Summer camp puts teens to work for others

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Teenagers from across the region are spending part of their summer vacation in Wichita, helping making improvements around the community.  They're attending a very unusual summer camp in the middle of the city.

"They pay to come and then we go out and we paint houses," explained Raymond Williams.   

While at moments it looks like any other summer camp, the heart of the Wichita Work Camp, run by the Northside Church of Christ, is service to God by serving others.

"They're painting my house and doing a marvelous job," said Gerald Flowers, who has limited mobility and spends most of his time confined to a wheelchair.  "A marvelous job." 

"I think it's that I really love serving people 'cause it makes me feel great and it benefits a lot of people," said Samantha Arter, one of the campers.  "And I think that it's a great idea."

 Arter, 13, came all the way from Edmond, Oklahoma, for the chance to help others in Wichita this week.

"We started by coming to the house and talking to the homeowner, Gerry," she said.

Then they started cleaning, scraping away the old paint and brushing on the new.

"They're doing all the work that I can't do," Flowers said.

The week is only half over and the kids say they've already learned more than just how to wield a paint brush.

"I think I've learned that people, even if you don't get along with them perfectly, you can still work together and be a great team," Arter explained.

Teams like the one at Flowers' home are helping fix up a bakers dozen of homes this week, giving back to a community most don't even live in and breaking stereotypes of what to expect from teens.

"I think they can make better choices if they have something to do," Williams said.   "And something that they can see the progress of."

"I think that's great," Flowers said.  "I think it's great to see teenagers out doing things for older people.  It's the greatest thing I've ever seen."

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