What I Learned From Day 3 of a Middle School Work Camp

I’m exhausted, the students are exhausted, we are a bunch of wimps because really there is no reason for us to be tired.  No, it’s really okay but you could tell that the students are physically wearing down.  And it’s not really because of anything we are doing.  I found out yesterday some of these students are going to football, soccer, and field hockey practice after giving the Lord and the people of Baltimore 6 hours of service.  I’m not even running this week because I want to preserve some of my energy, so I can’t imagine how these kids are doing what they are doing.
Yesterday the students were split up and headed to three different sites.  One group headed to Fitness Fun and Games a summer day care for little kids.  A second group went over to Fr. Charles Hall and Holy Angels.  Their goal was to set-up the new school that would be opening up in a few weeks.   And the third group went over to Baltimore Station a place for men in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse.  I feel as if the students look forward to because:
This is the day because of the relationships they build with the residents, clients and kids.  And although the fruits of their relationships are not mature, they can see the gifts and blessings of meeting someone new.  But I also think the students love interacting with all of these people because there are no preconceived notions, no rumors, no prejudgements made because of someone else.  I also think the students love the day because they are out of their comfort zone but see the benefits that emerge from meeting someone new.
As youth workers we need to be providing them opportunities to sep out of their comfort zones, to meet people very different from them, to interact and listen to stories very different from the ones they hear at school or see on tv.  We need to give the students the opportunity to hear these different stories because then they get more of God’s story.  It was rewarding for me to hear these students share those stories and I hope they continue to share them with their friends, family and peers.