If you are interested in serving your local community or volunteering for a mission trip, you can combine the two by helping a local community mission. But maybe you don’t know where to begin. For that reason, let me start with a little background information.
I was introduced to Group Mission Trips (based in Colorado) in 2009. I had heard of some local churches traveling to other states to help with home repair and community service but had no first hand knowledge. As a result of a local group, in 2010, 300+ students and adults from all over the US came to Rushville to help our local citizens. It was one of the most heartwarming weeks of my life.
Since that time, I have worked on 4 more committees to bring a workcamp to my hometown of Rushville, Indiana, traveled to Vandalia, Illinois with my own Youth Group to help homeowners and will be going to Topeka, Kansas this summer.
Group Mission Trips has a collection of opportunities for any individual over age twelve. Therefore keep reading to find the right fit for you!
Workcamps for Home Repair
Probably the most popular way to service with Group Mission Trips is through their Workcamps for Home Repair. Each summer there will be two or three communities who will bring a workcamp to Indiana. This summer they will be in Rushville and Hammond. These locations will change each summer but the basic structure will remain the same.
Approximately, eighteen months before the workcamp, local organizers will gather to apply to hold a camp. Once the camp has been granted, they will then work to find local homeowners who are in need of home repairs. These repairs can be painting, inside or outside, roofing, wheelchair ramps, weatherization or decking. After a long process that will take about one year, Group Mission Trips will inform the local committee which homes have been selected for the Workcamp.
While the local committee is busy with home applications, youth groups from all over the US are considering which camps to attend. This is also a long process with completing paperwork for those interested in attending, fundraising to pay the $464 fee for each person to attend, coordinating transportation and guaranteeing adequate chaperones for the number so students.
When the big day finally arrives for campers to check in, here is the typical day of camp.
7:00 am Hot Breakfast
8:00 am Morning Program
8:30 am Depart for project location
12:00 pm On-site lunch and devotions with homeowners
3:30 pm Return to camp
5:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Evening worship
9:00 pm Free time
11:00 pm Lights out
Campers arrive on Sunday, work on their site from Monday through Friday and depart on Saturday.
Week Of Hope Local Community Mission
In contrast, the Week of Hope local community missions are centered on the needs of the community instead of local residents. These camps are a little shorter with crews arriving on Sunday and departing on Friday. Crews will be sent throughout the community to help where needed such as local food pantries, children’s summer camps, retirement facilities and local parks departments.
The schedule will be similar to the home repair camps with daily devotionals, worship programs and ample time to bond with your own youth group as well as meeting new people.
This summer there will be camps in Indianapolis starting June 16, June 23, June 30, July 7, July 14 and July 28. Also there will be Weeks of Hope available in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Weekend Workcamps for Home Repair
Can’t afford a whole week away from home? Then a weekend camp may be for you. Patterned after the weeklong workcamp, it focuses on home repair for a resident. As a result of the shorter time, types of repair will be limited to painting, inside or outside and a few minor repairs.
Crews will arrive to their destination on Friday. Work at the resident’s home will be on Saturday and Sunday. If needed, crews will return to the home on Monday morning before departing camp later in the day.
Hammond, Indiana and Roanoke, Virginia are the only two communities offering weekend camps in 2019.
International Mission Trips
Group Mission Trips organizes some international trip to destinations such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Belize and Ireland. Although not technically an international destination, Alaska trips are included in this category due to the higher price of hosting a camp there. Additionally, this is not a local opportunity but sometimes it is easier to convince students to attend a workcamp if travel is involved!
How Can I Be a Part of a Camp?
There are several ways to be involved with a local community mission. First is to be a volunteer. Each camp looks for adult volunteers to help with worksites, supplies or meals. No special skills are needed, hence anyone can apply to be a volunteer for a camp near or far. You can go by yourself or with a friend or spouse. What a great way to serve your community while getting to know others who want to help.
Secondly, you can be a camper. There may be a local group looking for additional campers. Although many groups are organized from a church or organization, usually they are open to adding new campers.
Third, organize your own group to attend a camp. Each group is required to have at least one adult for every five students who attend. Obviously, this is a larger responsibility that will include fundraising to pay for camp. There is also some paperwork involved for adults and students to attend a camp. Although this is more involved, it is very rewarding to see the students take pride in being a part of a camp.
Lastly, organize a camp to come to your community. Group Mission Trips offer great resources to get you started with providing help in your area. Simply go to www.groupmissiontrips.com and request more information.
Most importantly, whatever your interest, decide to be involved in a local community mission! It changes your community, how you view our younger generation and gives a positive impact to community members. But even more importantly, your life changes forever by the impact everyone has on you!
Local Community Mission
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