Teen Reflections From Our
High School Mission Trip
June 17-24, 2017
Twin Cities, MN
On June 17-24, 26 high school teens and adult leaders from our parish participated in our annual mission trip. This year, we went to Minnesota and served in a variety of ways throughout the Twin Cities area. We partnered with an organization called Catholic Heart Workcamp and we truly enjoyed all the opportunities that they provided us to grow in faith, hope, and love.
My experience on the mission trip was absolutely amazing. During the week, my group and I worked at “SLAM,” a local elementary school’s summer program. At the school, we helped teach the kids and keep them on task, as well as playing with them at recess. I went into the week not knowing what to expect at the school. When we got there, all of the staff was very open to our help and the kids were super excited to see us. Even though we were only there for 4 days, the kids treated us like family. They drew us pictures, gave us hugs and always wanted to play. When it was time to go, all of the kids attacked us with hugs and asked when we would be back next and it almost brought me to tears. I had no idea that a group of 1st and 2nd graders could grow on me so fast. We may have helped teach them math and reading, but they taught me how to live with endless love, joy, compassion, and happiness.
This was my second mission trip and I had an amazing experience. We had Mass every morning and fun evening programs. The service work we did was very thoughtful and our residents were very appreciative and thankful for our work. This trip was so amazing especially the 4 corners prayer experience. I met so many new people and grew in already existing relationships. All the Catholic Heart Work Camp staff was full of energy and joy. All the SMG leaders were happy to be there and made it a great experience. Overall, this was the best week of my summer.
This was the second mission trip I have been on and I had an amazing experience. I met so many incredible people throughout the week and will never forget the relationships I formed with community members, my work crew, and others from SMG. This mission trip has had an unbelievable impact on my faith life. Not only did we spend the entire week serving people in the community, but we also had daily Mass in the morning and programs each night. The work I did this week has inspired me to continue to serve and volunteer more in my own community. Through songs, prayer, Adoration, and service, I feel more connected and involved in the Church than ever before.
This mission trip was a really great experience. I feel like I grew a lot closer to all the kids from SMG. Spending time together laughing, playing games, singing, and dancing helped us get to know each other and form relationships. I also really enjoyed getting to know kids from other parishes in my work crew. My work crew built a strong relationship since we had to work as a team to complete our service. We were working on our resident, Trudy’s, house. We cleaned and painted her dining room, bathroom, hallway, and one extra room. It was hard work, and frustrating at times, but I’m so glad and grateful we got to help Trudy. Once we finished, we walked around with her while she looked at our work. Trudy was so happy and so thankful towards us when she saw her “new” house. Seeing Trudy’s reaction was my favorite part of the whole mission trip. Knowing that we made a difference in her life and that she was happy with our work was the best feeling. I can’t wait to come back next year and continue to make a difference, make new friends, and grow in my faith.
This mission trip was very fun and was a great experience for me. Coming into this trip, I expected it to be, well, an experience. An experience, which I needed to have, but not one that would be a highlight of my summer. This trip has completely blown that assumption out of the water! If you told my past self that I would wake up every morning at 5:30 by choice, ride on the bus for 1 hour to my site and 1 hour back, work for 5 hours a day, go to Mass every morning and participate in long programs at night and have an AMAZING time, I’d think you were crazy! Somehow, this was everything I wanted in the mission trip and it was nothing like I expected. Our SMG guy group really bonded and we became a club/community as tight as they come. My work group also bonded really well. We worked at a food pantry in New Hope, MN.
I had such a great time at Catholic Heart Workcamp this week! I loved meeting other teenagers from around the Midwest. My work crew spent 1 day at Feed My Starving Children where we packaged food for kids in Haiti. We packaged enough food to feed over 140 kids for a whole year! The next 3 days, we were at an elderly woman’s home where we did a lot of yard work and painting. It was so rewarding to see how nice her house and yard looked when we were done. I also loved becoming closer with all the kids from SMG. I have made so many good friends that I am excited to see every week at church and Peer Ministry. I think that not bringing our phones on the mission trip was great because it helped us bond and form great friendships. Also, I grew in my faith so much this week. I loved being in a place where everyone loves God and is excited about their faith. I had a great experience with Adoration and loved singing worship songs. Thank you to SMG and the parishioners for making this mission trip possible. And a huge thank you to Becky, Fr. T, and the chaperones who made this experience possible by organizing it and coming on the mission trip!
