Team is renovating TwispWorks’ West Shed
AmeriCorps volunteers are back in the Methow Valley this spring and summer, helping TwispWorks with campus improvements and finishing work on homes near Pateros that were rebuilt after the Carlton Complex Fire.
The 10 volunteers, from across the United States, arrived in Twisp on May 20. That first week, they removed siding from the TwispWorks West Shed, leaving only the frame. (They also left Kathy B’s Kitchen intact.) The group also landscaped the TwispWorks campus and lent a hand to Classroom in Bloom and Methow Trails.
All this was accomplished in one week by a group of early-20-somethings, many of whom were looking for an interesting “gap year” after college that included travel. What the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program provides goes deeper than that.
“Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, I knew I enjoyed doing community service,” said Haley Coates, 23, who is from Florida. “It’s important to humble yourself sometimes.”
Team leader Amy Singer, a 23-year-old from Baltimore, has enjoyed the travel but has also bonded with fellow team members.
“It’s been an awesome experience to work with people of all different backgrounds and perspectives,” Singer said.
Splitting their time
The members of NCCC Pacific Region team “Blue 7” started working together about eight months ago, tutoring students at public schools in Sacramento, California. Before arriving in Okanogan County, they were in Grants Pass, Oregon, cleaning cages at a wildlife rehabilitation center.
Now, the team is dividing its time between TwispWorks and Okanogan County Long Term Recovery, which has been building houses for people who lost their homes to the 2014 and 2015 fires. The organization will finish building homes and improving fire-damaged properties this summer, with AmeriCorps’ help.
The volunteers are also helping TwispWorks finish a project it has been working on for several years. The West Shed is the last of the original U.S. Forest Service buildings on the campus to be renovated. The building will be upgraded from its past uses as a shop and storage space to make room more tenants, TwispWorks Executive Director Don Linnertz said.
“We’re looking forward to having capacity for new businesses on campus and the incubation opportunities this new space will make possible,” Linnertz said via email. “We welcome inquiries and ideas for space on the TwispWorks campus.”
AmeriCorps volunteers painstakingly removed all the nails from the pieces of old siding on the West Shed. Later they will plane the wood so it can be put back on the building during the renovation. The West Shed should be ready for new tenants in October, Linnertz said.
“Blue 7” will return to Pateros on June 10 to continue assisting Okanogan County Long Term Recovery. The volunteers then come back to Twisp for the first three weeks of July — to work, and to play.
Laura Gallicchio decided to take a year off after college. The public health major from Connecticut wasn’t ready for graduate school, or for sitting down at a desk in a 9-to-5 job.
“I wanted to see different aspects of the world, especially the West Coast, since I’m from the East Coast,” Gallicchio said.
“I’m definitely going to enjoy the recreational aspect,” she added. “That’s what you guys are known for.”