First things first: I had an awesome time in the United States volunteering on two programs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Danby, Vermont. I'm very happy I took this opportunity and spent some time in the States, I would definitely recommend it to a friend of mine and, yes, I would go again. Immediately. The cotact to VFP always was pleasant, and I therefore felt safe even though being away a few thousand miles from home across the Atlantic Ocean. Do I feel like leaving some sort of impact? Well, at least partially I definitely do. Especially in the project in Vermont I felt like doing something important by maintaining the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail. But also in Philadelphia I feel like my work might have some kind of impact, maybe not directly but through comunication with community members as well as with other group members from different countries. I feel like not only I might have changed something, also the program might have changed me. I'm feeling more sure about myself and about what I can change but also about what I'm not able to change.
Well, what did I actually do? In Philadelphia work included renovations on the building we lived in as well as community services (helping community members with some work they can not do on their own). In Vermont I was one of two VFP volunteers on a trail crew of the Green Mountain Club. Our work included clearing trees to regain view points on the trail, building puncheons (wood constructions to allow hikers to cross marshy parts of the trail without getting wet feet), building turnpikes (something like big sandboxes filled with gravel for a similar purpose as the puncheons) and clearing waterbars to get the water off the trail.
What bout food? In Philadelphia we were responsible to buy the food we needed as a group with the money provided by VFP. In Vermont the Green Mountain Club took care of that (at least during the work week) and after a long day of hard work we prepared our diner together. Food was pretty good and varied every day.
The groups in both projects were very different: In Philadelphia the group consisted of mostly Europeans, in Vermont I was one out of only two (three) foreigners whilst most of the people came from all over the US. In both places I was heartily welcomed and spent a great time with great people who became friends to whom I still keep contact.
All in all I am very happy having participated in those projects and I can only recommend it to EVERYBODY!