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Mission trip youths help others, grow themselves

Ten young people from First Congregational Church in Glencoe went away in June to help others, and came back as better people themselves.
The youths went to Kansas City, Kansas, June 25 to June 30, an area that included a wide diversity of people, in terms of both economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Kansas City spans the border of two counties.
“One of the counties is the poorest in the state, and it is right next to the wealthiest in the state,” said the Rev. Michael Fritz, who chaperoned the trip with Pam Gould.
The youth who participated were A.J. Jungclaus, Devon Forcier, Nathan Warner, Kayla Salmela, Dylan Dahlke, Maren Warner, Desiree Richardson, Jacob Paul, Bryanna Paul and Rebecca Forcier. Six of those participated in the church’s first-ever youth mission trip last year.
“It’s a growing program,” said Fritz. When the youths came back after the 2016 trip, they organized and presented a Mission Sunday worship service. Sharing their experiences inspired other young folks to join the trip this year.
Fritz said the mission trip is organized through Youthworks Mission Trips. Youthworks already has the program set up, and as each new group arrives, “they just plug you in where you’re needed,” said Fritz.
The mission had a two-track focus. Students provided both child care and helped out in the community, house painting, cleaning up food pantries and other work.
“It gets the kids out of their comfort zone,” said Fritz of the multi-cultural diversity. “They learn how to approach someone and offer help in a meaningful way. It changes how they interact with other people. And they bring those skills back home and put them to use in their own community.”
For more about the mission trip, see the Aug. 2 print edition of The Chronicle.