Did you ever have a project round that seemed endless and then when it was over you wanted to linger?
Go to Cradle Beach, NY with Buffalo 4 and read how tears sum up the round 2 project
Angola, New York – The drive from Perry Point, Maryland, a story in itself, empowered the “anything is possible” energy by defeating the doubt of ever reaching our project with the sight of a simple entrance sign. The van boiled with excitement as we turned onto the narrow road surrounded by various airy trees giving a sudden claustrophobia. As the approaching seconds lingered a massive wooden house began to unfold as a mixture of formal facility and Caribbean beach hut, single story boasting a 30ft. ceiling, at the point. As the trip that seemed to never end drew out its final moments, small cabins began to appear scattered about, near and far, in groups and stand-alone, in the trees and in the clearing that started to give away, in no particular order.
Those focused on getting out and the main facility titled the ‘Jim Kelly House’ with a lady making her way out missed the obvious pool and playground to the immediate left. We maintained composure exiting the vehicle as our site supervisor, Bonnie, introduced herself. After we situated ourselves, she gave a brief verbal tour and history of Cradle Beach Camp. When she turned to direct a small portion of our team to the living quarters and parking lot the rest turned about soaking in the wondrous surroundings, stopping at the playground, a few took off into the nostalgia eager to stretch restless travel legs.
With red bags in hand, eyes widened and jaws dropped as the group made their way around the Jim Kelly House to their modest living quarters with a sandy beach backdrop. Rooms were set up in haste, anxious to intimately meet the blue horizon. Minus the team leader and two unfortunate grocery shoppers, the team set off along the water’s edge in high spirits. The coast proved to be beyond expectations, a source of spectacular amusements from sea glass to endless supplies of choice skipping rocks. Lake Erie has one forgivable flaw, the mixture of shallow water and algae covered shale made it un-swimmable in any climate. That first night and nearly every night there afterwards the team enjoyed exquisite sunsets which like snowflakes were unique at every sighting – inspiring and calming.
Round 2 passed in a paradox, a week would pass before lunch time and the hour after 9:30 am was so long it went through four seasons. The first two weeks, young and drunk with novelty, truly went in the blink of an eye and missed like the last piece of gum accidently swallowed. The next four held the longest work days filled with staining and painting or painting and staining; yet held a variety of misadventures consisting of many proud moments like the completion of the ambitious goal of holding a minimum 80 hours of individual service project time per person and other occasions that are better forgotten. Eventually the final weeks occurred like it ended too soon and we were left with a bittersweet feeling of wanting it to linger but eager to return for our well-deserved summer break.
We worked to prepare the camp for their busy summer start and more notably the 50 year reunion that would occur during our stay. There was no warning they could give to prepare us for the day in and out of working with a brush in hand and the monotony it brought that tested our resolve. The brief breaks between painting/staining were so welcomed that anyone would jump at the opportunity to clean out drain gutters for a morning instead. Fortunately time remained as consistent as ever and our vigilance showed in the eye catching details of Cradle Beach Camp, where once was an overlooked looked dull wooden structure was now replaced with vibrantly stained wood that was not only more pleasant to look at but was now protected from the elements.