7 Reasons A Kansas Girl Fell In Love With Gatlinburg

1. Mountain’s Everywhere

With only a 40 minute drive, you can get lost in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Being from a flat state, it is awe dropping to see the different scenery along the drives. Even to our worksites, all the twist and turns were so fun to me. One time I made a wrong turn in the middle of my busy day, so naturally, I just kept going. Then this gorgeous mountain view from the bottom of the valley with a storm rolling in and all these cool clouds coming up over the mountain, it seriously looked like a painting. I also might have cried.

2. Cookout Every Sunday

OMG SERIOUSLY, YOU HAVEN’T LIVED UNTIL YOU TRIED THE QUESADILLAS FROM COOKOUT. Every Sunday my staff and I would go to cookout after church because its so cheap, Rachel loved the sweet tea and I was obsessed with the quesadillas. I highly recommend it, unfortunately cookout hasn’t come to Kansas, so you can be praying for the company to think about relocating to the Midwest.

3. Southern Hospitality

Talk about some really passionate people, every person we talked to was so kind and generous. A cool part of the South is that they love to just sit and chat about life. Most of the older folks like to talk reeeeeeeaaaaal sloooooooooow, and sometime you have to cut them off because its almost time for chapel. But seriously, it so was cool to see how the homeowners would open up to our staff and the groups each week, whether we were at their home a week or the whole summer.

4. Hill-Billy Putt-Putt in Gatlinburg

I’m very competitive person, especially when it comes to putt-putt. The courses set up is a little different in Tennessee than Kansas. Our staff found this gem on the side of a mountain in the middle of Gatlinburg. Let the record show, I won, of course.

5. Ken’s AMAZING Cooking

One of the best things about the King’s Academy is their staff and one that doesn’t go unnoticed is Ken. Ken works with the kitchen staff and is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet. He took our staff in last summer and made us feel like we were at home with his specialty dinner nights and random cookies sheets left out for us to munch on. He also is a die hard UK fan. (KEN-tucky)

6. The Guys at the Dump

This was something very new for me this summer and it was my weekly (and sometimes felt like daily) trips to the dump. This soon became one of my favorite things to do because of the friendly service from the guys who worked there. Maybe it was because I was the only girl with a smiling face who came to the dump religiously, but it got me discounts and sometimes even free dumps! You’re welcome Pete!

7. The Community

Every person and company we came into contact was so kind. The ladies at Home Depot, our main contact at Habitat, our contractor and his family, the community center owners, the Sam’s club checkout ladies, the life guard at the school’s pool, the employee’s who work at cookout on Sunday afternoons, and the list goes on and on, all impacted our staff’s lives tremendously. And I wouldn't change any part of my summer. It was so cool to see how God worked this summer in the Gatlinburg area. But the coolest part of all was to see all the faces who came to Gatlinburg for a week that were impacted here, to go out into their own communities, and serve with a little bit of Gatlinburg in them. 
I had a truly amazing summer in Gatlinburg. I saw God presence in so many natural forms. I am so thankful for the two short months I was able to experience Gatlinburg and I truly feel blessed by the people I got to share it with. Thanks TEAMeffort!
Allie Harvey
Gatlinburg Co-director 2016