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Camp participants take part in Habitat project

Jun. 18, 2013 @ 09:24 PM

ONA -- Summer camps can be places were kids are built up, whether it's athletics, academics or spiritual matters. But the high school camp at Howell's Mill Christian Assembly in Ona also wanted its kids to build up other people as well.

Last week, 90 high school students from throughout the region spent a week at the Christian camp playing paintball and participating in other fun activities. They also worked with the Greenup County Habitat for Humanity team to build the walls for an 1,100-square-foot house for a grandmother who is raising her three grandchildren.

"Yes, you are here to find what God wants for you, but also to build out," said Tracy Tooley, lead minister at reGeneration Church who has served as a camp dean for a number of years. "We were thinking, how can we literally make the love of God tangible."

Tim Yankey, the director of the camp and overseer of the property, said in past years, service has always been a big part of the lessons kids learn. But too many times, it's been simply talking around campfires.

"It's one thing to sit down and talk about service, but when it's tangible, it is much more meaningful," Yankey said.

The Habitat team, through Crossroads Missions in Kentucky, brought all the materials needed to build the floor and walls, 63 in all. After students raised the walls Thursday, they wrote their favorite scripture verses as a way to encourage the new family and the folks who will finish the house. It was transported by trailer to its permanent site in Greenup County.

The project made the camp much more impactful, said two 15-year-old boys who have attended for the past few years.

"It feels good to be a part of something that changed someone's life," said Cameron Armstrong, who lives near Cincinnati, Ohio. "It's a little bit of hard work but it feels great knowing it is going to someone who needs it."

Tanner Sexton of Ashland added that working on the house helped build relationships among campers.

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