Helping Through Healing: Oklahoma Mission for High Schoolers

Newtown High Schoolers to Head to Tornado-ravaged Oklahoma


Watch and share this video through facebook, twitter, email or any other means! Hurry! Time is running out! Helping is Healing: Newtown Supports OK


Ben's Lighthouse is working to support the healing of Newtown-area youth through community-building events (like the recent Lighthouse Festival), programs and workshops, and community-service activities which allow high-school-aged Newtowners to heal by reaching out to help others.

All Ben's Lighthouse activities are available to all families in Newtown and surrounding towns.

Ben's Lighthouse has been invited by Group Cares Workcamps to bring a number of Newtown-area high school youths to Oklahoma for a week in July. There, they will participate in a Workcamp to assist in the clean-up effort necessitated by the recent tornadoes. This is an opportunity for our youth to work hard on an important task, but also to bond with people in a completely different part of the country who have suffered recent losses, much as Newtown has.

Group Cares Workcamps is a Christian organization and there will be Christian programming during the week which all participants will attend, regardless of their beliefs. Each evening. the Ben's Lighthouse participants will meet to openly discuss in a non-judgmental manner issues such as faith, gun-control and other concerns which arise during the day.


What is a Workcamp?

At Workcamps, teenagers come together to serve individuals and communities while building strong, long-lasting relationships with their friends (old and new) and youth leaders. In five short days, hundreds of students from youth groups across the country repair and transform homes—and strengthen and transform their own lives.

The Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Workcamp will focus on debris removal, fencing, siding, and roofing replacement. (For more information about Group Cares Workcamps, please see their website).

Why this camp?

We have opted for this particular camp for two primary reasons:
1) We were invited by Group Cares Workcamps to help Oklahoma. The synergies between the communities of Newtown and the Moore, OK area have the potential to create strong, lasting, healing bonds.
2) Time is of the essence. Helping Oklahoma is important right now, so we chose to accept the invite of an organization (Group Cares) with which we are familiar.

Is this a Christians-only trip?

No. The organization that runs the Workcamp is Christian and there will be Christian programming that all will attend. Most other participants will be coming as part of Christian Youth Groups. We feel strongly, however, that tolerance of others regardless of personal beliefs is an important part of healing and we invite those of all faiths (or no faith) to join us.

We will have further discussions regarding this at our informational meeting.

What is the cost of attending this camp?

Ben’s Lighthouse is covering the costs for the camp fee, airfare, and van rentals. Campers will need to provide a sturdy pair of work boots, thick work gloves, safety goggles and 4 days of “work clothing", along with clothes for after each work day. Also needed are an air mattress and a sleeping bag.

Where is the camp located?

The camp will set up shop in a local church in the greater Oklahoma City area. Youth groups will be separated by gender and sleep on floors in either a girl’s hall or boy’s hall. All meals will be eaten at the church hall and evening programs will also be held here. Showers are available with youth and adult shower times separate. The work day is 8am-4pm.

How many people will be attending the camp?

This camp will have about 200-250 people in attendance. Ben’s Lighthouse is sending at least 10 and up to 40 youth (to be determined by available funding) along with chaperones.

How many chaperones will be going?

Workcamp requires 1 adult chaperone for every 5 youth and background checks on chaperones. All chaperones are trained and certified for working with youth and are familiar with Workcamp.

How and when are you determining who gets to go?

We have a very tight timeframe, with all decisions having to be made by July 3.
  • If you missed the informational meeting, you MUST contact Paget or Rick Haylon at (203)270-6373. Then you must print, fill out and return this application BEFORE NOON ON MONDAY, JULY 1.
  • You must confirm your interest no later than Monday, July 1.
  • If there is more interest than spots available, we will randomly choose the participants by lottery on July 2, with a waiting list, based on the available funding.
  • If spots open up in the ensuing days either because of additional funding or drop-outs, we will add from the waiting list.
  • We ask for a $100 deposit as an indication of commitment once you (or your child) have been selected. The money will be returned at the end of the workcamp. (If you or your child drop out, the money will not be returned.)

What about spending money?

The only money needed will be for food on our air travel days plus an optional $5-$10 for a possible gift for the resident you will be assisting during the week.

What if I cannot attend the informational meeting?

It is important that the youth participant AND a parent or guardian attend the meeting, if at all possible.

If a parent or guardian cannot attend, please contact Paget Haylon at (203) 233-5982 PRIOR to the June 29, 2013 meeting to set up alternate arrangements.