Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Green Team Does Service Work in Chicago Area

Last May, the Green Team and I (Jason Speegle) went on a service trip to Chicago and I wanted to tell you about the amazing camp where we stayed and worked. The name of the camp is Riverwoods Christian Center. During the summer, the camp works primarily with underprivileged children and teens in their area. The camp is beautiful with 80+ acres of cabins, trails and play areas set on the banks of the Fox River in St. Charles, IL.

We worked 4 ½ days at the camp. Work done while at the camp: a lot of woodworking, building bunk beds for newly constructed dorms and we worked on building a door to create a ventilation system for the workshop. We spent time pulling weeds, picking up loose tree branches and litter, weed eating, landscaping and planting bushes.

The purpose of this trip was to serve the Riverwoods Center. We were willing to do whatever they needed us to do in order to help them prepare for their upcoming camping season. We worked hard and our students not only accomplished a lot, but I think they really learned a lot as well. Working at Riverwoods definitely fit right in with our mission of "responsible citizenship in the area of sustainability." Riverwoods works with the economically stressed in their community, helping them create a sustainable future for themselves. The camp got us involved with nature and the beds that we were building were being fashioned out of the oak trees grown on Riverwoods campus.

We also had some fun and did some sightseeing. We visited the Art Institute of Chicago, Buckingham Fountain, and the Shedd Aquarium. Riverwoods is located about 40 miles west of Chicago, so we had to take an hour train ride into the City each time we went. We also had an opportunity to attend the Chicago Green Festival. There were a lot of vendors, speakers and exhibitions. It was a great opportunity to see what is going on in the green industry.

I do my best to expose the students on the Green Team to different cultures and different ideas in the area of sustainability. Working at Riverwoods, visiting Chicago and attending the Green Festival definitely allowed us to experience a world very different than Winfield, KS.

Here is some information from their website (

Riverwoods seeks to share the love of Christ with youth and families in economically-stressed areas of the Fox River Valley. In 2010, Riverwoods welcomed more than 1,000 youth to summer camp for a time of hiking, biking, canoeing, Bible lessons, nature walks, games, relationship-building, crafts, singing, swimming, dancing and much more.  We hope to build on that in 2011 by welcoming more youth than ever before.

When summer ends, the ministry of Riverwoods is just beginning.  Full-time staff members called Community Coordinators serve our communities by partnering with local churches to provide a variety of discipleship programs – from youth nights and open gyms to Bible studies and mentoring – all right in the communities.

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