I had a really fun and inspiring time on this Catholic Heart Workcamp mission trip. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was getting in to, but when we got there, I instantly knew I was going to have so much fun. The Catholic Heart Workcamp staff was so welcoming and so energetic. This mission trip really helped me grow in my faith. The CHWC program was set up so great to help strengthen our faith. From the Masses each morning, to the Adoration and four corners prayer experience at night, and the amazing worksites they had for us, it all brought me so much closer to Christ. I’m very happy I went on the mission trip, because I feel more complete than I did going into it.
I had such an amazing experience at this Catholic Heart Workcamp mission trip! The very first day I was a little overwhelmed with how many other kids were there and I just wished that the groups we would be working with would be all kids from SMG, because that way I knew I would be comfortable with my team. But I’m grateful now that comfort wasn’t the only priority on this mission trip. When we did find out our work groups, we sat down with them and got to know each other. It was a little awkward at first, but that’s to be expected. But after that night where we were kind of forced to interact with/talk to each other, I was eager to start spending more time with these great new people! Then we found out our jobs we would be doing for the week. My team, along with 2 other teams, was going to a school to help out with their summer program as well as to do some gardening. My team spent the first 2 days outside making the school garden/yard look nice by spreading mulch, removing weeds, trimming bushes, lining plants, and some other small jobs. The rest of the week, we were inside (and outside for recess) with the kids. I was in a class with the 1st graders. I helped them with spelling, crafts, reading, and writing. These kids had such amazing personalities. I loved how they instantly accepted and loved me and I was so sad to leave them at the end of the week. This experience has made me realize how much I love helping young underprivileged kids and I recommend that all teens go on this mission trip too. You will make great new friends, do some amazing work, and you will realize all the things you may take for granted in the comfort of your home and especially grow in your faith!
The 2017 mission trip is one that I will always remember as a big boost in my faith life. The new friendships I made, the friendly staff at Catholic Heart Workcamp, and the presence of Fr. Tafadzwa all helped make me feel closer to God. My small group (that consisted of people from the Chicago area and Michigan) worked at an organization called Bridging. They collect furniture donations and give them to people in need. We were assigned to load/unload trucks, fill in spaces with furniture, and even destroy some that were not up to Bridging’s standards. Every morning, we would have Mass, and every evening we had an evening program. The evening consisted of different events that included Adoration, team activities, and confession. I am really looking forward to what next year’s trip has in store.
Parishioners, thank you for this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in another community! This was my third mission trip and my third experience to get to know those in need. These mission trips allow our future generation to see things they may never have seen or done before. Through God’s grace, we were able to work on residents’ homes and in their schools, not only changing the physical aspects of these locations, but hopefully, the hearts of those we worked for also. On the trips, my faith has blossomed. Now, there is a need for service in my life. I’ve learned any service is possible because God will provide as we serve our brothers and sisters. Thank you again for supporting us in these experiences.
Dear Parishioners, First of all, I would like to say thank you so much for allowing us to go on such a meaningful trip. I have been going on mission trips three years now to meet new friends and to help those in need. Also, to become closer to God, and I can safely say that I accomplished all three of these goals. In addition, I did a few things that I hadn’t done in a while that I really enjoyed such as Adoration and going on a Rosary walk with my friends. I truly felt like we made a difference in this community.
Thank you to all of the people who prayed for us during our mission trip to the Twin Cities. We all enjoyed our time a lot and will have many stories to tell for the rest of our lives. Some of the things that we did this week, besides serving others were, we had Adoration and Reconciliation, we sang Christian songs, and had some other different prayer experiences. My favorite parts this week were singing songs that I listen to every day on the radio, with everyone in the whole trip and doing one of the prayer experiences that we went through called 4 corners. This experience helped me grow in my faith as well as others that I have talked to. I want to thank you again for all that you have done for us as we continue on our faith journey that started this week through Catholic Heart Workcamp.
The overall experience was awesome. There was a lot of praying and church time, so it was nice to have fun parts too! I loved serving and working and getting to be with other parishes. The friends I made were amazing! The food was great too!
