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Teens celebrate end of Antietam Workcamp week

July 27, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

WILLIAMSPORT - When the last nail had been hammered and the last paint brush had been put down, the Antietam Workcamp's 350 teens from 10 states had finished much needed repairs at 44 households in the area in the past week.

"This was such a big success - beyond my wildest expectations," said the Rev. Anne Weatherholt, whose congregation at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Lappans was the driving force behind bringing the enterprise to Washington County.

The donor list for materials, cash and other needs topped $27,500 from individuals, businesses, churches, fundraisers and government and nonprofit agencies, she said.

Weatherholt joined other organizers, volunteers, and business and civic leaders at a boisterous celebration Friday night at Williamsport High School, where the teens have been "camping" all week.

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Many of the residents whose homes were repaired also were at the celebration, enjoying the residual energy of the teens despite their 10,000-plus hours of work.

"I'll miss my kids terribly," said Flossie Everts, who traveled from Warfordsburg, Pa., for the celebration.

A member of St. Thomas' Episcopal Church in Hancock, Everts learned of the workcamp through a brochure at the church.

"Someone came up and took a look at my house," Everts said.

A crew of teens from Connecticut, New York, Virginia and Texas showed up at Everts' home at the beginning of the workcamp, and before the week was done, her old porch was taken down, a new porch was erected and her kitchen had been painted.

"They brought their own lunches each day, but I had snacks for them," Everts said.

When they started the weeklong camp, many of the teens said the work would bring them closer to God while they helped local homeowners.

Weatherholt said organizing the workcamp took about two years. It was the first time anything of this nature has been held in Washington County.

Today, the teens will pack up and return home in vehicles, many of which bear the logo "Renovate for God" on their windows.

Antietam Workcamp is part of Group Workcamps Foundation, which began in the 1970s and oversees similar projects for 12- to 20-year-olds across the country.

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