What to do?

Work Camp 2013?  Our Youth Ministry met recently and we are wondering how to handle Work Camp 2013?  Presently our youth population is down.  Churches seem to go through cycles.  I remember when Noel was growing up it always seemed like there was only one other person his age, whereas Natalie had a strong group of teens.  Recently we graduated 7 seniors one year, since then, our teen numbers have struggled.  Work Camp was started with our teens in mind.  We do not feel we can sustain the Work Camp with just our youth group.  So: What to do?

At least for the next couple of years we are thinking of opening it up to the entire church. We have built up interest in other congregations helping over the past 3 years and that interest seems to be growing.  We do have a few teens who may be interested but we need to have a strong group to ensure the houses we select get painted!!!  We cannot commit ourselves unless we have adult help.  We believe that Somerset, PA, will be on board for next year. HERE’S ONE REASON WHY…

Some may remember Travis who came with the group.  He was a disinterested teenager who had no desire to come to Grand Rapids and paint houses in the hot sun.  Mike, one of the adults who came, grabbed him by the collar and said, Your going!  He came and had the time of his life!!! Travis came from a poor background and has had his trials making wrong decisions.  Jimmy Hinton, our son-in-law and preacher at Somerset writes, that Travis has grown by leaps and bounds. This in spite of staying with the Elderkins while here???  Greg and Melissa gave Travis a Bible… with special words of encouragement inside… engraved with his name on the cover… and Travis has been transformed into a new person.

We have a house in mind!  A friend of Caleb Elderkin needs his house painted. He is from a single-mom home.  The house has already undergone some prep – scraping.  It appears funds are lacking to finish the job.  We want to make this home and family a priority for 2013.


We have also discussed taking a team of workers to Somerset to work on the home of one of the girls that came last summer to work on our Work Camp.  She comes from a large family – 7 kids, soon to be 8.  She was 12 when she came and her parents were not sure they wanted her to come at such a young age. She, too, had the time of her life!  When Trish and I were there her mom and dad had nothing but high praise for the experience at SouthSide!  W are looking into helping this family!


So, we are in the midst of change at SouthSide, but we want to keep the program going.  To do so, it will need to become a church-work, not just a teen-work.  We are hoping to have some adults who will commit to doing the work camp this year, July 23-26.  A great opportunity to Get Up From the Table!