Monday, July 8, 2013

Working Together

My extended got together for a work party at my grandparents' house this last weekend. Gathering a group together for service can be a great way to get lots done, spend time together and socialize, and accomplish things that are better suited for larger groups.

We were able to do lots of weeding and trimming of plants.

Trees were trimmed. Another nice aspect of working together is that everyone brings tools and equipment to share. It gives access to tools that might not be readily available.

Grandma was out filling up the bird feeders. 

The men worked hard at clearing several bushes and small trees to give a better view out the window for my grandfather. 

Remember what I said about having access to tools you might not usually use? Equipment can come in handy! This was used for moving larger items.

The golf cart was used for hauling water, weeds, and other needed items. 

Everyone helped. It was great to have extra hands for cute babies!

Other hands weeded. I didn't really think this bed looked too bad until I saw the difference with what they accomplished together!

Kids tried to sneak inside and play electronics, so I encouraged them to help drag branches back to the pile. That backpack carrier goes just about everywhere. I get a fair amount of comments about it. I love it as it lets us still be on the go and the baby seems to do great in it. I can put it on and take it off by myself. There are zippered pockets for snacks and other needed items. It can stand up on its own . . . if the baby falls asleep he can finish his nap while it's standing up (not that he took a nap in a field of tall grass in the backpack carrier while I was in a nearby pond collecting cattail pollen). It gives me two hands to use while I'm hiking. That's helpful with three other boys. 

I took a break by a small pond in quest of cattail pollen. 

It was a little messy, but worth it! Mission accomplished. We also had mulberries and black raspberries. I heard the children found a few snakes and other critters, too.

We ended with a picnic outside. It was great weather. We accomplished so much! It was great to socialize while being productive. 

While this was my extended family getting together, we've also invited other friends we know for work parties and have helped with others through church and community groups. As a family, I remember one Independence Day as a teenager when we made quick work of all the litter left behind after the fireworks. We would be stuck in our car for a lengthy time, so just stuck around. I started picking up trash near us, my brother and parents joined in, and then a couple more families picked up trash. We cleared the whole hillside while the other cars were just leaving. It was amazing to see what we accomplished by justing starting little by little. We've also enjoyed clearing creeks, pulling weeds, and more! 

Who you might invite to help at a work party:
1. Family
2. Friends
3. Organizations (churches, schools, sports leagues, interest groups, scouts, etc.) 
4. Coworkers
5. Neighbors

Benefits of working together with others:
1. Accomplishing great things!
2. Have fun.
3. Socializing with others.
4. Getting more done than you could on your own.
5. Helping others and the environment.
6. Being the good in the world.

A few ideas if you'd like to host your own nature service party:
1. Many area agencies would love help clearing out brush or invasive species, working on a special project, or helping host an activity. Contact local nature centers, trail stewards, and other groups that could use help. Other options might be a neighborhood park, a neighbor who could use extra help, or  adopt-a-trail or highway sites. I suggest contacting the recipient to understand wishes before doing any service.
2. Encourage others to bring tools and other needed items. Make sure these are labeled to get them back to their owner. Gloves are helpful.
3. Have water available to keep people hydrated throughout the activity.
4. Keep a central list of things to work on so that when one option is finished, there are other projects to tackle.
5. Food is always a great addition! Having a potluck or sponsored meal or just good refreshments is a great way to refuel and a good time to socialize.
6. Think of activities for children to accomplish. They can be helpful in picking weeds up, moving rocks, etc. They need these experiences too!
7. Try to make it fun! A few harmless practical jokes or well placed water balloons can make things exciting!
8. Designate a brush pile or other ways of disposing of the accumulated natural debris. Planning ahead for this will make things go more smoothly. Some items, such as garlic mustard, should really be bagged and put in the trash. 
9. Thank you for helping! There are many ways you can make an impact! Be the good in the world!

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