GREENVILLE — About 450 youths from all over the United States have come to Greenville to lend a hand to area residents in need.
The Flat River II Workcamp has hit the ground running in Greenville, sending eager youths all around the area painting, building stairs, constructing ramps and more.
“Everything is good and coming together nicely,” said Claude Johnson, youth group leader.
Greenville was chosen to co-sponsor the workcamp after participating in an application process and training seminars. Johnson said they had to take classes and visit other workcamps to see what it takes to co-sponsor one. Once Greenville became a co-sponsor, the Flat River II committee was formed and they held an application process to find residents that needed help.
Johnson said about 60 residents were chosen to receive help from the youth, with some residents needing multiple projects done.
“It’s a good thing to do and help others,” said Brionna Minx, 14, of Illinois, of why she participated in the work camp.
Minx, along with four other youths, worked at the Garvey residence in Greenville, patching holes, spackling, painting and building stairs.
“We have a really nice group here,” said Lois Garvey. “They are really pleasant and I feel good about having them in the house.”
Garvey said she watched as the youths started the project at her home, with each one giving opinions and them working together to get the job done.
In Belding, another workgroup worked hard to scrape and repaint a home on Alderman Street. Cedar Springs resident Julie Schut, who scraped old paint from the home on Tuesday, said she participated in the workcamp for the first time to help other people.
“It’s been really great,” she said. “You learn a lot about the resident, yourself and others.”
Schut’s group member Colin McManus, 15, of Connecticut, participated in a workcamp last year in West Virginia. Not only does McManus enjoy the general labor of the projects, but he also enjoys meeting the residents.
“You make friends with the crew as well as the resident,” McManus said.
Because of the amount of youths who attend the workcamp, it is very rare for friends or siblings who participate to be in the same crew let alone being work directors at the same location. However, that experience happened at the Reeves residence in Greenville.
Hannah Segar, 20, and Ryan Segar, 16, of Connecticut, were work directors as both of their crews worked on the Reeves home Tuesday. The Segars led their two crews in many projects including painting, both inside and outside of the home, and fixing steps on the porch.
“This is a great bunch of kids,” said Cat Phillips, who lives at the Reeves residence. “They have been super and polite.”
Alice Reeves said she set up her garage for them to have a place to rest, eat and cool off as they work. She has supplied water and some snacks for them to enjoy.
“They have been wonderful to me, and done what they have been asked,” she said.
Reeves said she bought the home three years ago and it needed a lot of work.
“This is a great learning experience for them,” Reeves said.
The students will be working in the area throughout the rest of this week.