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Help church find homes for repair project

Mount Zion United Church of Christ needs the community’s help in identifying homes for a Group Workcamp planned next summer.
Group Workcamp will run June 24-30, 2012, and it encourages youth — about 450 teenagers are expected to participate — to grow stronger in Christ as they spend the week performing home repairs.
The youth, 14 to 20, will eat together, worship together and spend their nights at South Rowan High, while repairing homes in the area during the day.
Bill Bullard, a member of the church committee putting the project together, said it is in desperate need of more houses. “We have a few applications from 2010 that we did not get to do, but we need more sites for the kids to work on,” he said.
The committee would like to have 60 to 80 houses for the Workcamp program.
Workcamp crews fan out to selected homes to make repairs and improvements such as painting (inside and out); building or repairing steps, decks and porches; constructing wheelchair ramps; and repairing roofs.
“It’s basically light fixing up,” Bullard said.
It doesn’t cost the homeowners anything. “We need to find houses and make sure they meet our criteria,” Bullard said.
Priority will go to low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners.
Organizers would prefer houses in the southern Rowan area, but crews will be able to cover the county and even go into Kannapolis if needed, Bullard said.
“It’s more than just getting the houses done,” he said. “The kids spend time with the homeowners, and it’s a good thing for all the people involved.”
Kids are coming from up and down the East Coast, besides local youth groups which are participating. The youth do not have to belong to any specific religious denomination, or any church at all.
Bullard said Mount Zion youth groups have been participating in the Group Workcamps for about 22 years. This is the second time the church has been the camp headquarters for a week. It also was host in 2010.
“We have decided to jump off the deep end again,” he said. “We had such a great time in 2010 that we wanted to host it again and help more people in our community”
Kim Hodges, former youth director at Mount Zion United Church of Christ in China Grove and now at Duke Divinity School, was instrumental in helping the national program come to Rowan County in 2010 and again in 2012.
Mount Zion is the official sponsor for the camp, but others participating include First United Church of Christ in Salisbury, CHAOS Lutheran Youth Group and First Reformed Church in Landis.
The youth fee for the China Grove camp is $424, which includes all meals, lodging, construction materials and supplies. Churches also have been conducting fundraisers to go toward materials.
Through Group Workcamps, nearly 300,000 teenagers and adults have helped more than 50,000 families across North America since 1977.
Go to http://www.twinmaps.com/Site_des/120893-group-work-camp and click on “Group Work Camp” under videos to watch a short video about the 2010 work camp in Rowan County.
Homeowners wanting to apply as a Workcamp house should contact the church office, 704-857-1169.
Youth can register for the camp online at www.group workcamps.com.
If you would like to donate either your time or money to support Mount Zion’s project, call 704-857-1169.
Donation checks should be made out to Mount Zion UCC-National Workcamp and sent to Mount Zion UCC, P.O. Box 1298, China Grove, NC 28023.

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