I have participated in Wichita WorkCamp for years. All the years when I was in the office I would greet some of the kids and sponsors in the mornings, then wait till all of them were through the breakfast line to grab a leftover burrito or something. That was about it. WorkCamp was a thoroughly delightful week.
This year was considerably different. I tried a bit more participation by getting involved with one of the work crews. I was much more tired at the end of the week, but it was still thoroughly delightful. Here are the top three reasons why:
#3 – It is an amazing thing just to watch the operation. Unless you’ve been a part of WWC you can’t imagine how complicated and how organized it is. (In the middle of the week I watched a couple of documentaries on D-Day’s 75th anniversary. The details involved in sending 5,500 ships loaded with thousands of soldiers, tanks, trucks, weapons, and food into battle is beyond my comprehension. I admit D-Day was a lot, lot more complex than a work camp – but the principle is the same.) To send out 13 work crews with all they need to paint 13 houses – and keep them supplied – is daunting. I’m sure there was a glitch here or there, but overall WWC is a pretty well-oiled machine.
#2 – It is an awesome thing to realize how many Northsiders are involved in making WWC happen. I know that other church groups send a few sponsors to work with the crews, but the infrastructure is overwhelmingly Northsiders. I saw folks I had no idea were WorkCampers. Most of them take a week’s vacation and burn lots of gas to make it a reality. (Cindy and I were on different crews and drove almost 500 miles in those five days.) It is no small sacrifice for most. Scouting and prepping houses weeks before, buying and organizing supplies, donating ladders, directing the crews, and serving almost 3,000 meals takes a whole bunch of people power. Northsiders are awesome!
#1 – It is a rewarding thing to work with a crew of teens for a week. Some of them are used to working and jump right in. Some don’t know which end of a paint brush to hold or have never been taught to work. But nearly all of them want to work and just need a little guidance. Providing that guidance and encouragement is gratifying. Generations are brought together for a week in a common cause – and lots of good comes from that.
If all you’ve done is read about WorkCamp in the bulletin (or sneak a burrito) maybe you should mark your calendar for next year and talk to Drew Lowrey about where you might fit in. You’ll be tired, but thoroughly delighted!