The Peter Pan motel (affectionately called "The Pan" by the students) is like a light for Christ near the Santa Cruz, CA Beach and Boardwalk. Our "Campus Crusade for Christ" sign stays up year round, and we have a display of free books (The Case for Faith) for people as they walk to the beach. Santa Cruz is one of the most unchurched areas of the U.S. Less than 6% are churched and that includes all faiths--there are prominent Jewish and Buddhist temples as well as a Christian Science church in town.
We tried to make the girls' room cozy for them. Their cute and colorful sleeping bags along with pictures from home and wall stickers helped their space be more fun.The Kitchen, Dining Room, Home Office, and Living Room. (Also known as "Mommy and Daddy's Bedroom"). Living in these tight quarters was definitely one of the most challenging parts of our summer. The girls ate breakfast on placemats on the floor in a 4 ft squared space between these shelves and the foot of our bed. When Titus learned to crawl mid-way through the summer, it only added to the challenge.
Here's the view into the girls' "room"--it's like a big closet, but they love it! Kids are the first to let you know if they don't like something. (Let's be real: they whine and complain--at least ours do). But not once have the girls ever said anything about this space being "too small." It has everything they need and even some things that they want. It has been harder for us "grown-ups" as our perspective of "needs" vs. "wants" has been stretched this summer.
View of the entrance to the girls' "room" and Titus' room (which actually IS the closet), covered by twin mattresses as doors. People who say, "Kids adapt--we just make noise and they learn to sleep through it," have NOT spent time with our kids. They would not, could not adapt--so we did. Mattresses became doors. An actual wooden door on hinges= WANT. Something to divide the spaces and block the noise of 60 college students = NEED.
Drying dishes in the bathroom. A few of the staff have a favorite Karl-quote for the summer: (Said in his Seinfeld-esk sarcasm)"A separate sink for brushing your teeth and doing dishes? A Waaannt. Not a NEED." :)
Before the students arrived, we added twinkly lights, hanging flower baskets, and refreshed the flower beds. This made a huge impact--suddenly the shabby Pan looked more cozy and shabby-chic.
The U-shape creates a good community environment. We all eat dinner together every night at the picnic tables in the back--there is a small patch of grass called "The courtyard" where the kids run around and play.
And when you add 60 college students from across the country, the Pan comes alive. After we leave here, I know I won't miss the mattress-doors, washing dishes in the bathroom, or eating on the floor. I know I won't miss the cramped quarters, the 1980's beach-motif decor, or Titus sleeping in a closet. From past experiences on summer projects, I know that as time passes, Karl and I will laugh at the crazy inconveniences, and I will think back to The Peter Pan and say, "Wow, I liked those people."