Emily has never been to Southern Illinois, although she is participating in her sixth work camp.
"I actually really like it," she said of the Mt. Vernon area. "I'd like to live in the country when I get older."
A homeowner in the 1300 block of South 28th Street who is having a handicap-accessible ramp built at her home, said the campers have been a joy to be around.
"They're wonderful kids. When you meet kids like this you know there is a lot of hope for the future," said Kay Clary.
Repairs offered through the work camp include interior and exterior painting, weatherization, and porch, deck and wheelchair ramp construction.
The female campers — which number 106 — are staying in rooms at Andy Hall School; and the 77 boys are staying overnight at Casey Jr. High School.
The work camp will continue in Mt. Vernon through Saturday.