CLOVER — David Hagins, a volunteer site manager for 25 years with the United Methodist Church’s Salkehatchie summer youth mission, has heard the project referred to as “a working revival.”
“I always thought that was a good way of putting it,” said Hagins, who lives in Lancaster.
In the revival that is Salkehatchie, hammers and saws sang out notes of praise last week, as Hagins and some three dozen other youths and adult leaders worked to fix two homes in western York County.
In Clover, the volunteers put on a new roof and vinyl siding, and made other cosmetic improvements to a Mobley Street home where Carolyn Jackson lives with her 7-year-old son, R.J. Mosley, and her mother. Another volunteer group tackled improvements at an East Madison Street home in York.
In Salkehatchie, high school and college-age youths with adult leaders spend one week at a camp away from their homes, upgrading housing for needy families and reaching out with friendship and spirituality to the families and one another.
The York and Clover Salkehatchie group was sponsored for the fourth year by Clover’s First United Methodist Church, where volunteers stayed for the week. Area churches donated and served meals for the workers.
Georgie Lucas, 15, a first-year Salkehatchie volunteer from Lancaster, said she signed on for the week of housing rehabilitation work because she was curious to try something new and to help others.
“I’m not a person who does things like this,” said Lucas, who was putting up new vinyl siding with another volunteer, 15-year-old Hunter Vaughn. “I didn’t even really know how to use a hammer. But I’m getting the hang of it.”
All the youth volunteers learned to nail shingles and put up siding, as they rotated duties during the week. They also patched drywall, replaced window sills and painted a bedroom and outdoor trim.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” said Pam Inman of Lancaster, a first-time adult leader. Inman, the wife of a United Methodist minister, wanted to experience the mission and share it with others.
Inman said she didn’t have any construction experience, and she was afraid of heights. But she prayed for the strength to go on the roof of the Mobley Street home and hammer on new shingles.
Nolan Lory, 14, a first-year volunteer from Cary, N.C., said he was invited by a friend. “I was expecting just work,” he said. “But you get to know the people you’re working with. You make a lot of friendship that will last.”
Hagins’ daughter, 19-year-old Sadie Hagins of Lancaster, has done a dozen Salkehatchie mission trips – two each year since she was 14, the youngest age youth can participate.
“I love to work, but I also like to help people and help the youth that come to learn things – especially the girls, to know they have the ability to do things like this,” she said.
Through Salkehatchie, Sadie Hagins has nailed on new roofing and siding, painted indoors and out and hung sheetrock. She has helped install floor joists, carpet and vinyl flooring and done some plumbing – including putting in sinks and toilets.
Salkehatchie has camp sites all over the state throughout the summer. Evelyn Cameron, director of the Clover-area camp, got started with Salkehatchie in 1996, when she went on the first mission trip with her daughter to a camp in the Camden area.
“It just gets in your blood,” said Hagins. “You feel like you’re supposed to be here. It’s part of our life now.”