Youth Mission Trips
For 30 years our high school youth have gone on a summer Mission Trip. They have volunteered in a wide variety of situations: homeless shelters and feeding programs, summer camps, Habitat for Humanity and other urban renewal sites, historical cemeteries, churches, schools and colleges in a variety of locations: cities, rural areas, and Native American reservations in the US, including Alaska. They have also served in other countries specifically Mexico, Canada and Denmark. We try to alternate between a big trip to a far-away location, and one that is closer to home, so that we can keep our learning integrated and include as many people as possible. The Mission Trip is always an exciting rite of passage which helps the youth group to grow together in learning and service. Relationships forged here can last a lifetime!
In 2014 the youth group traveled all the way to Memphis, TN. Our Youth Group Mission Trip traveled to Memphis this year. We learned and served with several organizations doing food justice work, from farming to harvesting, to packing and cooking and serving food. Memphis is one of the hungriest cities in the nation as well as one of the most obese, so the work that these people are doing to get good, fresh, nutritious food into the hands of those who need it is truly God’s work.
We were privileged to work with the following organizations: Roots Memphis Farm Academy, Green Leaf Learning Farm, and Bring It Food Hub. We visited the Church Health Center and St Jude Children’s Hospital (where we delivered fresh chard for the cafeteria). We also partnered with the local mission of our host church, Idlewild Presbyterian, for “More Than A Meal.” And on our recreation day we enjoyed a photo scavenger hunt around Memphis.
Photos from our work can be seen on our Flickr page.
In 2013 the youth group traveled to Fresno and worked with FIRM, Fresno Interdenominationa Refugee Ministries. (http://www.firminc.org/) They worked primarily with people of the Hmong immigrant community, learning a lot about their culture as they did so. Highlights included providing a children’s Vacation Bible School program, painting and fixing up the FIRM center, and building a wheelchair ramp to increase its accessibility.
In July 2012, several members of our youth group traveled to Denver, CO to participate in a week-long program called “denUM”– that is, Denver Urban Ministries. They blogged at the Mission Trip blog.
Our youth explored concerns related to hunger and poverty, volunteering with the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon in Portland from July 25 to August 3. They served in a variety of agencies which were tackling food justice issues, such as working on an urban farm and in community gardens, distributing food to needy families through a church’s farmers’ market, and serving meals to AIDS patients through another church. When they returned to MPC they quickly mobilized to build a community garden here at the church.