Incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors recently spent five days in Solsberry, Indiana to serve those in the community and to learn more about themselves as part of a mission trip at Solsberry Hill.
"I attended the same trip last year so I knew what to expect, but I also knew there were parts of myself that I hadn't discovered quite yet," shared Brianna Gavin '17. "I knew those parts of myself may be used to make improvements within the community to make it a better place."
The nine CJ students attended the mission trip with students from Moeller High School in Cincinnati. Together, the students were split into three volunteer groups with goals to serve either out in the community or at Solsberry Hill.
"The first day, my volunteer group went to a warehouse and sorted through bags that Indiana University students donated to Hoosier to Hoosier," explained Gabby Elders '17. "The second day, we were home crew (the group that stays home, cooks dinner, plans prayer, etc...) and helped begin the building of a tiny stone house by leveling gravel, mixing mortar, and laying down stone. On the third day, my group went to the food bank garden, weeded a bed of cucumbers, and then moved over to the food bank to bag two six-foot bags of potatoes into smaller ten-pound bags."
"On the first day, my group interacted with kids at a preschool, and then did yard work for a local family going through a tough time," reflected Carly O'Loughlin '17. "On the second day, we did manual labor at a Habitat ReStore. On the last day, we stayed on the Solsberry Hill property and worked on the projects there that needed work, such as the deck coming off of the chapel."
The students agreed that one of the most memorable parts of the mission trip was during the last evening at Solsberry Hill.
"On the last night of our stay, we had a group bonfire at the limestone amphitheater on the property, built by past groups," O'Loughlin said. "We were all told to go find a twig, and each of us came up to the front individually and told what negative things we're leaving behind and also what we took away from the trip. When we were done speaking, we threw the twig into the fire. It was so cool to listen to people tell stories of the memories they made."
Gavin added, "I found that the group was very cohesive between Moeller and CJ throughout the entire trip, but this was most evident on the last night. We all sat in the same open grassy area of the retreat center, looked at the stars, and talked about nonsense things until the time ran out. It made me feel like I was a part of something, made me gain confidence in both myself and what a difference I may be able to make."
When looking back on the trip, Elders noted, "Mission trips like this are important because they teach you valuable lessons and give you life experiences that you can't get anywhere else; not only do they teach you to dive into the service of others and live simply, but they give you the opportunity to try new things and make real relationships with others."
Posted July 7, 2016