Chenango Rivers Workcamp Teaches Valuable Lessons

By: Jill Kraft

NEW BERLIN – Hopefully the 400 students camping out at Unadilla Valley school for the past week have learned the value of community service before they head home Saturday, directors say.

The Chenango Rivers Workcamp provides local homeowners a chance to have work done at no cost for materials or labor. Group Workcamps Foundation of Colorado, which supervises the program, along with the Chenango Housing Council, joined forces to raise money to host the camp.

Campers arrived July 13 from various churches from all over the United States to volunteer their time. Each person also paid $420 to attend the week-long program.

While here, 66 crews worked on 60 to 70 homes in and around Chenango County.

“It is like restoring hope to the hopeless and joy to the joyless,” said Camp Director John Foulton from North Carolina.

Foulton said it took two years to set up the Chenango County camp, headquartered in New Berlin. It is one of 116 that will be running this year throughout the country.

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A non-denominational program, Foulton said the camp is meant to provide “spiritual growth” to all campers.

“We provide a morning and evening program each day for them,” said the director.

Each camper has an envelope in which others can leave them positive messages, and there is a place where they can share their thoughts. There’s even an area where e-mails sent from home are displayed.

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