Every year, we look forward to a visit from Calvin College students who are ready to serve and learn about Three Rivers over their spring break. We had to cancel our plans last year on account of low registration, but this year we are grateful for a very enjoyable and productive week with five eager and passionate students!
Calvin College’s Service-Learning Center coordinates groups for a week of service and learning with organizations around the country. Along with the *culture is not optional staff, the five students followed a rhythm of life together: beginning each day with morning prayer, working for several hours at the Huss Project in the morning, eating lunch at the Rectory, visiting local community members around Three Rivers in the afternoon, and cooking and lingering at the dinner table in the evening over conversations both weighty and light-hearted. The group stayed at The Hermitage and St. Gregory’s Abbey, which offered an environment of rest and contemplation during a busy week.
At the Huss Project, the main focus of the work was preparing the gym to be converted into space for a woodshop. Willing hands took down the drop ceiling to make way for new lighting, installed pallet racking for storage, and hauled away metal for recycling. Removing the ceiling revealed that we might be able to collect rainwater from the gym roof for the garden! The Huss Project garden is nearly ready for planting, thanks to the students who pulled out last year’s plants and harvested over-wintered carrots. Some much-needed organizing also took place in the office and supplies areas of the building.
In the afternoons, we visited neighbors and community members to listen to their stories and to learn how they make Three Rivers a unique place. We visited with farmers (and harvested more carrots!), artists, business owners, civic and church leaders, and monks and spiritual leaders. We had excellent conversations about the challenges and the life-giving aspects of living intentionally in a place.
It was wonderful to spend a rich, full week with curious, engaged, hardworking students who are asking good questions about the world we live in. At the end of the week, instead of “Goodbye,” we said, “See you soon!”
Find pictures of the week on our Flickr album.