For the fifth consecutive year, a group of high schoolers and adult leaders from St. Francis of Assisi Parish are giving up a week of their summer to serve those in need at Workcamp. The week is sponsored by Catholic Heart Workcamp, an organization that runs over 50 different weeks of service every summer for around 13,000 teens throughout the country.
A typical day for the teens starts with Mass in the morning, grabbing a quick bite for breakfast, and then heading out to their worksite for the day with their crew. The majority of their day is spent fixing local residents’ homes, which can include building decks, porches, ramps, or fences, painting, or packing donations for the local food bank. After returning from a site, the teens have an uplifting and energizing evening program that includes music, skits, pictures and videos from the day, testimonials from their peers, motivational speakers, and opportunities for prayer. The evening program is geared toward helping them live out Christ’s command to love and serve others during the week.
There are over 200 teens and 49 adult leaders in attendance at this particular week in Richmond, VA. Between 20 and 30 crews can be working on different projects at any one time. The teens from our parish have been assigned to different crews with other teens and adult leaders from Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Not only are they getting an opportunity to give back to the local community, but they are forming strong bonds of friendship with the people in their crew.
In addition to repairing homes, the teens are also spending quality time with the local residents. They are typically low-income families, oftentimes elderly, and unable to fix their homes themselves. In the spirit of St. Francis, they are ministering by being present with them. The home repair work is often secondary to the relationships they build with the residents.
We pray that this week was transforming and impactful for the teens of our parish!