim Director at Lake Lucerne at 920-293-4488.