U.M. ARMY OFFERS HIGH QUALITY WEEK-LONG MISSION PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS THAT SERVE PEOPLE IN NEED AND BUILD LEADERSHIP SKILLS!
Basics About our Program
Participants sleep, eat, worship and enjoy fellowship at a local church beginning on Sunday evening and ending on Saturday afternoon of mission week. Each weekday teams consisting of adults and youth set out to a worksite in the local area. Additional adults act as support to the teams bringing needed tools, supplies, technical expertise and safety checks to the site each day (We also bring popsicles, watermelon, and other cooling treats).
THE HOMEOWNERS AND PROJECTS
We believe our relationship to those being served is the top priority and central to our work. Our homeowners are referred by local social service agencies and churches. Generally they are elders but some are families who are unable to do the work for themselves due to financial concerns or disabilities. The work is anything from simple projects such as yard work or painting to small home repairs on doors, windows, stairs, porches and construction of handicap access ramps. The teams bring a lunch to share with their homeowner each day and are encouraged to interact as much as possible. Often the idea that someone cares is much more important than the actual work!
Throughout the week, fun evening activities are planned. They often include swimming, bowling, skating and/or games. One evening during the week is reserved as “Community Night.” We invite those whom we have served to a dinner at our host church and they are given the opportunity to speak to the young people about what their service has meant. (Definitely a highlight of the week!) We begin each day with a 15 min devotional service and end each evening with a contemporary worship service that is uplifting to youth.
People of all denominations and beliefs are welcome. While our primary participation has been from United Methodist youth groups, most mission weeks will have a blend of faith traditions in attendance. Church groups of all sizes attend. Some churches will send groups as small as 2 while other church groups will send 50 or more participants. We really make an effort to help our smaller groups feel comfortable right away. Each participating church is asked to bring 2 adults for every 5 youth attending. Our mission week staff is completely volunteer but most of the key leaders have had several years of experience and extensive training. While most participating adults will be assigned to work with a team, there are also opportunities for adults who would prefer to help in the kitchen, with tool organization, administration, worship, and group activities for the week.
Our registration fee is very affordable. It includes all activities, work materials and meals (except for one dinner out at a family restaurant during the week). We are able to offer lower fees than other youth mission programs for a variety of reasons:
- Our programs are housed in host community Churches. Our gracious hosts see us as an extension of their own outreach to their local community and do not charge us for their hospitality.
- Church groups are asked to bring vehicles for all adult participants and to gather tools for on-site use. These practices avoid expensive rentals and create a true experience of sharing in mission.
- We do not hire camp staff. Instead we train and empower devoted and passionate volunteers as leaders in our program.
- We do not spend large sums of money on fancy advertisements. Our mailings aren’t glossy and glitzy arriving in your box several times per month. Instead, we believe that like the Gospel, word of mouth and heart to heart are the best ways to spread our message.
- Good stewardship allows us to commit a large portion of each participant fee toward building materials and the actual mission projects.
It’s very important that prior to camp all participating adults be trained by one of our Board of Directors. The training is very simple and ensures that all participants have a fun and safe time at their mission week.