The speaker at church today was Peter Robinson, who heads the Northern New England Conference’s disaster response effort. After the worship service, we had a small potluck, and after that, he presented what he called “Disaster Response 101”, which covered disaster preparedness. I didn’t know who he was before today, nor did I know he was going to make this presentation. I told Va I wanted to stay for it. She went home, and Jonathan and I stayed.
My interest in this subject stems back to the hurricane relief work we did back in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina struck. My two sons and I were part of an eight-person team who went to Bass Memorial Academy in Mississippi to help with the reconstruction of their campus. We stayed for a week, and it was an incredible experience.
I heard that this year Bass has a new principal, and he is none other than my old friend Gary Wilson. Gary was the principal at Vienna Adventist Academy when Jonathan started there. Bass has done well to hire him.
But back to Disaster Response.
In 2005, ADRA introduced nine new Pathfinder Honors, including one called Disaster Response. These were incredibly difficult to achieve, and I would say they were not really within reach of any but the most diedicated Pathfinders (staff included!) One requirement was to receive disaster response training from Adventist Community Services (ACS). When I looked into this, I found that it was a five-part series of seminars, usually offered over the course of a weekend. The training was not offered very frequently anywhere in the US (seems like it was in either Savannah or Atlanta when I checked). That’s just great if you don’t mind travelling to Savannah, but I expect most Pathfinders would not be able to do that. The seminar I took today was the first of these five. The second will be offered in November, and I intend to take that one as well. Peter may be presenting these at the Pathfinder Leadership Training in January too, but that’s still just an idea at this point.
Not that it matters for the honor though. This year the ADRA honors were revised to make them accessible. Good call. The training is no longer required for the honor, and that is but one example of a nearly impossible requirement which has been overhauled.
But I still want the training. I would like to be involved in that sort of thing, so I am going to make every effort to make that happen.
When a major disaster strikes, people spring into action and gather all sorts of things, including diapers, bottled water, cothing, food – anything that makes sense. Unless these items are sorted in a warehouse and repackeaged though, they are not much good. The niche filled by ACS in disaster response is in warehouse management. In other words, sorting, repackaging, and distributing donated goods.
Paul Watson, our conference Associate Pathfinder Director also has an interest in this, so we may be able to hook in the entire NNEC Pathfinder organization. It seems to me that having the training available when the leaders meet in January would be the most effective means of getting something in place quickly.
OK! I guess that’s about enough from the disjointed thoughts department for one evening!