Annual camp restorces confidence in our youth

The stereotype of the self-centered, lazy teen-ager all too often dominates our cultural take on young people.

But the annual Catholic HEART Workcamp blows apart that stereotype as hundreds of teens from across the country travel here to help people they don't know. They labor in the hot, humid Lowcountry summer to fix up homes of the elderly and disabled.

Nearly 350 are camped out at Hardeeville High School this week, fanning out during the day to 55 work sites in Beaufort and Jasper counties.

United Way of the Lowcountry coordinates the work. Bluffton Glidden donated about $8,000 worth of paint, and nonprofit agencies and local churches provided the list of homes in need of repairs. They paint, hammer, clean up yards. Adult volunteers help with the more complicated projects.

Volunteers with Catholic HEART Workcamp mission trips go to about 45 sites across the country each year. This year, 12,000 volunteers from more than 450 Catholic parishes are involved, according to www.heartworkcamp.com.

We often read and hear about the teens who get in trouble, but our community is filled with bright, caring kids who help locally and in similar mission trips in other parts of the country and abroad.

The size of the annual Catholic HEART Workcamp attracts attention and deservedly so. The participants are a breath of cool air in the hot summer, revitalizing us all with their efforts.

But day in and day out, many young people contribute to the well-being of our community through their efforts here and elsewhere. We thank them all.