Presently Mission teams are housed in the McWhinnie cottage. This house was built as one of the three original buildings after the mission was moved from Wood Island to its present location in Kodiak. McWhinnie sits in the center of the campus overlooking the pasture and Shahafka Cove with a view of Wood Island, where it all began in 1893.
There is a hospitality director on staff at KBM and they will be facilitating the residential needs of each team. All bedding is provided so there is no need to bring sleeping bags or pillows. Laundry facilities are also available in the cottage.
The main floor has an ample kitchen with a dining area squeezed into it. The living room and three additional bedrooms and bathroom are also on the main floor. There is an additional shower room, bathroom and laundry facilities in the basement available to the Mission Team. During the winter this cottage is used to house our year round staff.
Our hospitality director will be working with each team to insure everyone has a place to lay their heads after a busy day. Our recommendation is to aim at a team size of around 15-20 people. This works well in the house, is a good number for the kind of projects we will be doing and keeps the group small enough to create an opportunity to develop strong interpersonal relationships during the trip.
Alaska Airlines (www.alaskaair.com) and Ravn Aviation (www.flyravn.com) are the only two airlines servicing Kodiak. It is possible to take the State Ferry (www.akmhs.com) from Homer Alaska but this is challenging as you have to find a way from Anchorage down to Homer to catch the Ferry (there are some bus options available online). From there it is an eight to twelve hour boat ride to Kodiak.
Once in Kodiak you will have access to KBM’s vehicles to get around Kodiak during non-business hours. Fortunately or unfortunately our work with kids has gotten so big that we need every vehicle we have to get the kids to the activities we’re doing with them (we count this as a good problem). Evenings and weekends there are usually always enough vans available to get your team out to the activities and attractions they are eager to experience.
Your team will have a reserved window to come to Kodiak. This window will begin on a Monday and stretch to the Friday 12 days following. Some teams elect to come a day or two after that window opens (such as Tuesday or Wednesday) or to depart a day or two earlier than the last Friday of their window. This is perfectly fine for our schedule. I do ask teams to avoid coming in early or departing late. This can be a challenge to you in planning travel for your team but it is the only way that I can honor our staff with a few days off during a very demanding summer season.
KBM provides lunch and dinner for our teams on all work days. The cost for this service is $8/meal/person ($16/person/day). Mission houses have full kitchens for teams to use to prepare their own breakfasts. On weekends teams provide for their own meals giving the cooking staff a day off.
Each day begins at 8:00am with Morning Prayer and then we jump into the work projects around 8:30AM. Lunch is served at 11:30 or noon and the team finishes up the day around 4:30 or 5:00PM. Dinner is served at 6:00PM but special arrangements can be made to work around evening activities the Team has planned. Often the team will take an early day off the pursue an activity one of the workdays each week and we will take the weekend off for additional activities such as whale watching, kayaking, fishing, hike etc.
It is very early to determine the specific tasks your group will be working on. An entire season lies between now and when you will come. Much will depend on what will be accomplished in the last season. One of the tasks you can count on is painting. We almost always have a painting project going on in the summer. This involves often working high off the ground and lots of prep work (i.e. scraping!).
It is also really hard to throw enough man power at the grounds with our abundant rain and long daytime hours, things grow really fast! We almost certainly need help with mowing and trimming when you come. We also do significant building projects/maintenance. Over the next few years we will be reroofing many of our buildings, replacing windows and doors as well as carpets.
We will also have other jobs for people in your group around KBM. Often we look for a couple of people to work in our Food Bank. Sometimes we can use extra help in our preschool and Summer Day Camp program, so we may ask some of you to help in these ways. Many times we decide what we are doing by the expertise of the people who are coming. If your team has a person with a special skill, please let us know as they may provide the opportunity to do something we couldn’t otherwise get done.
Kodiak has three museums (Baranov, Alutiiq, and Military History), fishing charters, flight seeing, tour Woody Island and lots of hiking. We have a lot of fishing gear but you can always bring your own if you really have a favorite rod. You can also buy a brand new rod and reel for as little as $50 that is amazingly functional. Personally I think it more fun to fish with the reel you found in the corner that’s quirky but still catches fish!
Do I need to bring bedding? No. McWhinnie Cottage has sheets, blankets, pillows, towels & washcloths.
Do cell phones and phone cards work? Yes, usually. Almost all cell phones work up here, however, we also have a lot of dead areas.
What type of clothes should we bring? Plan to dress in layers so that you can quickly adapt to Kodiaks changing conditions. Good rain gear will be very appreciated and fleeces go well underneath. Cottons are not recommended in cold wet climates but we still wear them a lot, just make sure you have a balance.Think rain! It rains about 50% of the time here, so don’t forget your rain gear. The temperatures range from the mid-50’s to mid- to high-70’s. Nights are generally cool and you can expect a breeze during the day.
Should we bring food, how expensive is it up there? Remember, we are an island, so everything has to be shipped in from either Anchorage or Seattle. The food is more expensive up here than in the Lower 48, however, it is not unreasonably expensive. You can expect food costs to be about 30% higher than the national average. We have 3 grocery stores, Safeway, Walmart with a minor selection, and a local bulk-buy (Cost Savers), also if anyone in your group is retired military (or active duty) there is a commissary on the Coast Guard base. Some groups have brought up some food with them to save on costs, but that is entirely up to you.