Virtual Staff Alumni Weekend


7:30 - 9:30 PM | Strategies for Anti-Racism in Appalachia

We are setting new organizational expectations in the fight against systemic racism with the help of our Staff Alumni, Community Partners, Board of Directors, and extended ASP family. Our Board of Directors said, “We will strive to both amplify regional voices of color on a regular basis as well as seek out guidance and further partnership with leaders of color in Central Appalachia.”

ASP community partners will participate in a panel discussion focusing on what is happening in the region, how we as a region can work towards becoming anti-racist, and brainstorm ways to actively move in that direction.

The panel will be followed by a Q&A session.

Recorded session

Ron & Jill Carson
Ron Carson is a native of Pennington Gap, VA and owner and CEO of Carson Black Lung Education and Research Centers in Virginia and Kentucky. Mr. Carson has dedicated his life and work to the collection and preservation of the narratives, experiences, and artifacts of historical import to the Black people of Appalachia. Along with his wife Jill, Carson prevented the demolition of an old one-room schoolhouse he’d attended as a child, and in 1987 created the Appalachian African-American Cultural Center within its walls.

Jill Carson, a native Bostonian, moved to Pennington Gap, VA three decades ago. Along with her husband, Mrs. Carson worked to build the AAACC out of a recognition that the experiences of Black people in Lee County were being lost. She has dedicated her life to raising the voices of the unheard and is now in her second term as a Pennington Gap councilwoman — the first African-American woman to hold the office.

Kathy Rowles
Kathy, born in New York, lived in Florida for much of her childhood and young adult life. She now resides in the Lee County area. Shortly after moving to Pennington Gap, she met Jill Carson and was asked to become a part of their board. Kathy is now an active part of the Dismantling Racism Workshops with Ron and Jill Carson, affiliated with the Appalachian African American Cultural Center.

Errol Randle
Errol is a key partner for ASP and community leader in Charleston, WV. Formerly the Strategic Planning Officer with Charleston Police Department, Errol now works at the state level as the Community Outreach Specialist with the WV Department of Military Affairs and WV Department of Education. In his free time and through his role at the State Departments, Errol works closely with prison reentry programs to help currently incarcerated individuals acquire skills and income in order to set them up for success upon release. Errol leads Emotional Intelligence training throughout the state and nation, for groups ranging from State Police to nonprofits and businesses. Errol also sits on the board of Catalyst Ministries, a nonprofit ministry operating at Mt. Olive prison. Errol has been an active member of ASP’s Community Advisory Council since 2019.

Elsa Hurtado
Elsa first was involved with ASP in 2016 as a Chaplain for the Summer Home Repair Program. She returned again as a chaplain in 2017 and 2018. Elsa has a Master’s of Divinity from Emmanual Christian Seminary at Milligan and currently serves as the Groups Minister for the Hispanic Community at First Christian Church of Johnson City, TN. Additionally, Elsa is a chaplain at a local hospital and volunteers her time with local nonprofits to serve as a translator, helping to connect people to needed resources. Elsa remains involved with ASP as a chaplain with the year-round fellows. Elsa lives in Johnson City, TN with her husband Carlos and son Ian.


10 - 11 AM | Coffee with Admin

Come join members of the Admin team for virtual coffee fellowship. There will be an official and separate Fireside chat with general ASP updates. Spend some time hanging out with some of your favorite/current PMs. Learn a bit about what’s happening currently out in the field, what counties and community relations ASP is pursuing, how summer 2021 hiring is going, and just catch up on life. This hour is informal, so feel free to arrive late or leave early. We know that it’s important to fill our spiritual cups, while simultaneously emptying (and refilling) our coffee cups.

2 - 4 PM | Alumni Networking Session

“This summer was great but I need a real internship…because there is no way ASP will apply to what I want to pursue” might be the #1 phrase we hear from staff alumni struggling with the decision to reapply. In conversation with applicants, we always note our strong alumni network. Now is our chance to share stories about career journeys and how ASP is applicable to any career path. Join us for a panel discussion with a range of alumni from the ’00 and ‘10s who will talk about how ASP staff relates to their current jobs and/or how ASP staff prepared them to land the job.

*This session will be followed by a round table-based breakout session opportunity.

Recorded session

Kate Thomas was on staff in ’03 and ’04 in Buchanan Co., VA and Union Co., TN respectively. She spent 12 years working for nonprofits as a graphic designer designing newspaper layouts and creating branding and products. Five years ago, she transitioned to digital design at Crosby Marketing who focuses on Inspiring Actions That Matter. At Crosby, she designs websites and digital experiences. If it’s interesting to you, ask her about how she finds purpose and meaning in her work.

