Faithful workers to repair homes

November 02, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Equipped with faith and plenty of tools, about 300 to 400 students from across the United States will be in Washington County this summer on a mission to help property owners in need.

Through the Christian-based Group Workcamps Foundation of Loveland, Colo., students will be making basic home repairs for no charge to 50 to 70 homes owned by senior citizens and disabled and low-income residents from July 22-27, 2007.

Organizers of the local camp, called Antietam WorkCamp, said they are looking for property owners who might qualify for the free work, which will include painting, fixing porches, steps and siding, constructing wheelchair ramps and light carpentry. The deadline to apply is Dec. 15.

The students will also take time each day for prayer, to be joined by the homeowners if they wish, said Kevin Collins of REACH, one of the camp's local coordinators.


"It's a great program, because it's not just what the kids are doing for the community ... It's a time of fellowship and a little bit of friendly visitation," Collins said.

Collins encouraged property owners to apply for the repairs.

"I think there's really a need for it," Collins said. "This isn't a gimmick, and it's all free. There's no strings attached."

The Rev. Anne Weatherholt, rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Boonsboro, said students from local churches have participated in camps in other parts of the country, but this will be the first time a camp is planned for Washington County.

Leah Beachley, 16, a member of St. Mark's, said she painted houses during camps the last two summers. Her first camp was in Norwalk, Conn., and the second was in Mattawan, Mich.

She said she has had positive experiences at the camps and was excited to learn an event will take place in Washington County.

"My first instinct was to e-mail all my friends from past work groups and tell them you have to come," Leah said.

Her friends from church were excited, she said.

"We've been begging to help out here," Leah said. "We just want to be a part of it."

Interested in having the students work on your house?

Contact Kevin Collins of REACH at 301-733-2371 for information about how to apply.

If you have an application, you may fax it to Collins at 301-733-7479 or mail it to him at 140 W. Washington St., Suite 300, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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