If you were given the option during your summer break to go to a camp with the word “Serve” in the name, would you be excited to go?
Our teens were! For the third year in a row, we lined up service projects around Penns Valley and got our teens’, and staffs’, hands (and clothes) a little dirty. ServeCamp, as it is aptly named, is an opportunity for teens to give back to our community by serving in various ways. Our group this year consisted of 22 students and 8 of our mostly-volunteer staff, spending four days pulling weeds, painting, cleaning, mulching, and just as importantly, building relationships.
The theme for this year was “Armed and Dangerous”. We wanted to encourage teens to discover the gifts and talents that they have and then equip them to use those gifts to impact the world.
We spent each day at different job sites around the valley. Teens cut down brush along Penns Creek at Corburn Park and cleaned the playground there. Another group cleaned the picnic areas at the pool in Millheim. Other projects included painting the ballfield buildings at the Old Gregg School Community Center, stacking straw bales off of wagons, painting hay wagons, mulching trails and seating areas, and moving firewood at Krislund Camp, among other projects.
In the evenings we went back to Krislund Camp for dinner and then each night had a guest speaker challenge the teens to be “armed and dangerous, and reiterating to them how loved and important they each are individually. After a long days work, we closed out each night with a fire, s’mores and mountain pies.
Something new we did this year was rock wall climbing. Our group had to hike 1.5 miles up a mountain to get to the wall and that was a challenge in itself that a few of our teens had to overcome. We were so proud of them when they did! Many teens made it to the top of the wall, but even the ones who didn’t at least tried and gave it their all. The teens learned how to encourage one another and this activity really strengthened the friendships of everyone in the group.
Despite the occasional groans about how tired they were, we heard teens talking about how they didn’t want the week to end and how they can’t wait for next year! Check out more pictures on our Facebook page!