A force for good--Youth Force makes first Frederick stop
Youth Force converged on heat-baked Frederick in June. And in the battle of 100-degree weather versus a mob of United Methodist teens overflowing with goodwill, it should come as no surprise that the teens came out on top in southwestern Oklahoma.
On June 19-24, Frederick-First UMC hosted more than 100 teens and adult volunteers from UM churches around the state. Grouped into seven God Squads, they re-roofed five homes and replaced siding on two of the homes.
Other Youth Forces took on mission projects in six other cities this summer. A total of 828 volunteers—652 of them were youths—extended hands and hearts to do home repairs.
The other host churches were Victory Memorial UMC in Guymon, Goodrich in Norman, Lost Creek, Perkins, and Claremore-First; Oklahoma City University hosted those serving in the capital city.
Ann Clayton, the Frederick church’s youth pastor, led the way for Youth Force’s first-ever mission in Frederick.
"I’m thrilled that Youth Force came. It was a blessing to the church and community, and a blessing to those youth," she said.
"What I loved the most was how our church embraced the opportunity (to host). They are already talking about hosting next year’s event."
"We weren’t really looking, so to speak, for help, but I almost cried," Melissa Rogers told reporter Zeke Campfield of The Lawton Constitution as she stood in her yard with 10-year-old son Avery.
The Rogers—mom, dad, and three children—live on North 14th Street. Their home was falling apart. Gaps were visible in exterior walls. Boards substituted for siding where bay windows had been replaced with smaller ones. Tar paper covered a hole where an addition to the house had been taken down because of cracking.
"All the weather, everything comes in. If it rained a certain way, it’d come right through the cracks," Rogers said. "And this house was built in 1902. During the heat of summer it’s not uncommon for our bills to be $400 (monthly) just to cool it."
Some worksites were recommended by Community Action Development Corporation, which coordinates winterization and energy efficiency programs in the region. Clayton said the church also worked with the city and chamber of commerce.
Clayton said, "They might be disabled or they might not have family around to help them. We have some senior citizens, but we also have some that are younger and they’re working to make life better for themselves and their families, so we want to help them along with that."
At the Rogers’ home, Alex Sigman of Tecumseh spent most of one day carrying pieces of plastic siding up a ladder, pausing occasionally to whip out a tape measure and do some cutting. This was the 14-year-old’s first mission with Youth Force, and he’s looked forward to it for years.
"I always thought it was good, but my parents wanted me to wait a while to go," he said. "I thought it was really good to come and help these people with their houses. They work so hard that they deserve to be given a reward."
(Contributing writers: Frederick Pastor Eric Snyder and Zeke Campfield of The Lawton Constitution)