Letter Perfect

Truths from an ASB SCA Student

Callahan Mayer-Marks is 17 and hails from Tacoma Parks, MD.  She served on a community crew last year but ever since her older sister came back from a national crew with some amazing pictures from Oregon, Callahan has wanted to venture further from home.  Based on her letter below, this will not be her last SCA experience:

 
Now that my crew is nearing its end, I am overcome with feelings of relief and empowerment.  From Day One, my fellow crew members and I swore to live by the mantra “I will always be wet, sore, itchy and dirty” so we could overlook our discomforts and focus on working hard.  In retrospect, I’ve added “I will always be happy” because the enthusiasm and satisfaction I’ve felt every day here is nearly as tangible as the bug bites on my arms and legs.
 
Despite the strenuous work (7-8 hours, 6 days a week), less than optimal living conditions (tents, portapotties) and constant mud baths (Great Smoky Mountains Park is a legitimate rain forest), I have never regretted nor disliked my volunteer work here.
 
The past three weeks have consisted of digging ditches, setting rocks and brushing back vegetation.  Though the work was tough, expressions of gratitude and praise from hikers and rangers along with the sense of accomplishment I shared with my crew made every moment memorable, rewarding and worthwhile.
 
In Booker T. Washington’s ‘Up From Slavery,’ he chronicles his attempts to raise money for the newly established Tuskegee Institute.  As he expected, Washington struggled to gain support from the many wealthy, white Southerners yet one donor surprised him by thanking Washington before Washington could thank [the donor] for his generous donation.  The philanthropist believed that he should feel more grateful towards Washington than vice versa because Washington had given him the opportunity to support a worthy cause.
 
So thank you for sponsoring me.  SCA is changing me for good – and for the better!  I encourage you to continue supporting and promoting SCA and I promise I will, too.  SCA has given both of us the opportunity to create lasting, positive change on Earth.
 
Sincerely,
Callahan Mayer-Marks

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