The 2011 ASP Mission Trip has come and gone, but that does not mean the benefits of ASP have also gone. The opposite is actually true. The benefits of the 2011 ASP trip have just started for UDLC. We are seeing a new spark in the youth and adults who went to be involved in other parts of the church and their community. We have seen new friendships blossom and youth looking forward to seeing their new friends each week at church.
Each year, the ASP group starts raising funds for the next trip each winter. We try to mix in some education of the project, experiences of those who went, and fun into these events. We hope that each year when we start our journey as a team that we will be able to keep the congregation involved and allow them to see all the good that comes from it.
The trip itself is what people think is the "Big Experience" and while yes for some that is true, for many others who went this year and who have and will go the real benefit of the trip is having an experience to help them discover things they may never have found out about themselves. Many times the first part of the week is a social experiment in seeing how the group responds and what groups will form, but this year, it seemed that everyone was together almost all week and the groups you least expected to see were those that formed first. The older youth were with all the younger youth and it seemed that it was one big happy family. This is when, as a youth director you just smile, offer up a little prayer of thanks, and in my case TAKE A TON OF PHOTOS!
I asked the youth to share about ASP and I asked them what did the trip mean to you?
"A good time with friends and a great way to help others, as well as experience another culture." - Andrew Grafton
"I was surprised by how everyone was so welcoming towards me; they made me feel really comfortable. Also, I realized that i take advantage of a lot of things that i have in my life that some people don't have at all." - Molly Anderson
"ASP is an experience that I look forward to every year. I always feel proud of the hard work our group accomplishes for a family who needs it." - Alec Fox
"My asp experience was overall one of the best things I have ever done. I made awesome relationships with my crew, the kids at the center and my family I would have never made if I did not go on ASP." - Gabby Jones
"I have gone on ASP for 5 years, and it always warms my heart to help people in need. My family this year was especially needy and I'm glad that we could give them a warmer, safer, and drier house to live in. - Vanessa Fry.
“ASP was a way I got to step out of my own life for a few days and see the world from an entirely different perspective. The bonds Ii made with families and fellow church members allowed me to get closer to God in ways I couldn't imagine. It reminds you that what you’re doing to help the less fortunate is not only transforming their lives, but your own too.” –
“ASP is anamzing thing that the church and its members allow us to do and it helps us just as much as we help make homes warmer safer dryer. The week was amazing and brought us all closer together and i cant wait for next year.” - Marissa Irizarry
“Going to Jonesville was amazing because I got to make connections with so many other people--the family, my fellow volunteers, and people that I didn't really know from UDLC. Being on a double crew really established that sense of community and everyone was always so willing to help out.” - Meghan Evers
There are many other stories and experiences and I invite the congregation to seek out those who went and ask about the project and work done. Our teams (present and past) love to talk about it and share it with everyone and do whenever we are able to. Again, none of this is possible without the help of you the church community and for that we cannot thank you enough.