A swarm of teenagers, a hive of activity!

         300 teenagers came to Lockport over the weekend, but it wasn’t for the big Lou Gramm concert. These young men and women are part of Reach Workcamps and have come to our area to work during their summer vacations. They’ll be rebuilding and fixing homes in Eastern Niagara County. If you read today’s paper, you’ll know that they sleep on air mattresses on classroom floors in Lockport High School… kind of like a slumber party away from home, right? They work each day from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and have time for socializing, prayer and activities. Reach is new to Lockport, after having worked in Niagara Falls last year. The young people come from six states and several church denominations, some as young as seventh graders. Sound like a big party to you?

            Reach is similar to the Group Workcamps who have been in our area before. A few summers ago, groups of volunteers from Kentucky put a roof on a house next door t me and did work on another nearby. Those teens worked every single minute, in a spirit of camaraderie that was amazing. Except for a brief break to eat a bagged lunch, they were cheerfully busy and productive all day. The weather was sweltering one day, and drizzling the next, but they had a job to do in a limited time, so there were no time-outs. Not only do these young people not get paid, they have to raise money to pay for their expenses to come here! They come because they want to help, to serve and to be a part of something good. I can assure you they are a shining example of what is good and decent in America’s youth. I was heartened and humbled by their desire to really make a difference in the world.

            If you see these young men and women at work, stop and say “Thanks” for caring about our community, our world. Yes, they are here to party; they’re here to be part of the joyful celebration of giving to others. They’ll be working hard and gaining valuable work experience, but the greatest reward is one only the selfless receive, the satisfaction of knowing the best give to give is the gift of “you” in service to others. At the end, they’ll have a reason to be proud, for they will have touched many lives and hearts with their compassion and spirit. We can all be proud of them for their mission.

            Welcome to Eastern Niagara! We hope you’ll feel right at home.

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