Build America 2020 canceled Due to Coronavirus

IMPORTANT: View the Virtual April 16, 2020 Team Update Here

We’ve spent the past several weeks working tirelessly to find a way to host Build America, while ensuring the safety of all participants. We continue to hear heartbreaking stories from our partners across the country of the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed for countless communities.

Many of our camp partners, including three of this summer’s four scheduled camps, have cancelled all activities and/or camp sessions for the summer. Also, given the information we have about the rising number of cases in many states the trip passes through, we feel to proceed would put those who are so dedicated to the mission at a very high risk, especially with some of our fragile populations. As the coronavirus outbreak spreads, we cannot in good conscience proceed with the event.

Considering all these circumstances, we have had to make the very difficult decision to cancel Build America for 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19.

While the event itself is now not happening in-person, that does not mean the mission or need for shared experiences goes away. The pandemic has caused us all to feel an immense sense of social isolation. Conversations with our partners has brought to light the fact that the social distancing requirements have created a situation in which many of our friends across the country are completely cut off from their support networks. No one can visit them in some cases.

Due to this immediate need that so many of our partners face, The Ability Experience is launching new, virtual experiences allowing us to partner with organizations across the country and continue to serve our mission in new and unique ways.

We need your support to make social interaction and support a reality for our friends with disabilities. While the coronavirus has changed the world over the course of a very short time, we are resolved to ensure it won’t impact the friendships we have built over the last four decades across the country.

I hope you will join The Ability Experience to continue to serve a mission that creates uncommon opportunities for the men of Pi Kappa Phi. See below for ways you can get involved today!

Alternative Participation Opportunities

Virtual Build America

This is a virtual experience for a team to participate in friendship visits with some of our friends across the country who, in most instances, are isolated from the family and friends they rely on for their social support.

We are working with various camp partner to find ways for our brothers to connect with people with disabilities and support some of their camp/organization needs. Our goal is to create a few events where we can engage participants from around the country. Events could look like virtual campfires, game nights, group hangouts and dances. We will be relying on you and your networks as well to help us find brothers who can share their talents to make some magic for our friends along the Journey of Hope routes.

While there is no fundraising minimum to participate, brothers who raise $3,000, participate in at least four virtual Friendship Visits over the summer and attend an Ability Camp this Fall will be inducted into the Pi Alpha Society.

Each team member who completes this challenge will receive a Build America work shirt, a Pi Alpha pin, and a certificate.

Interested? To sign up as a 2020 Build America virtual team member, please click here to get registered!

Secure your spot on the 2021 or later team

All team members will have the opportunity to participate in any of our events in a future year. We know the value in having this experience. If this is an option for you, we will give you the support you need to make this happen!

SPECIAL NOTE: To register for a 2021 event, use the promo code “2020” in the links below.

Gear Up Florida 2021 | Journey of Hope 2021 | Build America 2021

This circumvents the application and will get your ready to ride. If you want to participate in 2022 or later just contact a staff member when you’re ready and we’ll get you signed up.

Are you a graduating senior? 

In the past we have had students that have their trips cut short due to medical school orientations, or an injury or illness, and they’ve worked hard to come back in a future year as well. You can also work with the staff to do smaller builds with future teams to put together the same experience.

Donations, Registration Fee and Security Deposit

Build America Donations

The answer to why donations can’t be transferred to 2021 is two-fold. We have expenses that have been paid out for the planning of this year’s trip and organizations across the country that we still need to serve. If we carried the donations over to next year, Build America could cease to exist, and The Ability Experience could not withstand the financial strain.

All team members who have earned incentives will still receive their incentives. Those will be mailed once we make the final orders on a few of the items.

Nothing about the COVID –19 outbreak has been easy. But for so many reasons, we want you to come back. We have an important mission to fulfill and want you to be a part of it! Regional Directors will help you navigate these fundraising challenges and provide the support you need throughout your entire journey.

Registration Fee & Security Deposit

This year’s registration fee will not be refunded, however, the registration fee for next year’s event will be waived. Also, all security deposit checks will be mailed out as soon as the new address for team members is confirmed.

Next Steps

We are here for you every step of the way. This is a lot to take in and not what you, or anyone else expected to happen this spring. Please take time to process and discuss options with your family and mentors as to how you can best proceed.

We’d love to talk with you and help navigate what this looks like for you. Within the next day or two, please set up a call with your Regional Director to discuss your options with us – and we encourage you to include your family or anyone else on the call.

Please stay in touch with us. While nothing is panning out in 2020 for just about anyone, we know this is a huge let down. We have people you can talk with to help process this or to set up a game plan so you can have this life changing experience.

Here’s a quick recap of your options:
    1. Sign up for Virtual Build America
    2. Sign up for a 2021 Event
      1. Gear Up Florida 2021
      2. Journey of Hope 2021
      3. Build America 2021
    3. Sign up for a 2022 event or beyond by contacting The Ability Experience team when you are ready to sign up

If you have additional questions, please set up a time to speak with your Regional Director.