Youths from around the country will descend on Rochester in July for a Catholic work camp, and organizers are identifying potential work sites for them, including the homes of low-income, elderly parishioners.
The SHINE Catholic Work Camp will be in Rochester July 18-23 and will bring about 120 high-school students and college students ranging in age from 14 to 20 to work in urban areas.
Those attending the Rochester camp will be from youth groups in Wisconsin, Minnesota and New Jersey. They will serve parishioners from St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Rochester and elderly, disabled or unemployed people that such local agencies as Habitat for Humanity or Head Start identify as needing help.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini comprises the former St. Andrew, Annunciation, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of the Americas and St. Michael churches.
The initial contact for the work camp came through former Light of Christ Youth Minister Amy Dorscheid, who worked with St. Andrew and Annunciation churches, parish officials said. Marta Montes, faith-formation coordinator and youth minister for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, said the parish is reaching out to its various ministries to identify people who cannot afford repairs to their homes.
The young people will be available to do painting, weatherizing, housecleaning, landscaping, yard work and basic construction; to hang doors or windows; to clean up vacant lots; and to help at shelters and facilities that serve low-income families. According to officials with the work camp, the goals of the service projects are to build up hope in the community and to find ways to translate the service back into the participants’ home communities.
Youths pay to attend the work camp, and registration fees total about $300. The cost includes lodging, meals, a work camp T-shirt, concerts, programming, supplies and work camp/kitchen staff.
The youth workers will stay at Siena Catholic Academy in Brighton and will use the school’s gym and classrooms for programs and living facilities. Margaret Ostromecki, pastoral administrator of the Our Lady Queen of Peace/St. Thomas More Parish cluster, said the parishes jumped at the chance to host the work camp.
"We thought it was a pretty good idea, especially considering the connections we can make between urban and suburban parishes," she said.
She said the parish hopes to be able to provide a meal of local food, and the parish is seeking volunteers to help in the hosting of the work camp.
SHINE (Serving Him In the Needy and Elderly) Catholic Work Camp was started in 2000 by youth ministers Augie and Dawn Leal from Houston, Texas.
"It grew out of youth ministry and music ministry," said Cait Homb, office manager for SHINE Catholic Work Camp. "They wanted to give young people the opportunity to follow their baptismal call to serve."
In addition to Rochester, this summer the camp will be in San Antonio, Texas; New Orleans, La.; Memphis, Tenn.; Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Il.; and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
The week isn’t all work, Homb said, noting that social and spiritual-growth opportunities are incorporated into the schedule. Days kick off with breakfast at 7:30 a.m., worship opportunities including Masses that open and close the week, working at sites from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and evening programs at 7 p.m.
This year the program has a beach theme and is based on the movie "Soul Surfer," which tells the true story of champion surfer, Bethany Hamilton, who loses her arm in a shark attack but keeps her faith in God. A concert July 22 by Catholic rap and rock musician Masheti Moses will cap the Rochester work camp.
"There’s actually a lot of time for fun," Homb said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For details on the work camp, call the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish at 585-325-4041.