Catholic Heart Workcamp was quite the experience to say the least. It’s one of those things where it’s easier to experience it than to explain. I am so beyond blessed to have had the chance to strengthen my faith and serve the communities in and around Victoria, MN. I would 100% go back and do it all over again. I strengthened my relationship with my friends, but most importantly God. Through Adoration, daily Mass, and 4 corners, I learned that God is love and it’s your choice whether or not you accept it and spread it to others. I chose to accept his love and take it back with me to Madison.
I met amazing kids who come from lower income families and I’d like to think we brought them some joy this week. The CHWC staff was always friendly and it was very well organized. I also met some amazing people who were teaching at the school we were serving at. We worked with kids in the classroom, ate lunch with them, and played with them at recess. I am so grateful I was able to serve this week and I can’t wait for next year’s mission trip!
It was really awesome getting to know the people there. It was fun to get to serve and to know the people I served with and worked for.
I had a great first time! It was a great experience and I would love to go back and do it again. CHWC was a great loving place with a very energetic and loving community. I had a great time because of everyone who had such an amazing loving energy with them that made me so happy to be there. I was nervous about coming and I didn’t know what to expect. Now, I want even more time with our SMG family and want to continue getting to know our group.
This week at Catholic Heart Workcamp was truly a formative experience for me. Having never been on a mission trip before, I didn’t know what to expect. I was happily surprised when everyone was incredibly open, fun, and kind. The boys that I was sharing a room with quickly began to bond and form a tight group. All of the staff was always upbeat, positive, and encouraging. On my work site, I had the chance to do work that would genuinely help improve the life of the resident, Dennis, who we were serving. On my work site, I also had the opportunity to connect with people from other parishes that I never would have met otherwise, with whom I hope to stay in touch with for a long time to come. The accommodations, programs, and Masses provided went far above my expectations. Adoration, which we celebrated on the third night at camp was, almost without a doubt, the most powerful religious experience of my entire life. The only drawback was that program often ran so long that I was often too tired for reflection. On the whole, the CHWC staff provided an amazing experience that which I encourage everyone to participate in at one point or another. I want to thank my family, the other SMG teens, and all the SMG parishioners for supporting us in this endeavor.
This was my second mission trip and I am so thankful that we have this amazing opportunity to grow in faith and service at SMG. Throughout the week, I had the chance to connect with so many inspiring people and form relationships that I know I will always have. Hearing stories from the residents I served this week reminded me how many blessings I have and everything made me feel even more grateful for everything I have been given. The conversations I had this week and the unique prayer experiences allowed me to grow my faith in ways I never would have thought possible. I know that I will never forget the lessons I learned and experiences I had. I am so thankful for all of the support and prayers we have received from everyone in the parish. This trip would not have been possible without them.
This was my second mission trip and both were very meaningful in different ways. This year, we went with a larger organization, which was wonderful for meeting people from other parishes in different states. These newfound relationships were helpful in growing not only in my faith, but as a person. I learned to appreciate my own abilities and my unique characteristics by appreciating others’ skills and personalities. This experience helped remind me that I’m never done growing as a person and in my faith. I thank everyone in my parish for supporting us in going to the Twin Cities with Catholic Heart Workcamp. It shows us that God loves us all and that we all have him within us and need to bless each other with our gifts to spread God’s love.
My experience on the mission trip was outstanding. Trying the new program, Catholic Heart Workcamp, was cool. The community was great. Having daily Mass and all of the extras like Adoration and Confession were great. Surprisingly, the food was good and showers not bad. The best part about Catholic Heart Workcamp was how energetic the community was, not being afraid to be yourself and to sing as loud as possible. One thing that CHWC did well was focus on one topic and our topic for this week was being rooted in faith. It was not the only topic we talked about, but it was a very used topic to explain our faith. It was said that coming on the mission trip was the easy part. But doing service and spending your time to help others was the hard part. I was in one of three groups to go to a Catholic school called St. Peter Claver. The school was old and was going to be torn down. I painted an office, hallways, and bathrooms. The groups we went with were fun. I was in a group where I did not know anybody, so we were forced to meet new people. CHWC was an awesome experience.
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