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News: Missouri Conference Youth Mission Trip Helps Marcy-Newberry in Chicago07-20-2011
Despite excessive heat warnings in Chicago, 170 youth and adults from the Missouri Conference are busy this week at the Marcy-Newberry Association's site on Maxwell street cleaning, painting, weeding, planting and trying to stay cool! The volunteers from 11 churches across Missouri traveled by bus to Chicago for their annual conference-wide youth mission trip.
Some of the youth didn't see it as all work. "It's fun to take vacation in the summer and go to a different city, but here you're actually doing something productive and doing something for the community," said youth volunteer Emily Hartung-Gilbirds of Good Shepherd UMC in Kansas City, Missouri.
"It's just so fun to give because you get back a lot of it," said 16 year old Tanner Kirksey from Wesley UMC in Independence, Missouri. "I think it builds character and I just enjoy it!"
Marcy-Newberry Associate Executive Director, Rev. Margaret Ann Williams says they depend a great deal on work groups coming and helping out throughout the summer.
"It's a tremendous help," said Rev. Williams. "You're saving dollars, elbow energy and they're doing things that are so needed for the population we serve. We have so many children and families that depend on Marcy-Newberry for childcare, food, clothing and other services."
Bev Boehmer, the Missouri Conference Director of Youth and College Ministries says they began conference-wide youth mission trips more than 10 years ago to provide an opportunity to smaller churches which may not have enough participants or resources to plan their own mission trip.
"Our goal was to make youth mission trips available to any youth in the conference and as it has grown, we’re now reaching all sizes of churches."
Henry McDaniel, Youth Director at Gashland UMC in Kansas City, brought a group of nine youth and five adults. "The goal is really to get as many of the kids out to be the hands and feet," said McDaniel. "They learn teamwork and the kids bond a lot. But it’s taking what we learn Sunday mornings and actually going out and helping others in communities that are less
fortunate than us."
"I think these youth are capable of so much more than we ever give them credit for," said Boehmer. "The skills they’re learning will last a lifetime."
They’ll definitely remember this as one of the hottest mission trips as temperatures soared into the upper 90‘s. To beat the heat, the youth are drinking lots of water, taking breaks and plan on jumping into Lake Michigan at one of the Chicago area's beaches.