Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Erie Canal Reach Workcamp, a Christian faith-based organization, will return to Niagara County in 2013 with back-to-back sessions in July.
Teens and adult supervisors will work on 80 to 100 houses from July 14-20 and from July 21-27. The volunteers from several different states will be housed at the Newfane Central School.
Junior and senior high school students will work in the first session. Senior high students will work in the second session. Young adult helpers are college age. It’s not uncommon for the teens to return.
“Some will be in their first year and some from their sixth year,” said coordinator Dan Costello. “It’s a life-changing experience. They learn the value of service, just for the joy of helping. It’s an opportunity to help people in need, They give up their own time and money to share the love of Christ.”
Michael Boron, the director of St. John’s Outreach, is the co-coordinator.
The teens pay up to $400 to participate. The money pays for their food and helps pay for the materials needed for the projects. Some goes to pay for the Newfane school’s maintenance for the two weeks.
Most work will be done on homes in the City and Town of Lockport. Other projects within reasonable driving range may be chosen. The application deadline is Nov. 1. Applications will be distributed to area churches and food pantries.
In the 2010 project, the volunteers worked on 40 homes. They did roofing on 17 homes and made seven wheelchair ramps. They worked on decks and porches, painted and did drywall.
During the selection process, committee members visit each candidate’s home to see if the job can be done. Trouble shooters give technical advise to the young workers to set them up for success.
In the past, volunteers have stayed overnight at Lockport High School but, because of construction in 2010, volunteers camped on the floors at Newfane.
“Lockort High School is awesome, but it’s a busy school; only one week was available,” Costello explained. “Newfane is availble in the summer and it gave us flexibility, Newfane couldn’t be happier. It is welcoming and said, ‘please come back.’ ”
Volunteers come from church groups of different denominations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia and other states. To date, 68 campers have shown interest in the July 14 camp and 147 campers have shown interest in the July 21 camp.
Reach Workcamp headquarters are in Colorado. Salaried workers set up a week before the camp starts.