Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: His Creation, Ours to Protect

By Anthony Konieczka

May 23, 2016 - Today the Spirit of Adventure e-term class woke up to go for a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue past the Capital Building to the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). This building is one of the oldest on Capital Hill built in 1913. The General Board of Church and Society overlooks the Capital Building and the Supreme Court Justice Building (which was actually built after 1913).

Once we arrived at the GBCS we had an interesting lecture and seminar about some hot button issues that relate to our course. Spirit of Adventure, as I am sure many of my fellow classmates have explained, is all about finding ourselves in our own vocation through the soul searching adventures that we are a part of. First up was Aimee Hong, the Director of United Methodist Seminar Programs, and Amber Feezor, the Seminar Designer, to talk about the Social Principles and the Natural World. Through a film and discussion we really focused in on how the Methodist church helps on the global and local levels in some of the most need based communities. The examples ranged from West Virginia coal miners and the environmental danger of coal mining is, to Kenya and the change from tobacco crops to chili plants to boost farmer profit, to the Congo where a pastor helped build and manage canals to move stagnant water and thus dropping malaria by 70%.

After the discussion Shantha Alonso, the Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries (CJM), came in to talk about what CJM is and what it does in the world around us. In short CJM protects, restores and serves Gods' works through four faith principles; justice, stewardship, sustainability and sufficiency. CJM is a collection of Christian religions that work together to help shape government policies. They have helped with legislation such as the Green Climate Fund which states that the U.S federal government has donated 3 billion dollars, and the Clean Power Plan which is a policy that will play a major role in energy conservation as our country moves toward renewable energy.

Our third and final seminar was on Climate Change with Rebecca "Reba" Elliot, the Executive Director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions in Northern VA. She really hit home with the shocking truth that climate change isn't just far off with the penguins and melting ice caps of the South Pole or in Nigeria where the desert grows by 40 miles each year. She showed us insight on how the increasing water levels are destroying homes in Miami due to the absorbing limestone rock that the city is built on. More importantly she taught us ways we can help, some of these ways we have already implemented in our Ferrum community with our energy saving contests. Just turning the AC down one notch helps!

After the seminar we ended with a great stroll through the beautiful Botanical Garden. I don't think I've ever witnessed so many gorgeous flowers and wildlife in one setting. This location housed every color, shape, texture and plant you could think of. It was truly a perfect gallery for all of Gods' artwork.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Moonlight Memorial Tour

By Andrew Todd

May 22, 2016 - Today as a class, we had the rare luxury of riding the trolley for our own tour of the Nation's Capital. Our tour guide Barry aka Slim B was not only very informative, but he brought a unique enthusiasm to the tour itself. We drove by the Capitol building, Washington Monument, the Holocaust Museum, and many other interesting sites around the city. We got out to get a better look at the FDR and MLK memorial sites. This was at dusk, so the dimming light brought an ominous effect around the area.

I know the class learned a lot from the tour, and the tour guide's unique expression added to the experience. Slim B offered unique facts like the significance of the number 38. A couple interesting facts are that the Korean War was fought on 38th parallel north formed which formed the border between North and South Korea and coincidentally lasted exactly 38 months. He offered a detailed analysis of the sites around the city. Many people have seen the Washington Monument and renowned sites around the city of DC, however, not many people know the stories behind the history of this great city. Our e-term class now knows a lot that we previously wouldn't have. Thank you Slim B for entertaining and informing our class during the Moonlight Memorial Tour.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Night at the Museum

By Brian Mcelwee

May 22, 2016 - Today we visited the American History Museum in Washington D.C. I was amazed at the size of the museum and by the amount of exhibits. When we first walked in we were greeted by a display of the current 2016 presidential race. In the display it had the history of past American presidential candidates and how much the voting process has changed. The walls of the lobby had a vast array of American pop culture references. As you keep walking you saw everything from past American technologies like the first lawn mower to the evolution of the skate board. We then took a left and entered the "History of Travel in America" which brought us to a large display of American locomotives. It was cool to see how far America’s transit system has come since the 1920s.

