Work, play and pray for some kids' summer job

CBS 21

Some kids in York County have been seen making some loud noises around an elderly woman's home. Yet instead of complaining, 96-year-old Mareece Gibbs says it's great.

“I think that's amazing. And I think they should be congratulated," Gibbs said.

Gibbs was born in 1919, so she was a teen in the 1930s. What was she doing in the summers back then?

“Selling snow balls, with my brother. In York City on Poplar Street," Gibbs said.

She says, they used to charge 5 cents or less for each “snow ball” they sold. However, even that pay would be more than these kids receive.

No Pay? No Problem.

This group of teens in York spent last week fixing up Gibbs’ home, and 50 more...for free.

“They not only give their time, they fundraise for an entire year before they came here," one of the organizers, Steve Kern says.

The kids came from 10 different states this year, and beyond.

Natalie Winter is from Canada, and said with a sigh, “It’s a 7 hour drive, but with stops, like 9 hours.”

Ben Briggs came here from Virginia and said, “It feels great. I like helping people. It feels nice, like you accomplished something. It’s great.”

40 years of helping others.

More than 300 campers came to York this time, as part of “Group Mission Trips.” The program has been serving communities since 1977 with trips like this. The national work camps are organized locally by the York association of the United Church of Christ.

Some of the kids already have some home improvement skills, the rest literally learn on the job.

“They didn't think they could do that coming in," Kern said. "At the end of the week, they are doing that and doing it well, and they feel that they've accomplished that."

Work, play and pray.

After a tough day repairing the homes, the teens get to socialize with other teens they’ve met, and then have bible study at night.

“The number one priority is faith growth. Obviously the work is important, but we try to accomplish the faith growth through the work projects," Kern said.

“I can talk to my friends and crew and do work at the same time, and it just makes it more fun," Briggs said.

What’s the matter with kids today?

We asked Gibbs, if she’s noticed a difference in the way kids are today, compared to other times she’s been around teens in her life.

As mom, who also has six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, Joel D. thought she might have some perspective.

Gibbs smiled and said, “I think some kids have changed, but I think kids like this, there were always kids like that.” And to them she says, “Thank you very very much and you will be in my prayers forever.”

Hopefully the volunteers have learned that even though you aren’t always paid for your work, it can still be valuable.

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