What comes to mind when you hear "Summer vacation?" Tropical temperatures, exotic locations, new food and different cultures?
Those are the sorts of things Kristen Hudson and her son, Patrick, 14, will experience in July when they travel to El Salvador... but their trip is not exactly a vacation.
The mother-son team will join four others -- two adults and two youths -- on a mission trip to the South American country where they will spend 14 days doing, well, whatever needs to be done. The group will spend their time at a sister church of St. John's in Marcellus, where the Hudsons are parishioners, and they may be helping with anything from helping move bricks to planting trees and will help introduce a vacation bible school to the local parishioners.
The idea of traveling to El Salvador came during a church convention Patrick attended last November. He said by the time the weekend convention ended he knew he wanted to participate in a mission to the country.
"I thought, 'if he's going, I'm going,'" Kristen laughed.
For Kristen, a second-grade teacher at Onondaga Road School, the trip will offer a glimpse of how children in a much different setting are schooled.
"For me it will be very interesting to see the educational system," she said.
One aspect of the trip that struck her was that any supplies the group might need, like school supplies, they would have to bring with them.
"Whatever you need, you take with you," Kristen added. "We just take for granted the glue, paper and pens -- and a lot of these schools are open to the outdoors. It just blows my mind."
Patrick, who has never been out of the country, said he was prepared to see a very different lifestyle from his own.