Mt. Vernon Register-News

January 12, 2013

Applications sought for home repairs

By RORYE O’CONNOR
rorye.oconnor@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — — First Presbyterian Church is seeking applications for home repairs for the third Group Workcamp, scheduled for July 7 through 13.

Group Workcamp brings hundreds of youth and adults to the King City to do home repairs, interior and exterior painting, and construct porches and wheelchair ramps for accepted applicants.

“This is made possible through various grants, plus the young people also pay a fee to come,” said Bern Dickneite, one of the event’s local organizers. “They pay over $300 to come paint houses and that.”

Dickneite said there are more than 200 campers registered to come to Mt. Vernon this July already, but another 50 to 100 could register in the next two months.

The campers are housed at Zadok Casey Middle School through an agreement with City Schools District 80, he said.

“That will happen again this year,” he said. “They’ve been more than generous in helping us with this.”

District 80 Superintendent Mike Green said the Group Workcamp has stayed at Casey Middle School in 2008 and 2010.

“It’s a place for all their belongings,” he said. “We coordinate to provide meals and housing, showers, and basically it’s like a place to stay for the kids and adults.”

Green said as Group Workcamp reimburses the district for all its costs, no taxpayer money is spent to house the mission trip participants.

Because the Casey Middle School construction and expansion project is still underway, more participants will be housed at the Dr. Andy Hall School this year, Green said. However, he said the project’s construction companies are used to working around students and that no Workcamp participants will be in the areas under construction in July.

He said the district is thankful for First Presbyterian Church and its willingness to bring in the young women and men who participate in the summer project.

“They come into the community and work on 50 to 70 projects,” he said. “They paint houses and build porches. ... It’s very beneficial to the community, and the district’s very happy to help out the community and loan out our facilities.”

He said he looks at Group Workcamp as a very positive experience and looks forward to working with them again.

 The deadline for applications is February 15.

There are income requirements to be able to take part in the program, Dickneite said; those who apply must be the owner of the property.

Projects to be completed by the Workcamp participants will include painting, building wheelchair ramps, porch repairs and some minor inside repairs. This year, participants will be completing some roof repairs on a very limited basis. No electrical or plumbing repairs will be conducted.

Dickneite said the Group Workcamp is a community project, because so many step up to help those who attend.

“The last two times, the community has really gotten involved,” he said. “I was helping my wife last time, who was on hospitality, and when she asked people for help nobody says no. They always say, ‘How much can we do?’”

He said the former pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Rob Dyer, was instrumental in bringing Group Workcamp to Mt. Vernon the first time.

 Applications are available at the First Presbyterian Church office at 2424 Broadway. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Call the church office at 242-3410 for further information.