Youth Mission Trip Report

A group of First Cong High School Youth, accompanied by Ann Beaty and Jeff Rabe, spent a week in St. Louis, MO for their Summer Mission Trip. These annual trips give youth a chance to do service work, explore a new environment, and build community within the group. Eden Seminary was home base for the trip.
Monday and Tuesday were spent at Caroline Mission, a day care and community center which offers low or no cost childcare for families. The group from First Cong did lots and lots of cleaning/disinfecting of toys, tables, chairs, shelves etc. and quite a bit of grunt work clearing weeds and sod under playground equipment in preparation for a fresh layer of wood chips. Caroline Mission is a part of Neighborhood Houses, which from its founding in 1913 has had strong ties to the UCC (E&R). It's original mission was to serve impoverished German immigrants arriving in St Louis. Neighborhood Houses continues to serve those in need by offering such programs as: free or no cost childcare, summer camps, after school programming, teen mother support, and nutrition education.
First Cong Youth explored a bit of St Louis on Wednesday by going to the St. Louis Science Center, the MUNY, and the iconic City Museum
Emmaus Homes was the focus on Thursday. Emmaus Homes (formally Emmaus House) also has strong ties to the UCC. Emmaus Homes (E.H.) was founded in 1893 in Marthasville, Mo., when a group of pastors and lay people from the surrounding churches of the Evangelical Synod of the West decided to use their vacated seminary building to serve individuals with epilepsy and developmental disabilities. E.H. now focuses less on institutional facilities, and more on residential homes. First Cong Youth spent the morning playing games with E.H. clients and did a bit of yard work at an E.H. residential home for a part of the afternoon.
The last day of the trip brought the group to a circle discussion with children, youth and adult residents of Ferguson, MO at St. Peter's UCC in Ferguson. It proved to be an eye-opening experience for all those from Madison.
ALL are invited to LEARN MORE about the trip by attending a presentation lead by participating youth following Worship on Sunday, August 14. Youth will share slides of the trip and offer their perspective of the experience. 
Here are a few thoughts from those on the trip:
I really enjoyed being able to help out at both the Caroline Mission and Emmaus Homes because it helped to show me that there is a range of work to be done and a need for volunteers everywhere. This trip made me see how much we can do even in just a week. Overall it was a really good experience. ~ Emma Bittner
On this trip we went to Caroline Mission and did some yard work. I just really appreciate that we got that,    or otherwise Mr. Anthony [custodian] would have had to pull up all those weeds by himself. The gratitude he showed me and everyone who helped made me realize why we do what we do.
~ Spencer Noth-Hazen
I really loved meeting new people on this trip. We got to meet and talk to so many diverse people, and I think I learned something from everyone. This trip also made me appreciate volunteers who have helped me throughout my life. Volunteer work is never easy, but it is very worth it to help people in need. ~ Gwen Parker
I appreciated learning about opportunities to help others over the course of this trip. I believe that it was valuable teaching us not only about helping others in places removed from us, but also in our own communities. ~ Holden Ringle
Our last day involved going to a discussion about Michael Brown [shooting in Ferguson] and some of the things we talked about made me rethink some things about  how we humans work as a "system." ~ Max Veit
~ Jeff Rabe

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 10:58 am in Featured Content.

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