Teenagers often get a bad rap. They can be moody, hormonal, and love to test boundaries. We often forget that this stage (and how teenagers act) are part of life (remember when you were a teenager?), and that we also do similar things as adults.

What if I told you that almost 800 teenagers (and hundreds of adults) in the Rochester area give up their spring break to work on houses or teaching children about Jesus in the city, and spend a good chunk of their day growing in the faith? While their peers and other family members go on vacation to (often) warmer climates for a week, those who participate in this great cause (sometimes even in snowy weather) to glorify God and spend time learning more about Him. 

Since 1985, Flower City Work Camp has existed so “that the city might see Jesus.” Teens pay to spend 3 days working on a house, or participating in Sidewalk Club (a mini VBS) or sports camp (basketball or soccer). They spend the morning in worship and devotions before heading off to their sites, spend their lunch time doing devotions, and then spend their evening in worship (of music, message and prayer) before doing their bed time devotions. 

Teens (and adults) look forward to this event each year, and even though they don’t get to go on a “regular” spring break, they have their great story of how they spent the week serving others and learning about God. While our youth group is a little smaller than in years past, we had 3 students who participated this year: Jessie & Sarah Williams (who returned for their second year), and Blake Mott (this was his first year- and you can learn a little more about him below!).

Of course, none of this would be possible without the adults who donate their time and resources to make the week successful. Churches meet about FCWC beginning in September, and each church sending kids needs to send adult leaders. This year, Josh Merrill (who has participated since 2008) and Jason Kurz (who has participated since 2013) were work site leaders. On top of the site leaders, there’s also kitchen workers, nurses, security and other workers at both home bases during the entire event. Churches also provide lunches to sites during the week. THANK YOU to those who provided pieces of lunch during this year’s FCWC! 

While teenagers (and children) have a lot to learn, we all can learn a lot from each other, which is why it is important to be able to build a community to work together. There’s always someone who’s older (or younger) than you or has a different experience from you that can teach you something. It’s wonderful to have different ministries to fit the needs of the groups inside the church, but it’s even more wonderful to be able to mentor or be a mentor for others.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

(Next year’s FCWC will be April 5 to April 9, 2020.)