Youth Group’s Cleanup Effort Stirs City into Action

Post a Comment » Written on May 8th, 2008     
Filed under: News
WORTHINGTON, MN (May 8, 2008) – What began last year as an effort by First Covenant church’s youth group to clean the shoreline of a local lake turned Saturday into a community wide effort to clean up the city.

KidsNearly 90 people from the community spent Saturday picking up 1,100 pounds of garbage from three miles of Lake Okabena’s shoreline, says First Covenant pastor John Stewart. Others picked up trash from several neighborhoods and parks.

Twenty of the participants were youth and adults from First Covenant. Others were from four other church youth groups, as well as the recently formed Lake Okabena Improvement Association (LOIA) and the Worthington Historic District Association (WHDA).

Prior to the event, the LOIA president told a local newspaper, “Our goal is to hit all the public areas along the lake this time and feed off what First Covenant has already done.”

“It’s exactly what we wanted,” says 15-year-old Jeremy Clark. “We wanted people to join the youth group and join the effort.”

“It was nice to see, knowing we were the first to do it,” adds 13-year-old Emma Roos, who says the job has gotten easier. “It wasn’t as bad as the first time.”

TrashThe first cleanup occurred last May, when the youth group decided it could serve the community by cleaning part of the lake’s shoreline. For inspiration, they turned to Genesis 2:15 – “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (TNIV)

The group picked up 400 pounds of garbage on the first workday, says Stewart. They did three more cleanups over the next several months, netting about 100 pounds of garbage each time. The congregation joined them for a fifth day of cleanup.

Participants say they sadly are no longer shocked by what they find. Numerous disposable diapers had been discarded in the lake as had shoes, a shovel and a nearly new bicycle. Figuring the bike had been stolen, the youth group turned it over to the local police. “There were others (items) that were unprintable,” Stewart says.

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