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RV Care-A-Vanners Enjoy RVing and Building Homes

By Guest Authors: Dale & Cari Secord
There is an RV group assisting Habitat for Humanity (HFH) called RV Care-A-Vanners. Their slogan is RV Travel with a Purpose.

The RV Care-A-Vanners is an excellent opportunity for people to combine RVing with helping others to have a safe, secure home. RV Care-A-Vanners work with local Habitat for Humanity affiliates requesting assistance. The RV Care-A-Vanner builds are two week builds. The local HFH affiliate arranges with a nearby campground for the RVs. Campground can be as close as adjacent to the site to 20 miles away. Some campgrounds are really nice - full service, sometimes state/county parks, and sometimes really marginal locations.

The HFH affiliate does their best to find someplace close that is reasonably priced. The local HFH affiliate lines up the campground and usually works with the campground owner for a reduced rate. Costs range from free to $15-20 per night. In Osburn, Idaho we paid $11/night and we stayed an extra week and the campground owner gave us a reduced rate of $15/night because of our efforts!

An RV Care-A-Vanner build is two weeks. Usually there are 6-10 RVs so there may be up to 20 RV Care-A-Vanners assuming no singles. We work about 6-7 hours per day for 2 five day weeks. Generally the local affiliate has already prepared the foundation. During the two weeks we are usually able to get all exterior & interior walls up, OSB siding on, Tyvek on, roof trusses up, and roof OSB on. But all that depends on local affiliate pre-preparations, number of RV Care-A-Vanners, scheduling of needed materials, etc.

Sometimes, RV Care-A-Vanners will come into a house that has been started and we put up sheet rock, install windows and doors, etc.

There is a construction supervisor from the local affiliate who is on site to provide direction. And most builds have a RV Care-A-Vanner team leader, who works with the construction supervisor and the Care-A-Vanners to make sure everyone is comfortable with what they're doing and keeping the jobs moving. The team leader also works with the affiliate on the arrangements for the campground, local activities, social activities, etc.

As you can imagine, each area has its own way of building and we must follow local building codes. Yes, building a house can be hard work, but the satisfaction of helping to provide a home for others makes it enjoyable.

The future homeowner usually will be working alongside the RV Care-A-Vanners. The family must put in 500 hours of "sweat equity.

The local affiliate usually has a welcome dinner for the RV Care-A-Vanners. Many also provide lunches and morning snacks on work days. In addition the RV Care-A-Vanners usually have several potlucks and group activities.

One of the great benefits we have found from doing Habitat builds, beside the incredible joy you get from helping these wonderful people be able to own their own home is we have gotten to explore places we probably would never have stopped at. We are currently in. We have been through Osburn, Idaho area many times but have always stop in Coeur d'Alene. During a build in Osborn we found there was so much to do there that we stayed 10 days after the build to hike, bike and explore.

There are several other RV groups which work under the RV Care-A-Vanner umbrella: Escapees HFH BOF, FMCA, etc.

For the complete list of RV Care-A-Vanner builds please visit the website

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