St. Alphonsus Summer
Week-Long Service Immersion for Teens
July 10-16, 2016
Applications Due Tuesday May 31 at noon
Young People Who Care (YPWC) is a rural Catholic Mission in Frenchville, PA. It was founded in 1976 by a group of recently graduated High School Students and their youth minister, Sr. Therese Dush. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this summer, YPWC has been a center of prayer and outreach to the surrounding community.
The three religious sisters who now live there and carry on the mission of YPWC and all year round live a life of service, prayer, simplicity and community. During the summer they invite hundreds of high school students, over the course of five or six weeks, to come and share their mission and way of life.
This program is primarily for high school students from St. Alphonsus. High School participants must, by July 10 2016, be at least 16 years old and have finished their sophomore year. Those who are just coming out of there junior and senior year are also welcome. Members of St. Alphonsus will be given priority; however, if there is room available, students from other Catholic parishes will be welcome. We have places for a maximum of 15 students.
There is also a need for adults (24 years or older) to accompany the group. We need 2 male adults and 2 female adults. Each adult must be able to bring a reliable car/suv. Adults fully participate in the program and also serve as chaperones and leaders of the group.
All participants must be in good health and able to keep a very full schedule of inside and outdoor activity.
The cost for each participant is $250. There are scholarships available, so please do not let cost keep you from participating.
Each day is infused with prayer. What makes this more than a work week is that prayer and our faith in Jesus Christ is central to everything we do. We begin and end each day with prayer as well as take time to say grace before and after our meals. We will celebrate mass as a community once during the week.
Morning prayers are put together by volunteers who spend the whole summer facilitating the Summer Program and these prayers also have an educational component in which we consider the Social Justice Teachings of the Church.
Every participant will have an opportunity to take part as a member of a group that assists with planning and leading our Evening Prayer.
No one participates as only an individual. A great deal of effort goes into forming a community of faith for the week. We will likely be joined by other groups of young people from around the country. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and become friends with a wide variety of people.
Our prayer is one way that we live and grow as community. Each participant will have the opportunity to remain at the Center for one day with others of the group. They will cook the meals and prepare the snack. They will, with helpful guidance, plan and lead our Evening Prayer. They will take care of the daily chores and clean the buildings. All of this is done to care for the other members of the Community.
There are many reasons that the Community of Anawim have embraced a life of simplicity and that we, as participants, also join them in this way of life. Simplicity is a way of expressing our reliance on, and trust in, Jesus Christ to provide for us.
It is also a way of voluntarily embracing a life of poverty that mirrors the poverty of those who are living in poverty because circumstances have required it of them. Simplicity is a way of living in solidarity and community with others.
Some forms it takes while we are there include not using our electronic devices. We do not use our phones, mp3 players, tablets, etc. This allows us to be present to the people with whom we are forming community. We either leave them home or we collect them to be given back at the end of the week.
We also eat very simply. Meals are delicious and filling. We compost table scraps and burn our paper trash.
Our lunches are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with fruit and carrots.
Water is a precious and limited resource at YPWC. It has a well that produces fresh and cool water. However, with extra volunteers like our selves there all summer long, the well would soon run dry if we used water like most of us are used to using it at home. So, we do not, for example, let the water run while we brush our teeth. Each participant gets one shower during the week. For the other days, we bring our biodegradable soaps and shampoos and take a swim in the nearby Susquehanna’s West Branch.
While we do have a snack together each evening, we refrain from any and all junk food and soda. With limited resources, many families have to make a choice between healthy and junk foods. With our limited resources during the week, we choose to model healthy meals and snacks.
Another aspect of simplicity is what is known as Quiet Hour. For one full hour every day, usually after supper, every participant spends an hour in silence. During that time one might journal, pray, nap, read, write letters, etc. Weather permitting, there are many places outside to sit and be alone for an hour. This is a time to unwind. Community can be exhausting and many people need alone time to recharge. The Quiet Hour is an important part of our day.
The prayer, community living, and simplicity are all to support our direct service to the poor. An important thing to realize is that there are many kinds of poverty. There is, of course, a monetary poverty. Some are poor because their children have all moved out of state to find work. Some are poor because they are getting older and cannot keep their house as clean as they wish. Some are poor because their time and energy are consumed as they care for a sick child or parent. Some have the poverty of simply being lonely. We will each see poverty during our time at YPWC, but it will often be a kind of poverty that we don’t hear about as often.
Each day, participants are assigned as members of a group with a specific service opportunity for that day. Many homes or locations where we will serve are a half hour to forty-five minute drive from the center where we live for the week. Just some of the service opportunities may include
Visiting a person in their home.
Light home repairs
Building/repairing steps, porch, wheel chair ramps, and the like.