Teens experience different way of life through service project
July 28, 2011
BAMBERG, Germany -- Twenty-three years have passed since the overthrow of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu.
For many Romanians, they are still struggling with the ghosts of Ceauşescu's rule.
Club Beyond, a teen faith-based program of Military Community Youth Ministries, has been traveling to Romania to help its citizens since the mid 90's.
Sixteen high school students and about six community members from Bamberg and Schweinfurt spent a week in Romania this summer building a playground for an underprivileged school as part of their yearly service project.
"This is our first time being in Romania in around nine years or so," said Shea Morgan, Warner Barracks' Club Beyond and MCYM community director. "I've been on staff with Club Beyond for six years now but I have never been there. This was a new experience for me."
An experience that would not be an easy one, he said.
"Once you hit the suburbs, it kind of trailed off into squalor," Morgan said. "When we were there, big cities were doing pretty well but in the outlying area people are living in shacks and wearing the same clothes every day of the week."
Laura Reisinger, associate community director to Morgan, was surprised by how primitive the area was.
"We were told that our site was one of the better areas," Reisinger said. "It was just shocking because we were using 'squatty potties' in the back of school and there was no running water."
For the next week, Club Beyond teens simultaneously ran a vacation bible school and built a playground.
"I noticed that my girls came away just feeling like they could really make a difference," Reisinger said. "We built a playground in five days and we left it there for those kids for as long as it stands. Some of the kids didn't smile at the beginning of the week and by the end of the week they were crying that we were leaving. I think many teenagers get a message that they can't do anything significant because of their age or adults see them as lazy or selfish. For them to come away saying 'I did this for someone else and I made a difference for these people' and that is huge for those kids to take away."
Morgan also believes that lessons the teens learned on their trip were of great value.
"I think it is really important for our teens to experience other cultures. Especially cultures that are not as fortunate as ours and see that life outside of their narrow experience," Morgan said.
Club Beyond is non-denominational program for middle and high school teens of different faith backgrounds. Middle school Club Beyond meets every Thursday at 3 p.m. and high school meets everything Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
For more information on Club Beyond/Military Community Youth Ministries call Shea Morgan or Laura Reisinger at 0951-300-7063 or visit their facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Club-Beyond-Bamberg/370315760678.