Communication Builds Our Community

Youth Grow Spiritually While Serving Community

Care Center's Stay at Home Work Camp Celebrated 35th Anniversary

If you drove through Lake Wales neighborhoods this summer, you may have seen them at work - dozens of young people painting, roofing, cleaning – serving their community.

Local youth have undergone a lot of changes this year, but it seems nothing can stop them from coming together

with caring hearts and working hands for Lake Wales Care Center's annual Stay-At-Home Work Camp (SAHWC).

With modest beginnings in 1985, SAHWC started with a handful of individuals completing yard work for their neighbors. Over the years, this Lake Wales Care Center program and grown into a local summer staple valued and supported by youth, leaders, churches, schools, and community organizations alike. Camp goals focus on providing repair services to disadvantaged homeowners, increasing awareness of community need in young people, and facilitating personal and spiritual growth.

This summer marked the camp's 35th anniversary! The year's theme was 20/20 Vision, based on the scriptures found in Romans 8.

Students were challenged to develop spiritually, while spending the days working together to complete repair projects. Due to the public health concerns, camp sizes were reduced and precautions put in place. Thankfully, we were still able to host over 100 middle and high school students.

Even with smaller groups, campers completed six paint projects, four roof projects, and several additional community need projects. A lot may be changing in the world, but one thing remains true – this community CARES!

One parent asked, "Why would any kid want to pay money to go to a camp where they give up a week or three of their summer, stay in their hometown and do manual labor?" Good question, why would they?

But I think Anna Johnson, a senior at Lake Wales High School sums it up pretty well, "We come together as a community to serve those who have fallen on hard times and we do it all in the name of the Lord. He provides us our strength because it isn't easy working on a roof in the summer in Florida."

Anna has served her community through SAHWC since she was in junior high school and looks forward to the summer and service but the summer is not the only time the youth have an opportunity to sacrifice their time for the good of others. There is also Thanksliving Camp which provides a shorter camp over the fall school holiday.

I am so happy to live in a community with such a bright shining beacon of hope like the Care Center. The leadership of the Care Center has time and time again answered the call to serve in so many ways with programs and their thrift stores.

If you are in need at this time or would like to volunteer through one of their many programs, please contact the Lake Wales Care Center 863-676-6678 or go to their website

My name is Terri Miller. If you would like to contact me about a story or idea, please do not hesitate to email me: [email protected]


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