The Bison Orientation Leader Team for the incoming class of 2015 (BOLT15) worked very hard preparing to welcome the incoming freshman class to Nichols. We had a lot of training sessions and team building activities that enabled us to work as a team and give us the tools to properly introduce the freshman to our institution. A big part of being a Nichols College student is giving back to the community and working as a team. On Wednesday June 22 BOLT15 went to Willard Rd in Sturbridge, MA to assist some of the victims of the June 1st tornado that tore through Southern Massachusetts. As orientation leaders we lead by example. We expect clubs and other organizations to complete community service and we are no exception. Community Service is about more than just doing a good deed for someone, it teaches a group about the value of teamwork and shows how hard work and dedication really does payoff.
The goal for the day was to assist residents on Willard Rd in nearby Sturbridge, MA with cleaning up their yards for debris removal. Tornado relief assistance had set up a series of debris pick ups through out the week to collect large amounts of debris, large trees and brush to be hauled off so that the resident doesn’t have to worry about finding and paying for someone to remove it themselves. The hard part is for them to haul the debris from the yard to the street. Cleaning up after a storm like this one is a tedious task and takes a lot of time, this can be very difficult when you have to continue going to work, taking care of a family and dealing with insurance companies. Any help that is offered is greatly welcomed by the residents of the affected areas. BOLT15 split it self into two groups:
Group 1 went to a house where there were a lot of limbs and really big tree branches on the ground. This coincidentally was the house of Nichols Alum Arlene Kazyra Maack ’79. Arlene was one of the first women to successfully complete the Nichols M.B.A program. The house in Sturbridge was left to her and her husband by her parents and traveled traveled all the way from Corning NY. The Maack’s very fortunate that all of the trees in their yard fell and missed their house. Their yard however was covered with fallen trees and limbs. It’s almost unbearable for one person to take to that task all by them selves as Mr. Maack was prepared to do. When we arrived he was in the middle of meeting with his Insurance Agent and as soon as he was done he came out and asked if he could be put to work. After two hours his yard was spotless with the exception of one giant tree that the state was coming in to clear out. We saved him an entire afternoon worth of work and a lot of aggravation.
Group 2 spent the morning at a location up the street. The majority of the time was spent tearing down a 6′x12′ shed that had been severely damaged by the tornado. We cleaned up their yard and carried brush and debris to the street. The family had been in the house for less than a year and they were more than thankful for the work that was done.
It was a great experience all around. The best part of the entire experience was doing all that work and having a great time doing it. The team worked very well together and it was so amazing to see the people we were helping laugh and join in on the fun with us. Having an impact on someone’s life like that is an amazing feeling and as a group we got the chance to experience that together. It’s hard to sum up in words what that feels like besides… AWESOME.
It was a great experience for all of the BOLT15 members and we were proud to represent Nichols College in that capacity.