• Aaron McGowan, 8, from the elementary school on U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, shows how to effectively harvest grapes during an off-post volunteer event set up by the installation's chaplain office.

    Helping out at Italian harvest time

    Aaron McGowan, 8, from the elementary school on U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, shows how to effectively harvest grapes during an off-post volunteer event set up by the installation's chaplain office.

  • Youth with Camp Darby's Club Beyond from U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, ride the wagon down to a wine press.  They helped harvest grapes in a vineyard near Livorno.

    Helping out at Italian harvest time

    Youth with Camp Darby's Club Beyond from U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, ride the wagon down to a wine press. They helped harvest grapes in a vineyard near Livorno.

  • Erin Laverenz, 11, from the middle school on U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, hauls vineyard grapes to a nearby wagon during a Camp Darby Club Beyond volunteer event

    Helping out at Italian harvest time

    Erin Laverenz, 11, from the middle school on U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, hauls vineyard grapes to a nearby wagon during a Camp Darby Club Beyond volunteer event

LIVORNO, Italy - Under a gentle Tuscan sun, adults and youth from Camp Darby's Club Beyond worked from dawn to dusk harvesting vineyard grapes.

According to Chaplain (Capt.) Kelly Porter, from U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, Italy, it was a chance for the youth to put their faith into action while helping a family without the resources to harvest all of their grapes.

"I think the kids understand a lot of lessons from an agrarian culture that they wouldn't get from living in a city or town," said Porter. "They learned from the owner about dependence on land and weather; those lessons are closely tied to our dependence on God.

"In the Bible, both wine and vineyards are prominent symbols, so there are a lot of analogies for spiritual lessons; seeing that in person made a lot more sense to the youth and volunteers."

During a traditional lunch of salami, bread and oil, and pasta, the group learned about planting, harvesting and maintaining the vineyard.

Porter believes the role in helping others taught the youth "no matter where you go in the world, people are the same - working for a living and supporting their families."

"It's easy to lump people into groups and say 'Oh I don't like that group,' but on an individual basis we're all struggling," said Porter. "It wasn't easy to work out in the sun all day. But when the last grape was cut, everyone felt a closer connection to the land and the people who work it."

Page last updated Mon November 3rd, 2008 at 07:14