Recap of Workcamp 2014

Earlier this summer, I promised a summary of our Workcamp trip for 2014 would come later.  Well, it’s time . . . On Thursday night July 23rd, it began: a round trip journey of almost 3,000 miles for 21 teenagers and 4 adults from St. Peter’s.  Workcamp 2014 began slowly, with a 26 hour bus ride. After a day of sightseeing in Boston on Saturday, we headed into Maine on Sunday morning to begin camp.

Workcamp officially began on Sunday afternoon.  After checking in, unpacking, and getting familiar with the facility and the staff, campers get to meet their “work crew”.  Your work crew is a group of 6 or 7 people that you have never met, who come from other churches around the country who are part of the camp. That night after meeting your crew, you receive your project for the week.  For many, it is painting. For some, it is building a wheelchair ramp, a deck, roofing work, or some other type of repair.

Monday morning brings a lot of energy and anticipation. After a short morning program, 350 campers poured out of Noble High School (our home for the week) to descend on Southern York County and begin their projects. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm hit about 9:30am that day, lasting until after 1:00pm, and washed out the workday for many groups working outside.

Our theme for Workcamp 2014 was ‘Repair: Be a Story of Transformation’. Each day had its own theme as well. For Monday, it was ‘A Boy and His Lunch’.  All day we looked at the story of the loaves and fishes, and asked ourselves “what do I have to offer to Jesus that he can multiply and use for others?”  Tuesday’s theme was ‘From Howling to Hearing’, focusing on the story of a man possessed by a legion of demons. (Mark 5:1-20)  Tuesday night’s program was a powerful experience of examining our lives and trying to focus on hearing God’s call and feeling his love in spite of all the noise (the howling) and the negative influences that are around us.

Wednesday brings the mid-point in our week, and the Workcamp tradition is that every group only works about half a day, and youth groups are able to spend the afternoon together having fun in the area.  Our group went to York Beach for the afternoon, visiting the Nubble Lighthouse (the most photographed lighthouse in the world), eating some amazing ice cream (if you are ever there, you have to stop at Brown’s Ice Cream), doing some shopping on the boardwalk, and swimming in the Atlantic. For dinner, we ate outside, right next to the rocks overlooking the ocean. I only wish we had been recording a video when about 7 of our teens tried to eat lobster in a shell for the first time.

Our theme for Wednesday was ‘Grief, Anger and Hope’.  Campers were encouraged to honestly confront the anger and grief that is present in their lives, including anger and frustrations they have at times with God. We focused on the story of Lazarus and his being raised from the dead by Jesus, looking at the story from the viewpoint of his sisters Mary and Martha.

Thursday and Friday are when you make the big push. Work crews realize there isn’t much time left, and we have to really get moving to finish our projects.  Thursday’s theme of ‘Getting to Jesus At Any Cost’ focused on how hard Zacchaeus the tax collector had to work to get to Jesus.  We were encouraged to examine our lives and recognize what roadblocks there are in our relationship with Jesus, and ask ourselves how hard we are willing to work to get around them so we can reach him. Friday’s theme of ‘Putting Faith Before Fear’ wrapped up the week perfectly, pushing all of us to build on our relationship with Jesus, so that knowing his love will help remove the fear from our lives.

It rained some more on Thursday and Friday afternoon, so there were a number of crews who unfortunately weren’t able to finish their projects (the co-sponsor will send volunteer crews out to each site to finish them after we’ve left).  However every crew (there were 56 crews in all) at least got close to finishing. Friday night’s program is a wonderful celebration of the week, when residents are invited to join us for prayer, worship, song, and even dancing. Crews say goodbye to each other, and tears are shed.

Saturday morning we piled back on the bus for our 26 hour return home. There was a little less energy this time, but more so than on the way out we were a family. 25 people, who along with over 300 others, put God first for a week, and had an amazing experience serving others and sharing their faith.

I am happy and proud to announce that Workcamp 2015 we will be traveling to Hastings, Michigan from July 17-27, 2015. Registration will begin at the end of September.

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