Friday, June 26, 2009

BASE Camp - Day Five+

Oh, the best-laid plans of mice and men...

Day Five+ of our 2009 BASE Camp experience began with a bang - literally. As we arrived to drop off a crew at the community service center we heard a loud 'BANG' followed by a slow hiss... Sr. Kitty had a flat. She seemed completely unperturbed, however. "Oh, this happens all the time" was her response. Despite the seeming setback our ever-enthusiastic BASE Camp crew eagerly took on the task of changing the tire (even though none of them had any experience in this area). Although it looked like the beginnings of a bad joke ("How many BASE Camp participants does it take to change a flat tire?") they met their first challenge of the day head-on and with success.

Our large project for this last day of BASE Camp was at the Traci Atkins Park. Traci Atkins was a young girl who was killed when she was hit by a truck as she played in the water of an opened fire hydrant on a hot summer day. The park was created as a place for children to be able to play safely without the worry of traffic. Our task was to dig a relief trench for water that was backing up onto the wading pool deck. Even though it was hot, sweaty work our team dove in (no pun intended) and dug the trench, using the dirt they removed to fill in other holes around the park property. The team also cleaned up trash around the park, and even managed to find some time to play basketball with some young people from the neighborhood. It was a great project on all kinds of levels for our BASE Camp participants - not just for the opportunity to make the park a little nicer for the youngsters that visit there, but also to spend time building relationships with their peers in the neighborhood.

We made a financial donation to the Hezekiah Movement, and there were food donations to sort in the morning as well. Much from one of our St. William of York parishioners, and also food from BASE Camp that we knew we would not need. The crew divided the food donations into bags to be presented to needy families in the area. Another crew spent part of the day cleaning out a storage garage at the community service center, and we ended our time with a group walk to Hollins Market where we sampled a wide variety of treats.

We had a final assessment with Sr. Kitty and focused on our theme for the day, "Go Forth." The youth talked much of their experiences of the past week, and also talked of their dreams for continuing the work we've done. It was particularly gratifying for me to hear how profoundly our young people experienced their faith in action over the last few days.

It's nearly 11pm and a group of about a dozen of the youth have gone over to the church to pray and write prayer intentions on our BASE Camp prayer cloth. Tomorrow is our cleanup day at St. Will's. I know it will be a day of tears and sad farewells. But the 2009 BASE Camp crew is ready to "Go Forth!"

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