“I can change the world, With my own two hands…”

The title for this blog post comes from the song above by Ben Harper and Jack Johnson

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to chaperone the middle school mission trip from my church to Charlotte, North Carolina. While I was in high school I was very active in youth ministry, always finding myself going on the summer mission trips. My favorite trip was to New Mexico for a Native American Experience. I went with an amazing group of people and had the time of my life helping out and learning about the Navajo culture. We were very fortunate to get to stay on the Navajo Reservation, allowing us to truly understand their daily life.

Since I graduated from high school I have struggled to find something similar to these mission trips, and I was not yet old enough to chaperone. The moment I turned 21 I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, my youth minister is no longer working at my church, but the middle school youth minister Daisy said I could help on their trip. They were going to Catholic Heart Work Camp, which is a week long service and faith oriented experience. This is one of the only mission trips I never participated in high school, so I was excited to see what it was all about.

I went with an amazing group of 13 incoming 8th graders. During the week we are split into teams with people from all over the country. My team consisted of my co-leader Chris, Ashley, Zach, Leah, Colin, Molly and Sidney. They were from all different parts of the country yet we worked together as a team to get the project completed. Our project for the week was painting the entire inside of a house. It was hard work, because the house was very cluttered and dirty…but this didn’t slow my team down.

This is my work team on our last day!

After every day of work we headed back to Charlotte Catholic High School (our lodging for the week) and each night we enjoyed evening program filled with speakers, skits and music. One night the chaperones even got up an participated in a skit. It was one of the more traumatic experiences of my life…but I am proud to report I stepped outside of my comfort zone and did it! Amanda, Daisy and I all had to dance on stage in front of 300 people. Luckily our part only lasted about 15 seconds!

Our group rocking the tie dye shirts

One negative to chaperoning at such a young age? Everyone thought I was a camper! But I do have to say I was very impressed with my group, because they were able to talk to me about certain topics and have fun, yet they still respected me enough to listen when I was giving directions.

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