Teens’ mission trips give them experience, exposure and some appreciation
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:13AM
Once again village youth have headed out of our parched but leafy villages in an effort to do some physical labor on mission trips which, though they certainly help those living in need, ultimately strengthen and enlighten the kids in unforeseen ways.
Brendan Krupp, for example, is a rising sophomore at Hinsdale Central High School who learned a valuable life lesson this summer. While working on a mission trip in Gratiot, Mich., Krupp saw how his efforts at painting and repairing an older woman’s home directly affected her and made her life better, and that made him feel good.
“It’s nice to see the work,” Krupp said. “It shows what you can do.”
He learned a little about that idiom “action speaks louder than words” while proving the “faith without works is dead” whether that was the teen’s intention or not.
“You can see the difference you’re making,” he said.
Krupp is one of six Hinsdale Central students who are also members of NeW LYF, a youth group comprised of teens from Christ Lutheran Church of Clarendon Hills and the Lord of Life Church in Darien. NeW LYF stands for Near West Lutheran Youth Foundation, and for the past six years or so, NeW LYF has sent its teens to join Group Workcamps, an organization which runs Christian youth mission trips throughout the United States.
This year’s trip took place the week of July 8 and in Gratiot (pronounced gra-shett) County, Mich., a rural, agricultural community which has been deeply affected by the closing of several plants as well as the economic downtown in general. A number of the county’s residents, particularly the elderly, have been unable to maintain their homes, and this is where the young missionaries came in. The kids, led by capable and skilled adults repaired, repainted and renovated these homes as needed. The residents were often there, delighted and eager to meet the youth serving them.
“I learned how to build a deck,” said Allison Krohn, who will be a Central senior and who was on her fourth mission trip, having accompanied NeW LYF to Trenton, N.J. last year and two Indiana missions the previous years.
One of the benefits of NeW LYF joining Group Workcamps missions is that Group Workcamps mixes kids from different Christian denominations and from different communities and states. Our Hinsdale Central teens were thrown into different work crews and learned as much from the other teens they labored alongside as they did doing the actual work. Krohn knew from previous experience that it is good to get out of the Clarendon Hills/Hinsdale area but she has also learned that other teens have different sorts of high schools and high school experiences.
“I love meeting new people,” Krohn said.
In fact last year in New Jersey, she became such good friends with a Wisconsin-based youth group, that she kept in touch and the friends have visited each other since.
All of the kids — there were perhaps as many as 300 total in Michigan a few weeks ago — stayed in a local high school, sleeping in sleeping bags atop air mattresses in classrooms and taking showers in the school gym. The girls had their own hallway and the boys their own, but these conditions actually make some summer camps look luxurious. Even seeing a different school was a good experience.
“It’s so different from Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South,” said Lauren Krupp, Brendan’s older sister and a rising senior at Central.
This was her first mission trip with the NeW LYF group.
“It was the most fun I’ve had in a while,” she said.
Last year she accompanied the Community Presbyterian Church of Clarendon Hills’ on one of its Caravan missions, which are slightly different in terms of organization but just as meaningful an experience.
“It makes you open your eyes to have good you have it,” said Tom Krohn, a rising sophomore at Hinsdale Central.
He said that he particularly likes meeting new people while going with friends to something different.
Lauren Treacy and Laly Ortiz were the two other Hinsdale Central students who joined with NeW LYF in Michigan.
These are the quiet weeks of summer, but Saturday if you happen by the Clarendon Hills Public Library, 7 N. Prospect St., the Reading is So Delicious theme continues with an edible book contest. The contest will be judged at 3 p.m. on Saturday, so stop by before then to see what is submitted. An edible book, according to library officials is just that. They envision of course sheet cakes decorated to look like books as well as perhaps a bowl of angry grapes (The Grapes of Wrath, anyone?). This should be interesting, especially considering the contest categories: Children entering fifth grade or younger, sixth- to 12th-graders, young adults college age and up and families. For more information, visit www.clarendonhillslibrary.org or call (630) 323-8188.
For those who have heard of the latest in laptop luxury — Apple’s Macbook Pro if the cognoscenti are right (and they always are or they wouldn’t be cognoscenti) — the Hinsdale Public Library is lending them out to library cardholders. This would be the time to try one and learn about what all the fuss is before making an investment in one.
The Clarendon Hills Historical Society trolley tour of Naperville is coming up on Aug. 8 with a cost of $20 a person. Meet the trolley on the upper parking deck of Naperville City Hall, 400 S. Eagle St. in Naperville at 9:45 a.m. For those who wish to carpool or caravan, meet at Heritage Hall, 50 Sheridan, Clarendon Hills, at 9 a.m. For more information call Diane Hiller at (630)-915-5009.