Group Workcamps to Come to Together to Help Residents of Port Jervis This WeekJun 27th, 2012 | By HV Insider | Category: Featured Articles
As many as 70 local residents will benefit from the work of more than 400 adult and teenage volunteers at the River City Group Workcamp which takes place this week in the City of Port Jervis. The River City Workcamp provides free home repairs through the Group Cares mission program, which is sponsored locally by the Port Jervis Community Development Agency (PJCDA). Group Cares is a non-profit, interdenominational Christian volunteer home-repair organization headquartered in Loveland, Colorado. This summer, an anticipated 25,000 young people and adults will participate in more than 43 Workcamps in communities across the United States and Canada.
At each Workcamp, teenagers and adults –all members of church youth groups—volunteer a week of their time to repair homes throughout the community. “This year’s program is our largest and most successful yet, with 409 volunteers serving 70 Port Jervis families: “said Russell R. Potter, Port Jervis Mayor. The city of Port Jervis hosted two other Group Workcamps in 2007 and 2009. According to Kathleen Hendrickson, Director of the Port Jervis Community Development Agency, the 2012 River City Group Workcamp represents approximately 15,000 hours of volunteer labor worth at least $100,000 to the community.
“These are truly remarkable young people”, said Robert Ritchie, Chairman of PJCDA. “Each one of them is actually paying for the privilege of working in our community and we are honored to have them as our guests for the entire week.”
Workcamp registration fees, paid by the youth volunteers, are used to cover the costs of food, insurance, and building materials. PJCDA shares in the cost of work materials for the home repairs. The Port Jervis Community Development Agency is a quasi-public agency designated by the city of Port Jervis as the local administrator of federal, state and local funds for housing rehabilitation, public improvements, and economic development programs for the creation of jobs and commercial revitalization for the preservation of local commerce and industry. Valuable programs, such as the Group Workcamps, fulfill the PJCDA’s mission of community development and public service.
The River City Workcamp is housed at Delaware Valley Schools, with Workcampers sleeping on classroom floors, eating in the cafeteria, and enjoying evening programs in the gym. Group Workcamps will reimburse all costs to the lodging facility “This service to the community would not be possible without the wonderful cooperation of the Delaware Valley School system,” remarked Bill Lock, Camp Director for the River City Group Workcamp. “It is so inspiring to see how many people have opened their homes and their hearts to our volunteer youth”, states Bill Lock.
The idea behind the Workcamps started in Colorado in 1977 when residents suffered from the Big Thompson River flood in which hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed and over 140 people lost their lives. Church youth groups of many different denominations came from across the country the next summer to help. In 1978, the program went nationwide to include other areas throughout the country. This summer’s 43 Workcamps will take place in many different states, including but not limited to Florida, Virginia, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Tennessee, and Minnesota. Many workcamps will also take place internationally. Now in its 35th year of service, Group Workcamps has hosted over 235,000 volunteers who have improved over 35,000 homes across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
“We are so fortunate to have these young people as volunteers in our city to provide vital services to local homeowners in need,” said Mayor Potter, “and we look forward to supporting this program for many years to come”.
Repairs offered through the River City Workcamp include interior and exterior painting, weatherization, porch and wheelchair ramp construction, and other minor work and repairs that can be handled by the youth volunteers with adult supervision. Since its inception in 2007, the Port Jervis River City Workcamp has repaired 170 homes in the city of Port Jervis and is the only Group Workcamp that exists in Orange County, New York and the entire Hudson Valley.