Church youth group travels to Tennessee work camp


The Chancellor Reformed youth group recently returned from a work camp in Alcoa, Tennessee. Chancellor Reformed Youth Group Director, Amy Abbas said “they were reminded what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

The group left South Dakota June 18 and returned June 25. The kids attending work camp included: John Oldenkamp, Nick Kayl, Pierce Plucker, Zack Anderson, Jacob Lackas, Lawton Luke, Allison Lefers, Kayla Johnston, Shaelyn Kirchner, Brady Klock, Keely Anderson, Mason Palmer, Lauren Hunstad, Rylie Christensen, Makenzie Dean, Shane Kasten, Jayden Even, Mikayla Smit, Katie Daughtery, Haley Mendel, Amanda Timmerman, Callie Luke, Zam Centeno, Tyler Zebell, Joe Hoogestraat, Grant Plucker, Dawson Smit, Denver Nordmann, Mason Lottman, Mason Davey, Seth VanGelder, Kendra Sandal, Quincy Ihnen, Holden Wagner and Joe Joffer. Chaperones included Gary and Sue Oldenkamp, Layne Dykstra, Dan Smit, Duane Smit and Abbas.

The following is a recap of their journey to Alcoa, TN, by Amy Abbas:

We have gone on this trip for many years and we have never had a send-off like we did this year. The night we left it down poured and didn’t seem like it was going to stop. We found our first challenge to be packing a bus for 42 people and tools during a downpour but we overcame that and knew that nothing was going to stop us. We loaded soaking wet kids and adults and started our 22+ hour trip.

We arrived in Alcoa on Saturday night ready for showers, a good night sleep and a time to relax and meet the other kids who had made this journey. We stayed at the Dobson Memorial Church in classrooms. There were 195 other kids and adults from Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota attending this camp. Sunday we attended church and met the kids in our group. The students were divided into 14 different groups, so they had about 10-12 students and 3 adults. We did different activities on Sunday to get to know each other and started building relationships with one another. This challenged the kids and adults to get out of their comfort zone and go from complete strangers to a team that was going to make a house livable again for a family. The projects ranged from: shingling roofs, siding, painting, cleaning up yards and rooms in homes, building decks, stairs and ramps, laying flooring and different odd jobs around the homes. Sunday night we got the opportunity to drive out to our job site and meet the host families that we would be helping. Seeing most of these homes was very heartbreaking, knowing that children and elderly live in them each day. Our goal for the week was to make a relationship with the host family along with making their home livable.

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