volunteer retreat, Baja mexico
Drone footage and edit by Daina Buchner
On July 16 we loaded up our vans with our community members and headed south of the border to La Mision for a weekend of fun and volunteering at Door of Faith Orphanage. Our crew was nothing short of amazing! We had so much diversity. Different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and personalities. And everyone got along so good! We arrived Friday afternoon around 1:30pm and had a tour of the orphanage where attendees got to hear their story and learn about the work that they do there. They house, feed and care for about 120 kids with no help from their government financially. Community members help to keep the orphanage afloat and this is why we love working with them! Not only do they care for orphaned children, they also provide jobs for locals, to ensure the children are being raised with Mexican tradition. To learn how you can be more involved, click here.
After the tour was over, we sat down together to enjoy a welcome lunch prepared by our chef's Brittany and Mike. By the time everyone arrived to camp, it was as if they all knew each other for a long time. Majority of the people who came on this trip, came solo but did not stay solo for long because friendships were immediately forged. We had many buildings for lodging but most remained empty because everyone who met that day decided to sleep in one building together for a huge slumber party! Everyone signed up for their projects and then spent the rest of their free time playing cornhole and exploring the cute little hike by our campground while our chef's prepared an amazing taco bar for dinner. After everyone ate, we gathered around the campfire to tell stories, get to know eachother and make s'mores under the stars. It was magical.
After a night of bonding and satisfying our sweet tooth, we headed to bed because we had a full day planned. Surfers had a 5am wake up call. Surprisingly, everyone woke up on time and gathered in our dining room ready to go! We grabbed coffee and loaded up the van with our boards and headed to the beach for a surf session while others just sat on the cliff and listened to the sound of the ocean in the morning. it was beautiful. After spending time at the beach, we arrived back at camp and had a full breakfast bar waiting for us with the works! We ate, played a little corn hole and then got to work on our projects! Some painted tables and benches while others used weed wackers to clean up the roads. or shoveled rocks to make new roadways. Our lunch break was abundant, it consisted of burgers, fries and fruit. Once we finished lunch it started to pour rain so the other half of our day was spent indoors helping the staff stuff 3,000 envelopes to mail out. Once our work was done, the rain stopped and we headed back to our camp and enjoyed a fabulous pasta bar for dinner before our glow party! .....the glow party was LIT, literally.
We had glow in the dark drinks, glow in the dark Jenga, corn hole and beer pong. The music had everyone hype! We danced, played games and shared nothing but good vibes, smiles and laughter. Some people stayed up until 4am partying.
........ We work hard and we play hard!
Saturday came and went. The entire weekend went by so fast. We all woke up and cleaned/packed while our chef's made our last meal, a full on brunch with chicken and waffles being the group favorite!
We were all sad to be leaving after a fun filled weekend. Some of us decided to stop by Rosarito on the way back home for an impromptu adventure and others caught rides with those headed back to San Diego. We gave all of our hugs and said our goodbye's before heading out. The orphanage gave us a rock on day 1 that all of us signed and decorated. Then 1 person hid it so that we can come back next year to find it! So many people left with amazing memories and new found friendships and we could not be more happy! Thats what this community is all about. We have decided to make this an annual thing so if you're reading this, we hope you join us next year in 2022.
To everyone who took time away from your lives to be apart of this community and to give back, THANK YOU. To the the Paddle for Peace staff, Brittany F, Nishia, Ri, Natalie and Tiffany, who helped make this possible with all of your hard work, THANK YOU! To the A Team, Gabby, Jazmine and Divya for being attendees turned volunteers to help out at the retreat, THANK YOU! To our chef's Brittany C. and Mike for keeping us all fed with delicious meals all weekend, THANK YOU!
Check out some photos below from the retreat.