Three hundred young people from around the country took a week out of their summer vacation to lend a helping hand to residents in Westminster and south Adams County.
The high school and college students were part of Catholic Heart Work Camp, a national work camp program that offers quality service projects and evangelical programs for young Catholics and their leaders.
Youth groups from across the country team up to provide service for people in need in communities throughout the United States through Catholic Heart Work Camp.
Established in 1992, the Orlando-based program has increased in size every year. This is the fifth year Westminster has been on the receiving end of the program with the help of the Neighborhood Action Team, which sponsors the program in Westminster.
“The people who get the help are so happy to see kids when they come over,” said Roger Gudenkauf, Neighborhood Action Team member. “These kids really work hard and do some great things. And the people they are helping are so thankful and appreciative.”
The youth spent four days, June 17-20, working on over 90 homes in the Westminster area. Some of the projects included house cleaning, yard work and the construction of outdoor wheel chair ramps.
For the past two years longtime resident Sharon Arnold has received help on her home from the Catholic Heart Work Camp. Each year she looks forward to seeing the smiling faces of the young people who work diligently at her home.
“They are the neatest young people and they deserve a lot of credit for the work they do,” she said.
“They help out so many people in the community who really need it. They are the most wonderful teenagers.”
All 300 campers and youth leaders stayed at Scott Carpenter Middle School for the duration of their stay in Westminster. When they aren’t out in the community fixing and cleaning, the group attends mass and other spiritual programs in the evenings.
Team leader Rachel Core’s experience with Catholic Heat Work Camp has been life changing. She started six years ago as a camper and is now employed as a team leader traveling the country working with many other youth groups and campers.
She said after her first year the experience affirmed her faith in God and she truly felt God’s love. Since then, she’s continued her dedication to service and her faith.
“Being a part of Catholic Heart Work Camp I have never felt more proud of myself,” she said. “I’ve been able to tackle things I never thought I would be able to before. Just having pride in doing something meaningful and changing people’s live is awesome.”
Not only do students take time out of their summer for the program, each person pays a $300 fee as well as their transportation costs to participate.
For more information, visit www.heartworkcamp.com.