F'ville: UCF teens 'REACH' out to strangers

UCF youth group helps fix houses through workcamp

A group of teenagers last month returned from an annual mission trip through REACH Workcamps.

The youth group, part of The United Church of Fayetteville, traveled to Lockport in Eastern Niagara County to work on more than 25 projects with Christian peers from across the country.

"Every neighbor [whose house they worked on] takes a risk letting a bunch of kids work on their home," said campers Lyn Watts and Anna Mpinga. "But they are all welcoming, gracious and thankful."

Youth groups are split into work crews divided from the friends with whom they arrived. In this way, it gives the kids a chance to meet new people and possibly widen their circle of friends.

"Overall, we found that the most lasting experiences we had at REACH were the connections that we formed with our neighbors and crews," said both Kaitlin Hines and Ellen Sweder. "We all went from complete strangers on Monday to being the best of friends by Friday."

Susie Spencer described her experience as unforgettable. Through shared stories and her own encounters, Spencer said she could feel God's presence the entire time.

"This week has taught me things about my faith that have made a big impact on my life," she said. "I'm glad I went."

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