CLEARFIELD---Hundreds of teens from churches all over the country have gathered in Clearfield for Workcamp 2010 to help residents with some much-needed home repairs.
The week-long camp is the result of two years of planning by Central Pennsylvania Community Action, and during that time they took applications from residents, raised funds, and collected building materials, but their biggest task was figuring out how to accommodate 400 teenagers.
The young volunteers will make repairs to about 70 homes in the Clearfield area this week, something Community Action officials say represents 12,000 hours of labor and saves community members at least $80,000.
“Maybe their homes need some new skirting like we’re doing right here,” said Workcamp participant, Marc Maguire, pointing to the mobile home he and his group was working on, “Maybe they need some new paint because it’s chipping. We’re here to make their homes and their lives better.”
They may not be professionals, but they have plenty of determination.
“You come, sometimes with no clue of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it, but we work together, the site coaches come by and give you some hands, and we always get the job done,” said Workcamp chaperone, Roger Stansell.
But it’s about more for these teens than learning some handy home skills. 17-year-old Calli Melbille has been coming to Workcamps for three years and said she’s grown to understand how much it means to the people she helps.
“I remember like two years ago, one woman was just crying and was like, ‘I’m going to miss you guys so much,’ and it makes you feel good inside that we could help them, you know,” Melbille said.
Workcamp staff members say they see major changes in many of these young men and women throughout their week of service.
“Every year I see kids develop,” Stansell said, “I see them grow in their faith. I see them come out of their shells and do things like this just because of what they believe and who they’re serving,”
All 400 campers and 30 staff members are staying at the Clearfield Middle School for the week. Workcamp staff and Community Action has programs planned each night in the school’s gym to reward the teens for their hard work.