This article is written from the perspective of Reuben Shetler, a purchasing agent at nuCamp. This is the first in a series of four connecting nuCamp’s core values to the Amish culture.
A huge pine tree dominates the backyard of an Amish farm. Its branches spread out over the lawn, providing refreshing shade from the hot summer sun. Underneath this tree is a wooden picnic table, faded brown showing through chipped red paint.
This is where the threshing crew gathered to wash. We stood in a line; with the men first, then the boys. Washing up on threshing day was no small task. I, the youngest, quietly waited my turn. My arms were sweaty and brown. The dust from the oats stuck to my face. I could feel it, smell it, taste it.
When it was my turn, I scooped cold water out of the pail into the plastic tub on the picnic table. I stuck my arms in the water, up to my elbows. Ah! The water turned dark brown as I rubbed and scrubbed at the dirt and dust caking my forearms. I dumped it at the base of the tree, then refilled the tub. Next, my face went into the water. A shiver shot down my spine. Who knew cold water could feel so good?
The washing completed, the threshing crew lumbered into the basement. My mother, two sisters, Grandma, and two aunts stood in the kitchen working hard to prepare the meal. We sat down and bowed our heads in prayer.
The women started the platters by my father at the head of the table. He passed them around the circle of twelve. There was bread, mashed potatoes, green beans, meatloaf, and corn. There was mixed fruit, Oreo pudding, Jell-O, and cake. There was pie — strawberry, blueberry, and peanut butter. Twelve plates were filled till food dribbled from the edges. And twelve mouths alternated between enjoying the feast and engaging in all sorts of banter and the latest news.
I remember that threshing crew vividly. There were three farmers: my father and two neighbors. Then there were two of my brothers, myself, two of my cousins, and the neighbor boys. These young men were the model of youthful vigor, with bulging biceps, unruly hair bursting out from under tattered straw hats, and ornery streaks bigger than the hay fields that stretched toward the sky. These boys were even more exciting to be around than the horses that pranced ahead of the wagons. They were the heart of the threshing crew. Working with these farmers and boys created a bond that will never fade.
As the food disappeared from our plates, we talked, and we laughed. My father and the two other farmers engaged in discussions about crops, farm animals, and what was going on in the neighborhood and church. Although many wisecracks were sprinkled throughout, these men cared deeply about each other. If one of them would break a leg, you’d find the others helping with his fieldwork. If one of them lost an animal, an envelope with cash might show up in his mailbox. If one of them had mechanical issues with his hay baler, he need not worry. He would be in the midst of making the repairs when the sound of his neighbor’s baler would drift across his field. Assistance was on the way. Help was never further off than the edge of the threshing crew.
I remember the one year my father wanted to attend a horse sale in Illinois. The sale was seven hours away. Father had been excited about this for weeks. He loved horses, and he loved a good sale.
The evening before the sale, our neighboring farmer’s father passed away. My father’s driver was scheduled to pick him up in an hour. Father called the driver and canceled the trip. “How can I travel to Illinois when our neighbor has suffered this loss?” Father asked. “I need to be here to help him in any way that I can.” So, the following day, instead of sitting at the horse sale, Father was digging a grave.
After we finished eating, the entire threshing crew sprawled in the grass beneath the pine for a siesta. Just a short nap, then we would be back to work. Back to doing the job. Back to making memories. Building relationships that would tie our hearts together forever.
This attitude of caring genuinely is ingrained among the Amish culture and the work culture nuCamp. The way we care for our neighbors and friends is the way we care for our coworkers and team members. The company has four core values — work hard, always do the right thing, service over self, and care genuinely.
The same love for neighbors that I witnessed as a boy at the threshing table can be seen on the assembly line. We may not be threshing oats. Instead, we’re building trailers together. If someone falls behind, there are hands to help. If someone is sick and misses work, he may find money in his lunchbox the day he returns. If someone has struggled in life, he can be assured he will find a listening ear at his side in the morning.
Two years ago, we had a death in my family. I sat at the calling hours in the home of the deceased. I watched family and friends pay their last respects.
And then, there they came. My co-workers appeared in the line. Every one of my teammates from my department. They had come, together. Their solemn faces looked into mine. Tears glistened in their eyes. Not many words were spoken as they shook my hand. But that didn’t matter. If ever I had felt the genuine love of Christ, it was then. My neighbors had come.
nuCamp strives to build exceptional RVs for extraordinary customers. We want to provide the ultimate experience for the people who buy our products. To do that, we must care genuinely — about our team members, the products we build, and the customers who will come to use them. It is because we care about one another that we refer to our customers as being part of the nuCamp family … And what experience is better than to be ushered into a family that truly cares?