Becca Knight Davis served on summer staff from 2000-2003 (Scott Co, VA; Floyd Co, KY; Wyoming Co – Mullens, WV; and Carter Co, TN); at ASP’s headquarters from 2003-2006 & 2008-2013 as a Field Coordinator, Director of Home Repair Ministries, and Chief Ministries Officer. In her ASP gap years, she got her Master’s of Nonprofit Management and worked in Washington, DC for Mennonite Central Committee. Becca is the co-founder and Executive Director of ReFrame Association, a national network of home repair nonprofits. She’s also the administrator of its sister organization, ReFrame Foundation. In her spare time, Becca runs a giving circle, 100+ Tri-Cities Women Who Care, which has raised $84,000 for nonprofits in East Tennessee in the last two years.

Carly Schoettes was on staff in Scott County in 2012, Logan-Chapmanville in 2013, Cocke in 2014 and Washington VA in 2015. Carly is currently a middle school teacher at Avondale Elementary School and runs the grant-funded Beyond the Bell Tutoring and Enrichment Program for over 100 kids daily, which is currently operating completely online. Carly uses her ASP skills a lot in teaching, but even more in managing the $100K+ annual budget, coaching staff and building community relationships during the after-school program.

Larissa Johnson Genser was on staff in Dickenson County 2011 and Pike County 2012. She is currently a Project Manager with CPPI, a commercial construction company in Gainesville, FL. Although it seems obvious that ASP prepared her for a career in construction, she is most thankful for the ways her summers on staff prepared her for life both professionally and personally.

6 - 7 PM | Fireside Chats

Stay up-to-date with ASP news by joining us for our annual Alumni Weekend Fireside Chat with ASP leadership. While we typically meet in front of the fireplace in Cumberland Lodge, we encourage you to start up your own fireplace or light a candle for the proper ambiance. We will share a wide variety of updates about changes and plans for ASP in 2021. This session will start with the update and open for discussion/Q&A afterwards.

Recorded session

8 - 9 PM | Folk & Lore

One of our favorite traditions….we know you’ve missed this! Come join us for an hour of staff stories.

Better yet, let’s make it a competition! Send some of your best staff stories, in video format, to and you may even be featured in this event.

Recorded session


10 - 11 AM | Worship

Wrap up the weekend with an ASP style worship service. Tune in for the hour-long service comprised of classic ASP songs and a short devotional. This event will be livestreamed on the ASP Staff Alumni Facebook page. If you haven’t already, be sure to join soon!

Recorded session


Martin Luther King Day | Serve in YOUR Community

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, take some time today or this week to serve your community however you are able.


Go on a Hike

Sometime over Alumni Weekend, go for a family hike or a socially distanced hike with a fellow ASP lover!

Take a pic and send to to be entered into a prize drawing. Receive EXTRA entries if you post to social media and tag ASP [@AppServProject].

And don’t forget to wear your ASP staff attire (think ASP merch, Chacos, work boots, flannel, etc.).

Virtual Staff Gathering

Every Alumni Weekend we pose the challenge of gathering together as a full staff, and there is no need for this to change.

“We may not be able to gather in person, but we CAN gather virtually” applies to our staffs as well! So, create a zoom link and gather. If you haven’t created a Zoom account at this point in the year, let’s face it, it’s time.

Take a picture as a staff and send to 1 entry PER staff gathering (so scrapbook holders, you could enter 4 times). Bonus entry if you post to social media and tag ASP [@AppServProject].

Make Your Own ASP Meal

Gosh, one of the things we are missing from this weekend is … obviously our favorite ASP meals. Why not try one out at home, with the help of the OpCo Recipe Book. Just keep in mind these are for groups of 80+ so you’ll need to cut that recipes down…A LOT.

We’re still currently working on the Reinhart sponsorship for this activity.

Letter to 2021 Staffer

In the past we’ve asked alumni to write letters to different staffs but this time we want to give EACH staffer an individual letter. So, we need your help.

We’re looking for Staff Alumni to write a letter of encouragement to a staffer. We will need 115-130 letters this summer! Mail them by May 1, 2021 to:

Attn: 2021 Staffer
4523 Bristol Hwy
Johnson City TN 37601

All are welcome, but registration to each session is required

Click on each session for details & registration links