Reflection on Adirondack Mission Trip

This New York mission trip, long story short, was good and memorable in the sense that it was absolutely and completely different from any other prior missions I’ve attended.  I find myself telling people about the grand happenings that took place during this trip; trying to look for similarities with other missions that I could compare these events to and I’m just simply unable to.

 It’s a little baffling, yet somewhat humbling at the same time. Looking back on the events of the week and thinking, “Wow, that was a real curveball; a game changer if you will.” Being able to say that you whole heartedly put yourself through something you’ve honestly never experienced; thereby taking that “curveball” and blowing it out of the park. 

When one talks about what makes a mission, it’s pretty safe to say this trip was the full package.  It almost turns into one of those “you had to be there” sort of events.  Although I don’t have time to reflect upon every activity our group did, I would especially like to focus on the main work that we accomplished during the trip.  From landscaping in blistering heat and buggy conditions at campsites deep in the Adirondacks, to running around with the youngsters of Warrensburg at VBS, as well as getting to know the elders at the local retirement home, this trip truly covered it all. 

Starting off the mission, as all the youth groups and their members were finally settled, we were briefed on what this week would entail and then split up into worksite crews as we were bussed off to our worksites for the first two days.  Thankfully, SPC’s small group allowed us to stay together for our worksite crew which was meshed with a handful of metropolitan Detroit-area youth.  Personally, that in itself was one of my highlights of the trip, with me being born and originally raised in Michigan, it made for a good first connection.  Once at the camp we did everything from cultivation to moving piles of rocks and dirt underneath the unforgiving summertime sun.  The experience I got from the first two days of work was possibly the best of the whole week.  There’s just something about digging through mud, sod, and grime in that manner and under those conditions that, for me, truly feels fulfilling.  Thus, as our work crew bid our final farewells to the owners of that establishment, I personally felt like I made a difference and could look back and be proud of what I did.    

The next days of the mission brought some relief; our work crew caught a break and switched from digging until our hands hurt to helping out at a VBS event for a local church.  After planning out the daily schedules for the two days, we finally got to meet up with the kids for their daily activities.  While some of the youngsters needed no icebreakers or introductions, it was great to play and work with some of the kids who happened to be a bit shy at first.  This work thankfully seemed to pay dividends as by the end of each activity, I could visibly see the smiles on their young faces getting wider and wider.  And just in case the prior activities didn’t do the trick, at the end of our stay our group put on a ‘water day’ for the “young-uns”.  Hence with all the water balloons, squirt guns, and general dousing that ensued the kids where certainly satisfied.  This experience on the second pair of work days was particularly rewarding for me as I regularly work with youth, much like the youth my work crew and I saw at this VBS. For the last several summers I have been a counselor for our tri-county area at the local 4-H camp; but I sadly couldn’t participate this year due to travel and college commitments. That helped make my time with these kids extra special.

 As my work crew group waved our last good-byes to the kids and later to each other, I sincerely felt an abundance of contentment with our group’s collective efforts throughout the long week.  I’ve honestly never felt so much reward for a simple week of work. 

On that note, I would just like to take a moment to thank SPC and this wonderful congregation for generously supporting all of the great trips that our Yootz group has become known for.  From deep within Appalachia, to the busy District of Columbia, to as far away as Arizona and Nicaragua, and now to upstate New York this youth group has played a huge role in my teenage and young adult life.  And while I will probably not be able to be as involved due to moving away for college, I can’t wait to hear the stories from missions to come as the Yootz group, like me, enters a new chapter.