Church youth group helps Vinton County families during annual service retreat
By Paul McManis
Commoner Journal staff writer
McARTHUR – A Creola resident who recently lost his leg in a motorcycle accident was among the recipients of a New Albany youth group’s annual service project.
The Gospel Road Service Retreat, from the Columbus-area Church of the Resurrection, brought nearly 60 middle- and high-school-aged students to Vinton County to work on nine projects that will improve the quality of life for residents.
This is the third year the youth group has visited Vinton County. St. Francis Center in McArthur selected the families needing help with projects.
The projects consisted of mostly outdoor projects and were completed entirely by the youth crews, who were trained by team leaders and assisted by young adult site runners.
“We have a lot of skill in our group and a lot of heart,” Youth Minister Katy Bee-Wyatt said.
Bee-Wyatt said the projects are funded entirely by donations collected by the group, and the materials used to complete the projects were purchased at Jerry’s Do It Center in Wellston.
One of this year’s projects was constructing a wheelchair ramp at the home of Phil Martin, who lost his leg after his motorcycle was struck by a vehicle.
Martin has been hospitalized since the crash, which occurred at the intersections of West Main and Pearl streets in McArthur on May 5.
Martin’s daughter, Lindsey White, said her father is doing well and is expected to return home soon.
Bee-Wyatt said the work completed by the group teaches the youth and prepares them to be of service to others in the future. She said the interaction with the families they help is both rewarding and motivating to the youth.
“The whole point of the trip is to help from their hearts, for service,” Bee-Wyatt said. “After this week, it’ll become part of who they are.
“We get more out of it than we give,” she said. “We meet these amazing people who are so grateful and we’re having a great time.”
The group used to spend its service retreat weeks in Kentucky. Bee-Wyatt said the group started coming to Vinton County a few years ago after the church decided to help out a closer neighbor.
During all three visits, the group has spent its time at the Vinton County Junior Fairgrounds.
Bee-Wyatt said it was a welcome change for the youth and she said the group has been pleased with the fairgrounds because the space they use provides the exact amenities needed for the group during its stay.
“This is the perfect staging area for us. There isn’t anything we need that we don’t have here,” Bee-Wyatt said. “It’s just perfect and it’s beautiful.”
Bee-Wyatt said that although only about 60 people attended the retreat, close to 200 people helped make the retreat possible. She said it was the generosity of those people who make these retreats possible and remind her of the goodness of human kind.
Bee-Wyatt said the Church of the Resurrection has about 2,000 families and has about 200 middle- and high school-age students.
She said to get young people involved, the church simply puts the word out about the retreat and asks anyone interested to sign up. This year, she said the group that signed up was a little larger than normal. She said she is glad to share an experience that reaches out to others in the world outside of their own town.
“This empowers us,” Bee-Wyatt said. “I don’t have to be dragged down by how the world is. We are changing the world.”