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While most high school teens might be spending their first week of summer sleeping-in or plopped down in front of the TV, some teens from the youth group from First Presbeyterian Church in Lake Forest, Ill., chose to do something different—service.
For the rest of this week, a group 38 high schoolers and their 15 chaperones will be lending a hand in the Lebanon Junction community.
Youth pastor Nick Redmond said this is the third time his youth group has made a trip to Lebanon Junction to help out.
“We try to take a trip every year to a different community,” he said.
Redmond said the group fundraises throughout the year in order to obtain supplies and materials that they needed to complete these project such as lumber and windows.
He said the mayor of Lebanon Junction, Butch Sweat, helped them to find families or areas that were in need of some work.
Even though the trip is voluntary, the teens are encouraged to attend.
“It’s a part of our faith—to serve others,” Redmond said.
The group’s projects will include tearing down a dilapidated house on Walnut Street, putting up a new pavilion at the city park and doing some repairs on a house on Wall Street.
Roger Dewhirst, owner of the house on Wall Street, said he’s grateful for the extra set of hands.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do this work on this house since I got in eight years ago.”
He said material cost is what held him up.
This week the crew will work on replacing some windows in Dewhirst’s house, patching up a hole in the roof and repainting the side of the house.
Come Friday he should have a remodeled house for himself, his wife, Connie and two children, Ian and Ida, to live in.
“It’s a big blessing,” he said.
One of the members of the youth group, Kat Whalley, said this was a great way to start off her summer.
“It’s great to experience new places and know that you’re helping people,” said the seventeen year old from Lake Forest, Ill.
This was the third work camp Whalley has participated in. She said the most valuable part about the camps is building relationships with the people they meet along the way.
This was the second time for Jack Hubbard,15, from Lake Forest, Ill.
For him, the most rewarding part is being able to see the impact their work has on people’s lives.
“It’s just a week out of our time,” he said. “But they appreciate it longer than that.”
Mayor Sweat said he’s thankful for the group’s assistance.
“Such a good group of young people willing to help out,” he said.
He’s excited about the new pavilion that the group is helping install this week.
“I think it will mean a lot to the community,” he said. “And will be well utilized.”
The new pavilion will be longer and have a tin roof. He said the old one has been there for about three years and was donated to the city.
The group will also be doing some landscaping and putting some flower beds next to the pavilion once it is completed.