Over the summer we have hosted four Urban Service Camps. Youth groups who have travelled from Vermont, Ohio and Illinois. As a large part of our Outreach ministry, Urban Service Camps allow for these youth volunteer groups to take time out of their schedules, come to Old First and participate in service projects.
Not only do these projects provide a lens into the injustice that so many in our city face, but moreover, provide an invitation for volunteers to reflect on their experiences.
While reflections are a large component of our Urban Service Camp ministry, their purpose lasts a lifetime. Contemplating on injustice mixed with faith, and the act of kindness — indeed gives reason for pause, deliberation and prayer.
Below are reflections from three members of Exhale, our most recent Service Camp who travelled from Illinois to participate in our Outreach ministry from July 10th-July 16th.
“This mission trip has meant alot to me. It has been a great opportunity to give to the community of Philly and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to do it. I’ve gotten to meet some pretty great people, whether it was at the Wissahickon Forest, or at MANNA. I enjoyed myself. I helped the community in some way and nothing can replace that. Exhale and Old First have helped make this a great experience, and we got to help in the meantime.–Tracey”
“My time here has been an eye opening experience. Being here has been a huge step out of my comfort zone. Which was good. I have gotten to do things that I never thought I would do. For instance, walking around the city handing lunches for the homeless. That was cool. — Dacoda”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed our entire trip to Philly and staying at your church has been fantastic. This is my first time being around this many homeless/less fortunate people and it has made me realize how much I take things for granted. It warms my heart every time I am able to help someone and put a smile on their face. Thank you for giving all of us the opportunity to help people and make the world a better place.– Cameron”
Alesha Thomas, Outreach Coordinator