Youth Work Camp Brings Hundreds of Kids to Virginia Beach

workcamp1Faith Works Coalition frequently partners with other volunteer groups or organizations that are interested in helping the homeowners that we serve with home maintenance or repairs.  In July 2014, Faith Works Coalition partnered  with Work Camp 2014, sponsored by Providence Presbyterian Church, which brought in 400 young people to work on various repair projects.

Faith Works participation included coordinating, supervising, and financially supporting these three projects:

  1. Chimney Hill Pkwy.  A new roof was installed to replace one that had badly deteriorate.  FWC paid $1100 in material costs to assist.
  2. Polluck Dr.  A deteriorated deck and a shed roof were rebuilt.
  3. Virginia Beach Blvd.  FWC supervised the installation of a new mobile home skirt. The Work Camp youth volunteers also did an extensive yard clean-up for this senior citizen.

An article was written by Liz Carey and published in the Virginia-Pilot as follows:

[Last July] hundreds of teens from across the country arrive in Virginia Beach for a different kind of summer vacation – five days of community service projects.  Hosted by Providence Presbyterian Church, youth and adult leaders from numerous congregations and denominations [participated] in the annual Group Cares youth work camp.  [The] theme [was] “Repair: Be a Story of Transformation.”

The work camp [was] a mission trip to repair 64 homes for people in need.

Participants [“camped out”] at Landstown Middle School, where a typical day [included] worship programs, meals, youth group devotions and free time.

But most of the day, campers [worked] at a project in South Hampton Roads, which [included] painting the interior or exterior of a house, constructing a wheelchair ramp or porch, and skirting around mobile home trailers, said the Rev. Jeff Bell, pastor of Providence Presbyterian.  In addition, the youth groups [collected] items for local food pantries.

Each work crew [was] made up of five or six high school-aged teens and one adult volunteer, Bell said. Groups of all different religions [came] from far and wide to participate, Bell said, including Connecticut, Minnesota and all over Virginia.

“The kids get to meet each other – when they go to a site and are assigned a crew, those six people are from six different churches,” Bell said. “During the week, you get to become friends with the kids in your crew.”

Nominations for home projects were accepted through a confidential application process from November through March at Providence Presbyterian, and 64 households with elderly, low-income and disabled families were selected.

workcamp2The work camps, run by Group Cares, began in 1977 as a home-repair project in Colorado, where flooding the previous year destroyed hundreds of houses and killed more than 140 people.

Group Publishing founder Thom Schultz asked church youth groups from across the country to come to Colorado and help rebuild the homes and the lives of the flood’s victims.  Group Cares is the nonprofit ministry partner of Group Publishing.  More than 300 youth and their adult leaders responded, working on more than 50 home repair projects.  Since then, more than 300,000 people have participated in group mission trips nationwide, logging more than 6 million volunteer hours.

Providence Presbyterian Church was required to put up $20,000 for the project, Bell said. Campers also [paid] $450 to experience the week-long trip, which [went] to the cost of food, renting the school, and paying for custodial and cafeteria staff, Bell said.

In addition to local families getting their homes improved for free, Bell said everyone involved gets something out of the project.

“The church gets to do something positive with a big impact in the Virginia Beach area,” Bell said. “The goal for kids is to do a little selfless service – do something nice for people they don’t know. And the goal for Group Cares is for these kids to do a service project, learn some skills, meet new people, and learn a little more about their faith and Christ.”



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