Urban Service Camps from Manhasset, NY and Upton, MA came to Old First in recent weeks. During the hottest stretch of summer so far, these youth have been working hard in Philadelphia.
The Congregational Church of Manhasset worked in our garden several days getting the last flowers planted, weeding and laying mulch. Part of the group spent a day with me getting the Cupboard donations sorted by season and wearability. The rest of their time was spent at Mt Olivet with a tutoring program, volunteering at various soup kitchens, MANNA and Philabundance. They did a bit of site-seeing and adventured to try quite a few cheese steak shops.
United Parish of Upton helped me to paint and reorganize the nursery. With a fresh coat of paint and a different arrangement to the room, it gives it new life! All toys were cleaned one by one and items were dusted to be ready for the next little hands to play with them. This group volunteered at a lot of the same places as the Manhasset group. At the end of the week, the youth write a worship service and hold it. On Thursday night I was part of a youth led worship and it was fantastic. The youth put a lot of time and thought into preparing their bible stories, sermon and music. It was beautiful. I’m always so proud to see the change in youth over the course of their week of service.
The next group, Congregational Church of Middlebury, VT, will arrive on Sunday, July 15th. I look forward to seeing what skills and beauty they bring to the program.