Saturday, August 22, 2009

the beginning of year #2

These first few weeks have been an interesting mixture of rest time, fun time, and work time. I arrived back in Germany on July 31, had a day of rest and then new staff orientation started, which I am a part of because returning RA's help train the new RA's. Incorporated into these 2 weeks of orientation are countless meetings with all the the Residence Life staff to discuss topics like dorm issues and the upcoming year in general. Then this past week has been a time of preparation for our dorm, and we have had a lot of work to do!

As most of you know, there has been major construction going on for the past year with the end goal being: add a 4th floor to our [previously] 3 floor building so that one of the guys dorms can move in. Well, the construction was completed yesterday (yes, yesterday) and now my dorm (Palmgarten) occupies the basement floor and the first floor, while Maugenhard guys dorm will occupy the third and fourth floors. Here are a couple of pictures:

There was a lot of clean up work to do in our part of the building, as well as shuffling a lot of furniture between the floors. But the most exciting (and time consuming) project that we had was a new TV room for the girls! Last year, our TV room was on the third floor and had a beautiful view of the rolling hills outside; there was a foozball table and a ping pong table, as well as extra space to just lounge around.
Weeeell, that is now Maugenhard's TV room, and our new alloted space for a TV room was an old, dark and dingy storage room on the basement level of the building. eeek. The carpet was all stained, there's no daylight that comes in and it was a serious step down from what we all enjoyed last year.
So, myself, Bonnie (fellow RA) and Luke and Stephanie (new dorm parents) tackledthe project that would have made Ty Penington with Extreme Home Makeover proud! Here are a couple of pictures:

This was a project that we considered to be a priority because there is a lot of change going on this year in our dorm: moving floors, new dorm parents, and guys living upstairs! We wanted to create a comfortable, fun room that the girls could enjoy, and I think we did it!
  • The new students arrive on Sunday; we will have 2 new girls: Eunji, a freshman and Krystal, a sophomore.

  • We will have 19 total girls in the dorm this year; this is 7 fewer than last year, which I am excited about because the group dynamics are a little bit more manageable.

  • On Monday the returning students arrive and classes start on Tuesday!

  • I can't wait to see all the girls--I have high expectations for this year and can't wait to see all the girls I missed so much this summer!

Here are some specific things you can be praying about:

  1. changes in the dorm--needless to say, having a guys dorm move into our building will completely change the pace of life that we're so used to here at Palmgarten. Each dorm will run separately, but I know that there will be issues to address along the way concerning students and staff. Please pray that we, as dorm staff, will have the wisdom to deal with each new challenge and be a positive example for the students.

  2. new dorm parents--Palmgarten has new dorm parents this year, Luke & Stephanie Welbourn. They are a fantastic couple who bring a lot of energy and fresh perspective and I am thrilled to be working with them this year. It was sad for us all to say goodbye to Les & Elva Porter who were the dorm parents for the past 4 years, so please pray for a smooth transition. Here is our picture: (me, Luke, Stephanie, Bonnie)

  3. staff shortage--overall, there are some gaps in the staff of BFA this year, particularly in the Residence Life department. Typically each dorm (7 all together) has up to 4 RA's; but this year only one dorm has 3 RA's, the rest only have two...We are trusting that God will provide us with the strength and wisdom we need to run the boarding program with so few people, and also that He would provide new faces to help fill in the gaps. (staffing opportunities can be found at :))

Thank you all so much for keeping up with all that is happening here. It was wonderful to see so many of you while I was home this summer and I hope to be able to keep in touch throughout this school year!