By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Although only two youths from St. Peter Parish in Buffalo were able to participate in a service project at Eagles’ Wings, the duo got a lot of work done the afternoon of July 23.
John and Ansel Frietsch were joined by their youth minister, Jasmin Tone. She leads youth ministry at St. Peter Parish in Buffalo and St. Alphonsus and St. Mary parishes in Davenport.
Tone said the project was originally scheduled for June, but rain put a damper on that. In the spring she put an announcement in her parishes’ bulletins seeking volunteer opportunities for youths. As a new youth minister unfamiliar with the Quad-City area, she was unsure of service opportunities available for youths, especially those under 18.
Fellow St. Alphonsus parishioner Marcia Moore of Eagles’ Wings responded. “I thought we could use them to help with weeding. That is a never-ending job at Eagles’ Wings,” she said. “I also was able to give them an opportunity to learn more about the ministry.”
Youth ministry at the three parishes focuses on middle school through high school. Incoming seventh-grader John Frietsch appreciated the opportunity to do something good. He also looked forward to roasting hot dogs over a fire after the service project. The fire pit was one area the boys weeded.
“This is a really neat place and it’s big.”
His brother Ansel, an incoming high school freshman, echoed the comment about the service project being a good thing to do. The brothers moved to the Quad-City area earlier this year.
Work at the retreat center included pulling weeds, cutting back overgrown bushes, removing dead sections of bushes that did not survive the harsh winter, and helping to move parts of a retaining wall.
Moore often hosts youth groups, both local and national, such as Just5Days that brings in youths from throughout the Midwest to provide service. Eagles’ Wings always has something for youths to do and provides an opportunity for service as a “win-win” situation for the youths and Eagles’ Wings, she said.
The diocesan Office of Faith Formation started Step Out to Serve earlier this summer, an initiative that keeps track of the volunteerism of youths throughout the diocese. Don Boucher, Faith Formation director, said hours can include service projects, mission trips, Vacation Bible School and more.
Since Memorial Day, five parishes have reported service hours to the diocese, amounting to a grand total of 3,456 hours to date. He knows many more service hours have been completed, such as mission trips to Kentucky, which have not been submitted.
Youth ministers are encouraged to send their service hours to Boucher as they do not need to wait until the end of summer to submit what has been completed.