WHO'S THAT DRIVER?
Long time experiential educator and Community Collaborations International project coordinator, Steve Lawless is fulfilling his dream of driving a 40 ft coach bus, "The Merry Green Marvel" to create a rolling community of service and adventure! Steve has an M.A. in Education and has taught in many settings including as a traditional writing and literature teacher, on Native American reservations, farm schools, alternative middle and high schools and a Waldorf school. From his nearly thirty years of teaching, Steve has an infectious enthusiasm for taking learning outside the classroom. “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. It’s the open mind, open heart interaction in the communities and landscapes we enter that brings the learning alive and affirms the best of our humanity,” he says. With a strong work ethic and deep love of the land inspired by his Iowa farming roots, Steve believes in the power of nature and community to push participants to stretch their minds, bodies, and hearts. “We aim to create learning experiences where participants can enter a community and learn first-hand from local leaders what it means to be a positive force of change in your community. We take a light hearted, sleeves rolled up ready to work hard approach to some of the most daunting issues of our times.”
What is a Sleeper Coach Adventure Bus?
To step up on the Merry Green Marvel and see that this will be your your road trip home will make your adventurous heart smile. There are no traditional bus seats. The bus has been converted into a sleeper coach that allows volunteers to sleep in it as if it were a big tent. We are affectionately known as the sardine can bus! These trips are not for the claustrophobic or people that need a lot of privacy. The space is set up to encourage community and includes cozy sleeping for up to 32 people with a toilet on the bus and a portable camping shower used when the bus does not have access to showers. And the magic continues with food coolers and a whole kitchen underneath the bus that we pull out with all volunteers helping prepare their own meals. This portability lets us sleep and eat at or close to our adventure spots and work sites maximizing our availability to work. The bus has current DOT approval to operate as a commercial passenger bus.
Community Life on the Bus
Given the communal quarters we get to know each other quickly! We strive to create a community that includes looking after each other and taking initiative to keep our living space clean. See something do something. Personal flexibility to meet the needs of service and the adventure of the group. Leave No Trace. Think of the next person to come along.
Food is lovingly prepared by participants. We use locally sourced fresh food when we can, as well as organic when we can. Meals are mostly vegetarian. We recycle and compost and strive to be mindful of the footprint we leave behind.