November 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 7 
Cover Story

Building bridges

Building bridges

Boeing volunteers in S. California reach out to local agencies


When it comes to volunteering in their local communities, Boeing employees in Southern California have got it nailed. Each year for the past six years, hundreds of volunteers from area Boeing sites have hefted hammers and lugged lumber, building a variety of structures for two local organizations in need.

Coordinated by California Community and Education Relations, the Southern California Building Project brings together volunteers annually to complete a building project at facilities in communities where Boeing employees live and work.

"Boeing has committed to working on one building project per year over six years," said Kevin Ober, Boeing Community Relations in Anaheim, Calif., and Building Project manager. "The thing that makes these projects great is that volunteers can work on them from the beginning elements all the way to completion over the course of a couple weekends. They feel a real sense of pride and progress."

More than 100 Boeing employees currently are volunteering their time to the third and final renovation project of a three-year commitment to the YMCA. This year the volunteers are building a footbridge across the central meadow at Camp Whittle in Fawnskin, Calif., a YMCA camp owned by Metropolitan Los Angeles Camping Services.

Ober said Boeing makes a financial contribution to the organization for needed materials. The organization receiving the support determines the architectural design of the structures to be built or repaired, and then Boeing provides the leadership and volunteers to do the construction. Boeing contributed $25,000 for construction equipment and materials for the 2,120-square-foot (197-square-meter) structure at Camp Whittle.

"I started working on building projects about 10 years ago and liked the people I met at that first project. So I kept coming back," said Scott Meier, an engineer at Boeing in Anaheim, and Camp Whittle volunteer project technical leader. "Now I am at the point where I feel like I am letting the team down if I don't show up to help. And I never get over the feeling I get when I see the gratitude of the people who will use our work."

Last year Boeing volunteers spent two weekends building a 2,000-square-foot (186-square-meter) deck with redwood benches, painting 10 cabins, landscaping and installing siding on two cabins at YMCA's Camp Fox on Catalina Island, owned by the YMCA of Glendale.

"The deck that was generously donated and built by the volunteers of The Boeing Company has been a great addition to the aesthetics and programming of Camp Fox," said Grant Salzer, Camp Fox program manager.

And in 2003, Camp Oakes in Big Bear, Calif.—owned by the YMCA of Long Beach—benefited from a 1,600-square-foot (148-square-meter) dining hall deck built by Boeing volunteers. Camp Oakes accommodates the disadvantaged, at-risk children and people with disabilities.

In addition to the YMCA building projects, more than 300 Boeing volunteers logged 6,000 hours to complete multiple construction projects at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times at Mountain Center, Calif. Camp Ronald McDonald is a cost-free camp for children with cancer and their families.

"Boeing employees have such unique skills. I believe our volunteers can take on challenges that a lot of other companies' volunteers can't," Ober said.

All told, Boeing volunteers have logged more than 12,000 hours, and the company has invested $115,000 over the past six years. That goes a long way toward building a solid foundation in Southern California communities.

For more information

Community Relations at Boeing in Southern California manages a comprehensive calendar of events and activities. Employees interested in volunteering can participate throughout the year. Activities that are open to participants from all sites include beach cleanup activities, building projects, and projects related to the arts and education. Site-specific activities also include companywide activities such as Books and Backpacks, Food and Essentials and Spirit of the Holidays drives. For more information about Southern California activities, visit (internal link only) on the Boeing Web.



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