BAKER — Brooms and brushes are moving this week as four church youth groups renovate seven houses.
Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church and Shady Grove Assembly of God often collaborate for annual church functions, but this year’s Do Something youth camp also includes Mount Repose Baptist Church from Ohio and West Haven Baptist Church from Tennessee.
The camp, which started Monday and ends Saturday, has eight youth members stationed at one house on Ray Street.
Homeowner George Dean, 82, said the group came to his door to ask if they could help him with external home repairs.
The Navy veteran stood alongside the team as they took down lingering Christmas lights and scraped his chipped wooden siding clean before brushing on a new coat of blue paint.
“I think it’s a blessing, myself,” he said. “I’m proud the teenagers, kids, churches can … go together to do this for people in the community.”
Ryan Gelb, 14, of Pilgrim Rest, said there was one big reason why he’s excited to help Dean in particular.
“He served for me first,” he said.
Down the street, another team worked on the first coat of a different house.
Olivia Hurley, of Pilgrim Rest, said she wasn’t there for the homeowner's gratitude. She doesn’t want to remember just helping someone fix their house.
“More than just the before-and-after picture, I definitely want to remember lives being saved … all of us growing spiritually together,” the 13-year-old said.
The coolest part, she said, was that Sunday night, no one knew each other, but they all worshipped, worked and grew together Monday morning.
“We’re four different churches, but one church body,” Hurley said.
Bob Cooper, site supervisor and one of Pilgrim Rest’s youth teachers, agreed.
“It’s neat how they come together as a team even though, as of last night, they were strangers,” he said.
He’s also a strong believer in the camp’s mission.
“We hope that it’s more than just a repair project and a renovation,” he said. “It’s more to kind of touch the hearts and have people ask, ‘Hey, why are you doing this?’ and then we can explain it’s Christ in us, that’s motivating us to do this.”