Teens from First United Methodist Church Van Alstyne’s youth group were supposed to return to the city of Nocona this summer for their mission trip.
They were planning to go with a group called UM ARMY and join forces with another church they’d worked with before. The kids were excited about reconnecting with friends they’d made there last summer.
Then, COVID-19 made an out-of-town trip out of the question.
Although the group was upset about having to cancel the trip, the teens managed to turn the situation an into opportunity to help their hometown.
Last week, they came together for "All in at Base Camp," dedicated to community service in Van Alstyne.
"We just wanted to use our skills to impact our community, and also to be a witness for God and give our kids some kind of mission trip this summer even if we couldn’t go anywhere," FUMC Youth Minister Kellie Floyd said.
While wearing masks, the kids submitted to regular temperature checks and did their best to adhere to social distancing guidelines. During the day, they completed multiple painting, woodworking and landscaping projects.
Before the mission began, the church put out the call for those who needed help, particularly the elderly. They also reached out to Meals on Wheels and Kids Eat Free.
The teens helped one local resident with health issues clean up his 12-acre property.
They also built three wheelchair ramps, including one for a woman whose husband recently entered a nursing home. She'd just returned from rehab and now needed a walker to get around. Before having a ramp, it was nearly impossible for the woman to get in and out of her own house.
The young people also built stairs, painted the entire exterior of a house and completed minor repairs on doors and other fixtures.
Floyd says she didn’t hear a negative comment from the kids all week. In fact, the mission went so well, she hopes to convince them to do it again next year.
Pastor Jerry Jones said the experience has been very rewarding for both himself and the young workers. He was impressed with how the teens would start early in the morning and continue well into the afternoon.
He also received numerous accolades from members of the community. One man told Jones that the work they did would have taken him two weeks two complete.
"They’re hard workers with great spirit," Jones said. "They work hard, they play hard, and it’s fun to be with them."