By CHANSE WATSON
SILVERTON — Another summer of serving in the Silver Valley has come and gone for the volunteers of the Idaho Servant Adventures. This is the 11th year in a row that Shoshone Mountain Retreat’s (part of Lutherhaven Ministries) ISA program has assisted those in need locally and with close to 500 total pairs of hands working — they certainly got a lot done.
According to ISA Community Coordinator Bonnie Miller, 463 teen volunteers from eight different states (including Idaho, Washington, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona) served at 84 different sites and invested more than 7,400 hours of volunteer work on those sites in Shoshone County over the course of just six weeks.
How these young volunteers came to participate varied from representing their churches back home or working with an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team, to simply being a local who wanted to help out.
AmeriCorps servants not only help with the hands-on side of things, but they also play a large role in reaching out to local individuals, organizations and businesses to line up projects to work on.
Broken into teams of 7-8 individuals, projects that ISA volunteers tackled this year involved yard work, wood cutting, miscellaneous home repair (such as painting and replacing/fixing broken items), and other various manual labor projects that needed some elbow grease.
One project in particular that teams worked on the entire six weeks was assisting Summit Church in remodeling the old East Shoshone Hospital building in Silverton. The 24,000-square-foot building was donated to the Kellogg based Summit Church earlier this year with the goal of turning it into what they call the “Summit Church at the Center.”
Summit Church senior pastor Carey Schram explained that “the plan for this building includes two large meeting rooms, a sit-down coffee shop and space for a brand new day care center with after school programs focused on creativity.”
And these ideas are just for the front areas of the building.
Unfortunately for Schram and the rest of the team at Summit Church, the old hospital has fallen into disrepair since it closed its doors and is in need of some TLC. This is where the hardworking ISA servants came in.
Since June, ISA teams spent many hours cleaning and removing junk from the old building so that Summit Church can continue phase I of construction. Phase I includes working on a new roof, electrical wiring, plumbing and a fire suppression system.
ISA also sent 40 volunteers to assist with this year’s Dare to Imagine summer camp in Kellogg from July 23-27. SMR Director Clint Kunze explained that their responsibilities ranged from being “counselors/mentors for the day camp participants and helping them get from one activity to another,” to “walking alongside the youth’ and good old-fashioned loving on kids!”
Although most of what they did was help out around the area, the servants also had access to some recreational activities provided by Lutherhaven Ministries; so there was some fun to be had on top of the rewarding volunteer experiences.
Overall, Miller expressed that this year’s ISA efforts went over well with the local community.
“I call the homeowners after every week to make sure that they were satisfied and they are!” she said. “They say things like, ‘The kids are awesome. The kids are amazing. The kids are incredible. The kids are inspiring.’ I have faith in the county because we saw the future.”
She added that in addition to having work done for them, many who received help from ISA also appreciated when the kids simply talked to them and took the time to get to know them.
ISA was created in 2008, coinciding with Lutherhaven Ministries’ purchase of Shoshone Mountain retreat from the United States Forest Service in 2009. Lutherhaven Ministries had operated the retreat since 1998.
Since its inception, the overall goal of ISA has been clear.
“Our vision is in three little pieces: nurture Christian faith, strengthen communities and equip servant leaders,” Kunze explained.
To learn more about Idaho Servant Adventures and AmeriCorps NCCC, visit www.idahoservantadventures.com and www.americorps.gov/nccc.