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Day 42 - Supreme Chapter

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Today, I said goodbye to the truest fraternity I've ever been a part of. As the 2016 Build America team began to part ways, I couldn't help but find myself at a point of tears running down my face. As my teammate Colin put it: "I'm ready to be home, but I'm not ready for the goodbyes." I will never be able to forget the shared experiences that I and 16 other gentlemen had this summer, and I wouldn't take it back for anything. Emotionally, the past 48 hours have been the hardest part of the trip. Not the hot Texas sun or the awful Missouri humidity or thin Colorado air... But rather, having to say goodbye to brothers that truly display brotherly love to one another and all others.  
 

As we arrived in Austin to Pi Kappa Phi's Supreme Chapter, we were welcomed by the entire national council, delegates from every chapter of the fraternity, and many other names within Pi Kapp. As our final hours were dwindling, we celebrated a great summer as a team leading up to one of the hardest goodbyes I've ever had to give. These 16 men are truly the most genuine brothers I will ever have. As we talk about in our creed, I finally experienced "the ideal chapter," A chapter of men who truly define what it means to be a man of Pi Kappa Phi. Thank you, Lord, for putting Build America on my heart all the way back in January, because without it, I wouldn't have become the man I am now.   
 

Thank you to all of our sponsors whether it was a meal or a box of cookies in the mail for helping us get to the end of this entire experience. We are beyond thankful for your love.
 

Goodbye, Build America.
 

In Pi Alpha and the Ideal Chapter,

 

Travis Green

Gamma Tau (North Texas)

 

 

Day 41 - Camp C.A.M.P.

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Today was a busy day for the team, but was also a very good one. The team started the day by getting right to work on finishing the petting zoo shelter. It took all morning, but after a lot of work and everyone helping, we got all of the fencing and side pieces up and secure. With the gates hung and the mini horses brought over, the job was complete. We all posed for a picture by the new structure then went back to the pavilion to meet campers for the final camp award ceremonies. Seeing all of the friends we made that week receive awards up on stage was very heartwarming and fun to watch. Saying goodbye to all of the friends we made was hard, but even harder was saying goodbye to our teammate CJ as he had to leave to the airport that afternoon. With hugs and tears all around, we all said goodbye as he, Jeff, and I headed to Austin Airport to drop him off.
 

After our last lunch with the remaining campers, we cleaned up the work site, inventoried the tools, vacuumed and removed decals from the vans, and cleaned out lodging. Ken was nice enough to sponsor our dinner that evening by buying pizza for us to eat poolside at the camp’s swimming facility. We had a lot of fun swimming and hanging out all together on our last night before tomorrow’s arrival in Austin. 

 

Ryker Belnap

Kappa Iota (Idaho)

 

 

Day 40 - Camp C.A.M.P.

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Today marked many beginning to the end for our team. Wake up today was a different kind of wake up for the team. The tiredness was nonexistent, and the drive to work was like that of the first day. It was official, today marked the last full day of construction. After the past six weeks, today was the day to give it your all. Like the beginning of this journey at Victory Junction, we would end our construction efforts with the same fire in our hearts as we started with. From the five acre fencing pasture at Victory Junction to the boardwalk up the Rockies at RMV to painting the pavilion at Wonderland to the nature trail at Civitan and even the greenhouse frame at DHR to the miniature pony fencing at C.A.M.P., the knowledge of construction for each individual has grown tremendously and the impact on these six camps will be forever. The memories are forever, and a hammer now has found a special place into each teammate’s heart.

As the construction day ended, the team was given the opportunity to attend Princess Parties, where girls from all four tribes got to give us all makeovers! After the makeover sessions, brothers had the opportunity to dress up and help serve at the Pawnee Prom! Pawnee Prom was a dance specifically for the older campers who might have not of gotten the opportunity to attend a dance or prom, where there was a course meal and everyone dressed up! As some brothers were servers others dressed up for the occasion! At the end of the meal, we all came together and sang The Rose song to the Pawnee girls, officially making the special night even more specil for them. The final hoorah dance for the BAM team was incredible, full of laughter, smiles and goofy moves. After the dance, the team was invited to Star Light, a tradition that happened every week the night before campers departed.

After the team freshened up, we arrived at Star Light not knowing what was going to happen. As we formed a large circle in the middle of a field with the entire staff, the director  gave us the opportunity to light a giant star up. The idea of Star Light is to envision and look back on all the memories of the week, and realize how impactful each person was onto the campers. After six weeks, it seemed as though it was finally real where the trip was coming to an end, but the memories that we had as a team and individually on others was forever in our hearts. "Remember, when you look into the stars think and remember all those campers that you touched and how they touched your life too. No matter where you go, they'll always be there in your hearts."
 

Tyler Cabral

Iota Lambda (Quinnipiac)

 

 

Day 39 - Camp C.A.M.P.

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Today we woke up at 7:15 am as usual. We headed to flagpole to sing camp songs before breakfast. Today we could really sense an added energy at flagpole, and it really was a blast!

 

On the worksite we continued working on the fence for the mini-horse pasture.  We finished everything except connecting the fence to the little petting zoo area that we have yet to finish constructing. It has been really rewarding to be making amazing progress every dat at Camp C.A.M.P.

 

For evening programming, the team went to messy night. We had a big paint and shaving cream war. The campers were very enthusiastic to get us a messy as possible.

 

As our trip is coming to an end we had an emotional ritual that the team does every year to reflect on the amazing summer. Most of the guys left in tears. It is crazy to think that we have less than a week together with our Build America brothers!

 

Jacob Hruska

Kappa Iota (Idaho)

 

 

Day 38 - Camp C.A.M.P.

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Today, we had our second work day at Camp C.A.M.P.  Jeff and Ryker built a small wooden shelter to accommodate the turtle at the nature site.  A good-sized portion of the team worked on setting fence posts and reinforcing the fence in preparation for the fencing.  My team spent a lot of time working on waterfall project by laying down the liner on the lower half of the waterfall, shaping the top half with a large dirt mound and rocks, and laying rocks alongside the inside of the pond at the bottom.  The mini-horse shelter was nearly finished, and the bench-making crew managed to finish a few more benches today.
 

After dinner, some of the campers spent time at the lazy river and the pool, while others attended the camp messy night which consisted of using shaving cream, paint, and other messy items to draw, feel, or throw to each camper’s heart’s content.  I spent time with a few campers in the pool who wanted their counselor and me to throw them around in the pool.  I had a blast tonight, and I can’t wait to spend time with the campers tomorrow.
 

Ryan Billingsly

Epsilon Mu (Bradley)

 

 

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