On Saturday, July 20, the St. James Mission Group left on its annual trip. This year the 21 teenagers and 5 adult sponsors will be travelling to Detroit Lakes, Minn. to spend their days working on construction projects for elderly and low income families. Evenings include worship services, skits, song and prayer for the hundreds of teenagers from around the country.
This is the 14th Catholic Heart WorkCamp that St. James Catholic Church’s Mission Group has attended. Bonnie Toombs and Dan Allen are the group leaders and have attended all 14 camps. In addition to the annual mission trip, the group works on projects for the local community through the year. Time is also spent on fundraising to help pay for the trip.
Each Catholic Heart WorkCamp manager identifies various needs in a community and arranges to have building materials available. Teenagers from each church are assigned to different teams of about 5-6 teenagers, giving them the chance to get to know other youth from a variety of states. An adult sponsor is assigned to each group with the job of keeping all the volunteer teenagers on task. Common jobs include painting houses, building porches and ramps, basic repairs, etc.
The benefits of attending a Catholic Heart WorkCamp are many. Not only do the volunteers help others with their material needs, but time is also spent visiting with the resident. A relationship is formed and the youth usually leave the mission week changed themselves. The trip is a reminder of what each volunteer has to be thankful for. It’s also a chance to broaden their understanding of how other people live, as they get to know the families being helped and the other volunteers. The group will return on Sunday July 28 sometime in the evening.