My favorite part of the museum were the two escalator rides up on the top floor called "America at War". It was a large exhibit with artifacts and history from all American war conflicts. The exhibit gave great justice to all of the sacrifices that past generations gave in order to protect the freedoms we have today. The most memorable part of the museum was the Vietnam War section. To me the Vietnam War was a forgotten conflict by America that many people don't understand. The men who served never had a welcome home party, so to see such an amazing exhibit with uniforms and weapons from that time period was truly awesome. It also gave great detail to how the war began and showed domestic events at home that took place during that time. Overall I would highly recommend the American History Museum to anyone and I would love to go back one day.

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: We All Have Access to God’s Love

By Jayson Shurland

May 22, 2016 - I woke up this morning feeling great. Today was the day our class visited the Foundry United Methodist Church; Hillary Clinton also attends this church but she was absent. We all gathered in the lobby of the hotel at 10AM before we made our departure. Turned out that we had to walk about 25 minutes before we arrived at the church. On the way, we saw some homeless people so we handed out care packs, which contained personal hygiene items, snacks, and money.

Once the church was in sight, I was relieved because that meant it was time to stop walking but also amazed at the building. The church looked like a castle, which I thought was very cool. Walking into the church, I was taking in all of the beautiful things like the window paintings and the design. My church at home looks nothing like this one so the differences in this church were interesting. The service was nice; narrowing it down, the pastor said that no matter who you are, we all have access to God’s love. I agree with this because we are all equal in God’s eyes no matter our differences.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Classroom Adventures

By Jordan Brown

May 20, 2016 -
In The Spirit of Adventure E-term we have spent the last week or so having many extraordinary experiences. We visited and explored Lake Junaluska, we met the Cherokee people, and we studied the history of Ferrum College’s Methodist roots. We had many adventures at Lake Junaluska ranging from paddle boarding, high ropes courses, and white water rafting to crafting arrow heads and walking spiritual labyrinths but during all of these adventures we were always reading on our own and learning. This experiential learning that we accomplished is what makes class time so important because this time is to used tie together, review, and discuss all the things we have covered so far.

Today started off bright and early at 9AM with a session of yoga to give the class some time to relax and let loose before the classroom. Once we finished yoga, class began right after and we began to discuss our reading from the last couple days and made our preparations for the trip to DC that we will be undergoing on Saturday. Before breaking for lunch Dr Nicholson assigned some more reading to complete before returning to class at 1PM in Parker Palme’s Book Let Your Life Speak. We all showed up for class and completed the reading before Dr Nicholson arrived so we then took it upon ourselves to go ahead and break into small groups and present to our fellow classmates the sections that we were assigned to read which in all honesty went pretty well and by the time Dr Nicholson arrived to class we had all already become familiar with everyone else's material. While classroom time isn't quite the adventure as say, ziplining, that’s not to say that it wasn't enjoyable and meaningful.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Spirit of Adventure E-term 2016: Planting Seeds for Those in Need

By Keegan Howver

May 19, 2016 - An experience in our Spirit of Adventure e-term course was to help those who are less fortunate by spending our time working in the Giving Garden.  Our group helped out by pulling weeds, planting potatoes, watering greenhouse plants, and maintaining the health and growth of the tomato plants.  The group was at the Giving Garden providing our services for approximately an hour and a half. We learned that what we were planting and maintaining was distributed to those who are less fortunate and need healthy nutrients instead of spending the little money available on processed foods.

It is important to understand that no matter what situation you find yourself in, it is essential to look at the others in our community and find out how we can help those in need.  Today was a good example of not neglecting or losing sight of how there are others in our community struggling and they could use some help.  Our work on the garden today allowed me to have a sense of giving back to the community I have spent 4 years living in.  The importance of healthy food options for all families and people is what will keep the community healthy and thriving.  The group I worked with today was very happy to give back to the community and do our part to help those who are less fortunate. We practiced Ferrum’ s motto today, Not Self But Others, and it felt great.