(DAVISON, Michigan) Through the week of July 14 to July 19, hundreds of Catholic teens from all around the Midwest gathered at St. John the Evangelist parish in Davison to serve the Genesee County area.
The high school students came from Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to serve in Davison, Flint, Imaly City, and Burton.
Connor Bickett of Bowling Brook, Illinois worked with complete strangers throughout the week, cleaning dorms at the nearby Michigan Christian Youth Camp.
When teens came back from serving all day, they had opportunities to grow closer to each other through various programs and activities offered by Catholic Heart Work Camp. Bickett remarks “One of the best parts about the week was becoming closer to the people I was working with and my youth group.”
Apart from drawing closer to each other, teens also drew closer to God over the week. With such opportunities as daily mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and the sacrament of reconciliation, teens described their faith as being “re-charged”.
“I came to this camp because I thought it’d be fun to experience drawing closer to God,” Bickett continues. “This week definitely brought me closer in my faith.”
Zack Phillips of Davison, Michigan, would agree with Bickett. “I came to this camp because I wanted to become closer to God.” By the end of the week, Phillips professed “This week made me realize how much more I need to get involved in the church.”
By serving the community and providing a hand-up instead of a handout, the teens realized what it truly means to be “the hands and feet of Jesus”. They were encouraged to see the camp not as a one-stop-shop, but a metaphorical gas station that would refill their spirits and sense of purpose as they go back home to the real world.
The theme for the week was “Be Seen”. The staff for the camp explained that we will not always be seen serving others, nor should we serve others simply to be seen and acknowledged for our good deeds. However, if we can fulfill our role as the light of the world, people will notice and lives can be changed for the better.
“…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16