“Oh!” Liz says, smiling knowingly. A resident of Concordia Village’s assisted living apartments, Liz knows more about the game of Monopoly than she’s letting on. But there’s just something about the enthusiasm of a sixth grader who’s eager to please.
Which is why Liz and her fellow residents are so happy to have Jack and his fellow “mission campers” on campus. The team of six middle schoolers from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, arrived on campus earlier this week as part of “Just Five Days,” a nationwide outreach camp set up by the Catholic Center for Ministry Development.
The Concordia Village team is just one of several in Springfield this summer, comprising some 55 students engaged in service. Their goal — to spend “Just Five Days” learning to be servant leaders.
“We’re here to serve,” says Steve Weigand, the trip’s coordinator and director of youth ministry for Oshkosh’s St. Raphael’s Catholic Church. “The kids are learning about different levels of senior living, how to work with and serve seniors, and really, to have a good time with the residents.”
And so far, mission accomplished. The campers serve residents in their dining rooms, play games with them in the activity room, and generally help the seniors keep a fresh outlook on life. Determined to leave the community better than they found it, the kids are in the middle of building a standing flower garden for the assisted living residents.
“I really like it,” says Kasey Olson, an eighth grader on her first mission trip. “It’s all about learning to help people. I’d love to do it all over again.”