A team of 60 teens from 25 schools raises $30,000+ each year and does 3,000+ hours of service in preparation for a service learning trip.
The Kentucky YMCA Youth Association has been sending teens from across the Commonwealth on service road-trips for more than a decade. In June, the Y-Corps team, comprised of 60 students from 25 high schools, was bigger than ever. The team departed on a Sunday from Frankfort and ended a week later in Louisville.
Along the way, teens did service projects in Lexington, Red River Gorge, Pine Mountain, Glasgow, Owensboro, Henderson, Fairfield, and Louisville. All the while, they learned about the culture and history of Kentucky.
In Frankfort, they removed invasive species from Cove Spring Park, while mentoring kids from Kings Community Center. From there, they went to Lexington to work on a mural and other projects for the Central Kentucky YMCA. Then they headed to Red River Gorge for rock climbing, clean-up, bluegrass music, and a presentation from KY Heartwood.
The next day, they visited Pine Mountain Settlement School. On Thursday, they helped with the YMCA sponsored Longest Day of Play in Glasgow and Owensboro.
Friday, the team volunteered in Henderson with the WC Handy Blues Festival. They spent Saturday at Haven of Hope in Fairfield (Nelson County), an in-development rural retreat for urban youth, an extension of Wayside Christian Mission. The team wrapped up in Louisville with a day of service at the Volunteers of America homeless shelter.
The teens involved in Y-Corps are all members of Student YMCAs (Middle and High School YMCA Chapters that focus on service learning and civic engagement.) The tradition of service road trips began in 1998 as a response to the call to service that is fundamental to the KY YMCA Youth Association.
In 2006, the Y-Corps initiative, which centers on a year-round commitment to service was launched. The 2009 team has certainly fulfilled that commitment by having done more than 3,000 hours of service already. Throughout their history, KY YMCA Service Trips have maintained a bare bones mentality wherein the expense is kept to a minimum so the most revenue possible can go into a scholarship fund for Kentucky Youth Assembly (a model state legislature), Kentucky United Nations Assembly, a summer leadership conference, and a winter character development conference.