Service retreat is ‘enriching’ venture for junior high students

Junior high students from St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport deliver blankets to residents at a care center in the Lone Tree/Nichols area during a junior high Catholics in Action service project.

By Kayla Boche

“Serving Others through Christ’s Love.” — Mt. 25:37-40.

Have you ever thought that service is more than just something you do? Helping out at a senior center, participating in youth service projects or giving a needy family a hand are all very important. And, there is no doubt that the results of your efforts will be appreciated. All are great projects that serve others.

But maybe Jesus’ many examples of service in the Bible were meant to teach us more than just getting the job done. When we realize that, we will be changed. We have the potential to begin to think like him. We begin to realize that service is a state of mind.

The actions are the result of a loving heart. When we realize this, our actions in the name of service truly imitate Christ.


From June 28-30, six students from St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport, Kayla Boche, Alyssa Golderman, Ann Froeschle, Sydney Verdi, Rachel Clay and Ryan Coughlin and their adult leader, Lynn Leming, attended a junior high Catholics in Action in Lone Tree hosted by St. Mary Parish there.

The retreat consisted of prayer, hard work, service projects and fun-filled times. The main idea behind the retreat was to build our faith, leadership and confidence.

On the first day, we headed to Camp Abe Lincoln in Blue Grass where we tackled a challenging ropes course to help build leadership skills. We all had to link arms and step up onto poles of different heights without falling. Then we had to get arranged in order of our birthday months without talking about it and without falling off the poles. After countless tries we succeeded and began our climb to the top. When done climbing, we headed to Lone Tree to put our new skills to work.

For our first service project, we went to the home of a wonderful lady named Janet and cleaned her house from top to bottom. Our leadership skills helped us all work together to get the job done. All of us believe the project was rewarding, especially when she told us we were an answer to her prayers. When the day came to a close we gathered for a prayer service and to reflect on the day’s project.

The next day we arose at 6:45 a.m. and, when dressed and ready. We had a prayer service and headed to our next service site. We went to St. Mary’s cemetery and planted some hostas around the entrance. Then we went to work putting mulch around 10 trees. It was hard work, but when we were done the cemetery looked beautiful.

Afterward, we traveled to Nichols to eat lunch at the children’s nutrition site. When we were done eating, we were surprised with an invitation to play kickball with some of the children. When the break was over we pulled weeds in front of the site and the church rectory. The improvements looked amazing.

After the weed pulling, we were treated to swimming at Riverside Resort by Carol Kaalberg, parish life administrator at St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols. She and her husband, Gayle, were our retreat coordinators. Both shared their personal stories and gave us mementos of our trip to Lone Tree and Nichols: a yardstick, a mug made from 100 percent corn plastic and a $2 bill.

We returned to the church and did some goal setting for the next year, had another prayer service, made fleece blankets and got some much-needed rest.

The third and final day rolled around and we went to the local care center to deliver our blankets to some of the residents. We knew we had touched their hearts by the smiles on their faces and the hugs we received. 

We went back outside to finish mulching around the building. The nursing home looked so much improved.

We returned to Nichols and had lunch with the children again. After eating a taco lunch, we scrubbed the hall that had experienced some water problems due to all the rain. We also swept and mopped the floor. The hall was so clean. We were proud of our work.

Overall, we agreed that the retreat was an enriching experience that we will never forget.

We met and made friends with many new people who we will always remember. All will be missed in Lone Tree and Nichols and we ask that you keep them in your prayers.

God bless.

(Kayla Boche is an eighth-grade student at St. Paul the Apostle School.)

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